Health Watch -- Relaxation and Blood Pressure

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Is it possible to relax your blood pressure to a lower level?

We know that there's a connection between the mind and body. Sometimes, the way you think can make a difference in how your body responds. But there are also times when the body listens to its own signals, instead. That's what physical therapy researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas recently discovered.

Some people are able to lower their blood pressure and heart rate by using relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing and muscle relaxation. When they do this, their brain is sending signals to the body to lower blood pressure. The researchers found that even people who have been quite effective in using relaxation to lower their blood pressure can't override a signal from a metabolic stimulus to raise blood pressure. When something in the body calls for higher blood pressure, that signal is stronger than the one from the higher brain that's calling for relaxation.

The researchers say this could explain why some people can to lower their blood pressure by using relaxation techniques and some people can't. There may be something going on in their bodies so their blood pressure doesn't decrease. The metabolic issues would have to be treated before the patient could effectively relax and reduce blood pressure.