A device that lowers blood pressure by teaching patients to slow their breathing promises to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes - without drugs.
The gadget, which looks like a portable CD player, first monitors how many breaths a minute the patient takes. Then it plays musical notes through headphones - the idea is that the patient breathes in on one note, and breathes out on another. The length of each tone is gradually increased so breathing slows down. Tests show slower breathing relaxes the muscles in blood vessel walls, making them more flexible.
This eases the pressure exerted on them when the heart tries to pump blood round the body. High blood pressure - also called hypertension - is one of the major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. It affects one in five people in the UK. Some patients can reduce their blood pressure by cutting down on salt and taking more exercise. But thousands more need pills to control it.
For most people, this involves a daily cocktail of tablets for the rest of their life. This is because the body can easily get round the effects of one pill but, faced with several different types of drug, is much less likely to maintain high pressure. The downside is that the more pills patients take, the higher the risk of side-effects, such as tiredness, leg cramps, insomnia, cold hands and feet, dizziness and constipation.
Although it's long been known that slow breathing and meditation can lower blood pressure, perfecting the technique can take many years.
Source - Daily Mail