Chapter 25: Curing High Blood Pressure
As discussed in Chapter 14, when somebody has high blood pressure, the heart is overworking itself in order to provide blood to the cells. Because this can be easily “resolved” by doctors, high blood pressure is not usually recognized as a major health concern. Unfortunately, as you now know, high blood pressure medicines only temporarily relieve the symptoms. The severe side-effects of long-term high blood pressure makes the condition a “silent killer”.1 So how can we return blood pressure to normal?
We already know that unhealthy eating leads to high blood pressure. The excess energy gained from unused nutrients is converted into triglycerides and cholesterol, both of which clog the blood vessels. These blockages then cause the heart to work harder, in order to circulate blood throughout the body. To fix high blood pressure, we must clear the blood vessels, which, of course, can be accomplished through healthy eating and proper exercise.
If you have high blood pressure, you must focus only on balancing energy consumption with energy expenditure. This means eating healthy meals (vegetables, whole grains, fruits, etc.) and then using the energy they produce through exercise.
Besides burning off calories, there is yet another reason exercise is so important. As I explained before, soo seung hwa kang, hot-cold energy flow, is an important part of the Ki energy theory. Hot energy from the head should flow down and meet the water energy in the lower body. This creates an energy similar to steam, which then flows back up, cooling the head. As an integral part of our human energy circulation, soo seung hwa kang also helps the blood flow more easily, and, therefore, decreases high blood pressure. If the hot energy can warm all parts of the bloodstream, then the heart will not have to work as hard to push the blood.
Remember that the ideal body core temperature is 365 to 37.5 degrees celsius (97.5 to 99.5 degrees farhenheit). It is best have a warm (not hot) body for maximum energy and blood flow. Naturally, exercising increases your body temperature and fuels more blood flow. Exercises that stimulate the limbs, hands, and feet (like kicking targets in tae kwon do) are best because this heats up the cooler areas of our body, putting our Ki energy into balance. Lower body exercises also help the blood flow by “milking” blood back to the heart. Think about how far blood in your feet must travel in order to return to the heart. By moving your feet, calves, and thighs, the surrounding muscles act as a second heart and help to push the blood through the veins.
Please keep in mind that it can be dangerous for people with hypertension to do intense exercise at first. This is because the more the body moves, the more oxygen the cells will need. In order to meet this demand, the heart will have to work even harder and temporarily increase the blood pressure. Such an effect is normal for people with good blood pressure, but it can be deadly for people with hypertension.
To be safe, you must start with activities like walking, stretching, and casual cycling.2 These expend energy, but are not too strenuous. Then, after the hypertension has improved, you can lead up to more intense activities like running, playing a sport, and working out at a gym. Eating well and exercising will fix the body by regaining proper body temperature, proper blood pH, and balanced glucose levels.
Another thing to consider when dealing with your body temperature is your natural disposition. Everybody is different. We all have either a hot, cold, warm, or cool nature. If you are outgoing or energetic, your character is warm/hot. If you are more quiet or relaxed, your character is cool or cold. Neither is better than the other, but we must take care to keep out bodies’ hot-cold energy flowing and stay relatively neutral (warm). Why is this? Well, too much “hot energy” means the body is overexcited. In this state, the blood is pulsing to hard against the blood vessels, causing high blood pressure. To fix this, eat foods with a cool nature. A very good example of a cold food is barley.
On the other hand, a cold body also causes high blood pressure. Being too cold means that you are less active. Blood cannot circulate as well, and as a result, pressure can build up in certain areas of your body. To fix this, eat something with a hot disposition like ginseng (see chapter 25) or tea.
Advice regarding exercise and diet should sound familiar to those who do suffer from high blood pressure, but there is yet another factor that will help alleviate hypertension: deep breathing. By practicing Darimar Ki-Gong breathing techniques, you can lower your blood pressure within just three minutes.
How can this be? Much like high blood pressure medicines, Darimar Ki-Gong breathing relaxes the heart. Unlike high blood pressure medicines, however, it relieves hypertension naturally and without any side effects.
To prove the beneficial effects of Darimar Ki-gong breathing, I will explain the results of a simple test that anyone can easily preform. If you do not have a way to measure blood pressure, you can simply take your pulse before and after. In this specific test, the subject was asked to sit up and breath normally for three minutes. Her blood pressure and heartbeat were taken and recorded. Next, she was asked to lie down, as pictured below, and preform Darimar Ki-Gong breathing for three minutes. She then sat up and her blood pressure and heartbeat were measured in the same manner as before.
