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November 8, 2011

Lower Your Blood Pressure With Biofeedback

Recently, a process called biofeedback has become popular for the non-medical treatment of high blood pressure. You've probably heard of it before, in other contexts. Though it may smack to some of crystal energy and other New Age sensibilities, it does seem to work for many of the people who try it.

Now, a caveat before we get started: please understand, we're not saying that you should go off your meds in favor of biofeedback. But as a supplement to your standard hypertension treatment, at the very worst it can't hurt -- and we honestly think it can help.

How Biofeedback Works

Basically, biofeedback makes you aware of your bodily processes, so that you can use your mind to modify them. This isn't as silly as it may sound, because scientific study has proven that you can, sometimes, actually modify cardiac functions just by trying.

You may have done it yourself at some point, if you've ever tried to calm yourself by taking deep breaths and thinking soothing thoughts.

As it turns out, you can learn to consistently control some of your involuntary or "autonomic" functions, including pulse and blood pressure, if you practice deep breathing techniques while hooked up to equipment that lets you monitor pulse, BP, and temperature.

This way, you get instant feedback on your efforts, so you know what you need to improve on. Eventually, the relaxation techniques that you learn during this treatment can help you lower your blood pressure substantially.

Finding Treatment

Modern medicine is a science-based discipline, so the medical community tends to accept treatment methods only after rigorous testing. Therefore, doctors often frown upon or ignore anecdotal evidence, no matter how much of it there is. Biofeedback is mostly anecdote-based.

That's not to say that doctors blow it off entirely; however, your health insurance probably won't cover it, so your doctor may not be willing to write a prescription for it. In other words, you'll probably have to pay for treatment entirely out of your own pocket if you turn to biofeedback as an option.

You should be able to find a biofeedback clinic somewhere near where you live, especially if you live in or near a metropolitan area. Sessions may cost anywhere from $35-$150, depending on the clinic and the type of biofeedback you choose (there are several varieties). Providers recommend an average of ten sessions.


Admittedly, this can be a tad pricy, but here's the thing: it's not something you'll have to do long-term. Once you've paid for a few sessions, you'll learn biofeedback relaxation techniques that you can use anywhere, at any time, to tweak your blood pressure downward.

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