You are not untouchable when it comes to high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, almost half of adults in the US have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. It has zero symptoms, and it can strike anyone at any age, which is why they call it the silent killer.
It sounds scary, but there are ways you can help lower your blood pressure to keep your health intact: watch your weight, put down that cigarette, eat more fruits and vegetables (or maybe only fruits and vegetables), reduce your sodium intake, get active, and get a massage.
Yes, you read that right: get a massage
Studies, including one published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, show that relaxation massages may help to lower blood pressure and its symptoms.
But first, let’s talk about why high blood pressure is a problem.
The Dangers of Hypertension
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine says that it’s perfectly normal for your blood pressure to elevate during strenuous activity. But when it stays elevated, you run the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. Both of those effects are the leading causes of death in America.
We measure blood pressure by the force your blood exerts on blood vessel walls. When blood vessels narrow due to plaque buildup, your blood has to squeeze itself through, causing added pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. This is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension. If it reaches more than 120/80 mmHg, you’re running the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Because hypertension shows no symptoms, the only way you know there is something wrong is if you have your blood pressure tested. But there are a few lifestyle choices that contribute to higher chances of developing hypertension: smoking, heavy drinking, a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, excess weight, and high stress levels.
Unfortunately, these are common lifestyle choices for many Americans. A study on workplace stress published by the American Institute of Stress says that 46% of people surveyed felt that workload was their main cause of stress, and 20% said it was trying to juggle their work and personal lives.
How many of your employees or coworkers have mentioned feeling stressed about work in the past month?
Now let’s talk about how massage can help.
Why Massage Benefits Blood Pressure
Prescription medication can help, and so can a few other strategies in conjunction. One of those strategies is adding therapeutic massage to your routine.
Multiple studies have shown that a relaxing type of massage lowers blood pressure over time. It’s been well established that regular massage helps to reduce stress levels. Because of the type of touching involved with massage, it generally leads to feelings of relaxation and being cared for which leads to lowered stress levels. Since stress can be a leading cause of high blood pressure and heart rate, it seems obvious that there would be a correlation.
And because massage helps to improve circulation, there’s a direct link to reducing the swelling which can result from hypertension.
There is still much research that has to be completed for us to better understand exactly how massage assists in controlling blood pressure, but we can say for sure that it works for many patients as part of their hypertension management plan. And if it works to manage it, it can also work to prevent it.
Talk to us today if you think we could lend a hand keeping your employees on the right track to a long and healthy life.