Is it possible to throw away your high blood pressure medication and replace it with a new alternative therapy called biofeedback?
In a shocking announcement in their journal Hypertension, the American Heart Association (AHA) heartily endorsed the use of biofeedback to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure affects 26% of the world population.
Though the AHA is quick to warn against replacing traditional medical treatments, the organization made it clear that alternative therapies such as biofeedback often make a difference for those who struggle to keep their blood pressure within a safe range.
Experts estimate that 13% of all premature deaths are caused by high blood pressure and cite HBP as a major risk factor that can result in stroke or heart attack.
What Is Biofeedback?
When you weigh yourself, test your body fat percentage or take your temperature with a thermometer – you are receiving “feedback” that gives you facts about your body. When you have tests run at your doctor’s office – they are taking technical “feedback” to diagnose and treat your problem.
Biofeedback is the mental monitoring of your physical body and takes these common practices a step further by training your mind to focus on specific areas, or feelings, within you. Functions that work automatically – such as your nervous system and heart rate – can be affected with intense concentration.
Initially, learning the practice is aided with electronic sensors – such as a lit temperature reading that flashes, or a beeping “alert” that mirrors your heart rate – that tell you where you need to focus your thoughts for physical relief.
You actively take part in your health and think your way to getting better!
What Does Biofeedback Cost?
Practitioners of biofeedback can typically train you in their techniques over 12 sessions – prices range from $35 to $85 per session depending on where you live and the availability of certified therapists. You can find a qualified biofeedback practitioner in your area by visiting the Association for Applied Psycho-physiology and Biofeedback.
However, there are ways to learn how to master biofeedback within the comfort of your own home. A personal biofeedback device costs between $70 and $300. With practice, you may not require the sensors to “read” what your body is doing.
What Are The Risks?
The technique is 100% non-invasive and of particular interest for people who are drug-resistant or drug-intolerant. Pregnant women and children can practice biofeedback safely without risk because there are no side effects.
Science – Not Science Fiction!
Lowering blood pressure with biofeedback is just one specific function in which “mind over matter” has shown great promise. The Mayo Clinic states that learning the proper techniques can take time but that biofeedback has proven effective for several conditions.
- High blood pressure
- Stress, anxiety and depression
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Chronic pain and migraines
- Digestive disorders and motion sickness
Done in tandem with proven lifestyle changes –such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, getting regular exercise and eating a nutritious low-salt diet – biofeedback can give you that extra “push” toward lowering your blood pressure.
Simply knowing how your body functions is not enough. You must take an active role in eliminating stress-inducing people or activities from your life. Using biofeedback to lower blood pressure is most effective when you truly “listen” to your body and remove habits that negatively impact health.
Other alternative therapies may boost the effects of biofeedback.
Yoga, meditation, guided breathing exercises, hand-grip exercises and massage have shown excellent results in controlling physical manifestations of stress.