Hypnosis and Hypertension
If you suffer from hypertension you know it is a very serious disease. It is the most common medical problem we have in our society and it affects over 5 million Canadians and leads to over 70,000 deaths each year.
Fortunately, studies have shown that even a small reduction in your blood pressure (of between 5 to 10 mm Hg) can reduce your risk of suffering from heart failure by 50%, from a stroke by 38% and from a heart attack by 15%.*
Other studies have shown that hypnosis is one of the most effective methods for reducing hypertension. What is even more interesting is that unlike many other treatments, the positive results you will get from hypnosis will not diminish once the sessions are over.
It can help you to easily and effortlessly make substantial changes to your lifestyle. It can help you eat healthier more wholesome foods and reduce your reliance on the four substances that are guaranteed to raise your blood pressure: salt, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
It can even work wonders by simply improving the emotional tone of your life. After all, studies have shown over and over again that negative emotions such as stress, anger, hostility, fear, anxiety, resentment and jealousy will all cause your blood pressure to skyrocket.
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* All figures from the Canadian Hypertension Society.
Hypertension Fact Sheet
This is defined as a condition where the blood pressure is higher than 140 mm Hg (systolic) and 90 mm Hg (diastolic) for a sustained period of time. It affects 20% of adults and is a leading risk factor in heart disease.
- can be caused by kidney, endocrine and vascular problems;
- can be caused by medication and chemicals;
- most cases have no identifiable cause (called essential hypertension).
- excessive salt;
- saturated fats;
- lack of exercise.
- often there are no symptoms (which is why it is sometimes referred to as a silent killer);
- blood pressure higher than 140 mm Hg (systolic) and 90 mm Hg (diastolic);
- headaches (particularly after waking up).
- How Hypnosis Can Help You
- If you have hypertension, then hypnosis is ideally suited to helping you deal with this condition because:
- it can help to naturally lower your blood pressure;
- it can help to reduce the amount of medication you require to manage your symptoms (and is safer than medication because it has no side effects);
- it can help you come to terms with your diagnosis and make any necessary changes to your life;
- it can give you a greater sense of control over your life;
- it can enhance your innate capacity to heal yourself;
- it can help you eat better and maintain a healthy exercise program;
- it can improve your ability to follow sound medical advice and work with your physicians;
- it can help you deal with the emotional aspects of your illness;
- it can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression;
- it can help if there is a link between a specific emotional trauma and the onset of your condition;
- it can help if it involves any subconscious and state-dependent processes.
Some Research That Proves These Claims...
The scientific research is conclusive. If you are capable of entering into a moderately deep state of hypnosis (something 70% of the population can achieve), then hypnosis can help you. Here is a summation of some of these studies...
Pilot Study of the Effect of Self-Hypnosis on the Medical Management of Essential Hypertension. Stress and Health. Vol. 15(4):243-247. Raskin R, Raps C, Luskin F, Carlson R, Cristal R.
This study involved patients who were hospitalized due to hypertension. After their blood pressure was lowered and they left the hospital, most patients would often require an increase in their medication just to keep their blood pressure down. As a result, this study divided these patients into three groups: one served as a control and were simply monitored without any intervention; a second received attention and the opportunity to relax; while the third was taught self-hypnosis. When they were followed up, the group who were taught self-hypnosis were found to have the lowest blood pressure of all. In addition to this, no one in the hypnosis group required an increase in their medication, unlike those in the other two groups.
Effectiveness of Hypnosis in Reducing Mild Essential Hypertension: A 1-Year Follow-Up. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Jan, 2007.
Vol. 55(1)1. Gay MC.
Thirty participants who were suffering from mild essential hypertension were randomly assigned to either a control group (which did not receive any treatment) or a hypnosis group (where each person received 8 individually-tailored hypnosis sessions). The results of the study demonstrated that not only did hypnosis reduce blood pressure in the short-term, but when the subjects were followed-up, this effect lasted into both the medium and the long term.
Cerebral Rheographic Variations By Hypnosis. International Society of Hypnosis, 9th International Congress of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine. Galeazzi L, Bernardi L.
Studies show that people suffering from hypertension have an increased blood flow in the left cerebral hemisphere of their brain. When hypertensive subjects were hypnotized, it was found that they were able to significantly reduce this flow of blood. This had a ripple effect and led to a lowering of diastolic blood pressure and a lowering of vascular resistance throughout the rest of the body.
The Use of Hypnosis and Biofeedback Procedures for Essential Hypertension. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Oct. 1977. Vol. 25(4):335-347. Friedman H, Taub HA.
This study looked at the effect that combining hypnosis and biofeedback would have on the diastolic blood pressure in those suffering from essential hypertension. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One served as a control, the second only received hypnosis, the third only received biofeedback, and the fourth received both hypnosis and biofeedback. Upon completion, it was found that there were no improvements in either the control group or those who had received the combination of hypnosis and biofeedback. And while those who had only received biofeedback improved, they did not improve as much as those who only received hypnosis.
A Six-Month Follow-Up of the Use Of Hypnosis and Biofeedback Procedures in Essential Hypertension. Am J Clin Hypn. 1978 Jan;20(3):184-8. Friedman H, Taub HA.
This was a follow-up of the previous study [see above] where subjects who were suffering from essential hypertension were randomly assigned to four groups (a control group, one that only received hypnosis, one that only received biofeedback, and one that received both biofeedback and hypnosis). Six months later it was found that those who had only received hypnosis had maintained the reduction in their blood pressure, unlike those in the biofeedback group.
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