Before practicing Darimar Ki-gong, the subject’s blood pressure was 116/76 mm Hg, and her heart rate was 68 beats per minute (“bpm”). After deep breathing, her blood pressure lowered to 106/70 mm Hg, and her heart rate dropped to 53 bpm. After just three minutes, her heart was working less to pump blood throughout the body. If you complete this test as well, a drop in heart rate means that your blood pressure also decreased.
Why does this technique work so quickly and so effectively? By taking the time to breath properly, the lungs take in a greater amount of oxygen. This means that the blood carries and delivers oxygen more efficiently. Thus, the heart can circulate less blood and does not have to work as hard. As the heart beats more slowly, the pressure on the blood vessels decreases. Deep breathing also alleviates hypertension because it requires us to relax. When we are angry, our heartbeat quickens, our muscles tense, and blood rushed to our faces. A recent study has found that angry or stressed men and women have higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.3 When we are angry, a certain portion of our life energy is too concentrated, throwing our Ki out of balance. This unbalance is what causes the heart rate to increase, and the result is higher blood pressure.
It is impossible to be tense when practicing Darimar Ki-Gong. This is because breathing properly requires you to use your entire torso, instead of focusing your energy on one section of the body. When you breathe in, the air travels all the way to your diaphragm, and causes your lower abdomen to expand. Breathing out competes the cycle, and rids your body of waste. Try closing your eyes and taking just a couple breaths in this manner. When you exhale, a feeling of deep relaxation should grow, and then continue with the next inhalation.
Darimar Ki-Gong techniques will lower blood pressure in a matter of minutes, by providing more oxygen to the blood cells and also relaxing your body. But, is this just a temporary solution? It is only a temporary solution if you allow it to be. By setting aside a few minutes to practice deep breathing, you will experience its benefits during that time period. If you then choose to return to your normal breathing pattern (most likely shoulder or chest breathing), your blood pressure will return to its natural state.
In order to alleviate hypertension in the long term with Darimar Ki-Gong breathing, you must change your normal breathing pattern. It is still best to set aside five to fifteen minutes each day for practicing breathing. Even when a session is over, you can still practice deep breathing. In order to change your normal breathing pattern, you must begin by remaining aware of your breaths all of the time. Make the extra effort to breath with your lower abdomen wherever you are. Eventually, this healthy practice will become your normal breathing habit. As a result, your blood will always have the maximum amount of oxygen, and it will not have to work as hard.
High blood pressure is closely related to another problem: constipation. Constipation has three telltale signs:
- Passing stool less than four times in a week;
- Exerting excessive pressure when having a bowel movement;
- The feces are hard and lack water;
- It feels as though there are still feces left after the first movement.
In Ki theory, the human body has three states: solid, liquid, and gas. There should be a balance between the states, but with high blood pressure, fat oil causes blockages in the vessels. This plug represents unnecessary liquid in the body. By driving out this liquid, high blood pressure will be fixed. This is why good bowel movement is important.
It is common for people with constipation to have problems with high blood pressure and vice versa, because constipation means that you cannot drive out food wastes. It is a strong indicator that there is something wrong with your diet. The digestive track is clogged and backed up. White rice, white sugar, and white flour make people more prone to high blood pressure, because they are easily converted to fatty liquids, and also tend to block the digestive track. The unnecessary liquid is what causes your body to feel heavier and more tired.
To help relieve constipation, you must eat whole grains such as brown rice, red beans, buck wheat flour, and barley. Why? Because all of these foods have large amounts of fiber. Fiber itself does not provide our bodies with energy. Instead, it cleanses the intestines of the waste contained therein, and stimulates bowel movement. By eating foods high in fiber, the amount of waste your body can expel will be quadrupled.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, just remember this: recovery is possible. To begin, start taking steps towards eating healthy (see Chapter 26, “Food for Thought”, for more details). Make deep breathing a daily habit. Set aside time for exercise. Not only will your health improve, but your peace of mind will improve.
See Health Threats From High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure can lead to stokes, kidney damage, vision loss, memory loss, and heart attacks.
See Aging for a more specific week by week exercise plan. A traditional program for people with hypertension begins with light walking and activities like Tai Chi.
See Anger, Stress and High Blood Pressure for more information about the correlation between anger and hypertension. The study’s authors pointed out that exercise may improve blood pressure and cardiac risk.