September 2023 - BOBI

Breathing for Blood Pressure Control: Expert Tips from bobi

Breathing to lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major public health issue. In the US nearly half of adults have hypertension (48.1%, 119.9 million) or are taking medication for hypertension. Therefore, it’s crucial to arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of this widespread issue and everything related to blood pressure control.

In this blog, we will explore the state of play of blood pressure, including the adverse health impact of uncontrolled hypertension. We will dive into some natural interventions that can help with blood pressure control, including slow conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises with an innovative device “bobi” crafted for effective blood pressure control.

Blood pressure state of play

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions of people worldwide and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications, including heart attack. Lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, play a crucial role in managing blood pressure. Regular monitoring helps identify any changes or abnormalities.

Understanding the normal blood pressure range and maintaining it is essential for optimal health. You can naturally intervene and manage your blood pressure by incorporating techniques such as slow conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises. It’s proven that these interventions have a calming effect on the body and contribute to better heart health.

Key causes of blood pressure in the modern world

Here comes the question ‘What causes high blood pressure’. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity, along with a family history of hypertension, contribute to high blood pressure levels. Additionally, excessive sodium intake from processed foods is another major factor in elevated blood pressure. Chronic stress and poor stress management can also lead to increased blood pressure.

Obesity and unhealthy diet choices play a significant role in hypertension as well. Lastly, excessive alcohol consumption has been found to contribute to both high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues. It is important to address these key causes of blood pressure, including family history for blood pressure control.

Natural interventions for managing blood pressure

When it comes to managing blood pressure, several natural interventions can be highly effective. Slow conscious breathing, along with isometric hand exercises, has shown promising results in lowering blood pressure levels. Additionally, regular aerobic exercise and strength training can help improve blood pressure.

A healthy diet with reduced sodium intake and increased potassium-rich foods can support blood pressure control. Making lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and strengthening the breathing muscles, can also positively impact blood pressure. These natural interventions offer an easy and accessible way to manage blood pressure effectively.

Slow conscious breathing

Slow conscious breathing involves taking deliberate, controlled breaths slowly and gently. This technique activates the body’s relaxation response, helping to reduce stress levels. Not only does slow conscious breathing have a calming effect on the mind, but it can also have a positive impact on blood pressure.

According to some studies when you incorporate this practice into your daily routine, it helps lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Therefore, the ideal routine is to dedicate just a few minutes each day to slow conscious breathing exercises, to enjoy significant benefits for blood pressure control and overall heart health.

Additionally, nitric oxide is produced naturally by the human body and is widely cited as one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health.

Repeated studies have confirmed nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

Moreover, in certain pathological conditions, such as hypertension, there is reduced production or bioavailability of nitric oxide, which prevents the buildup of plaque in arteries. One crucial way the body produces increased nitric oxide is through nasal breathing. Coaching people to breathe nasally has become one of many non-pharmacological interventions for high blood pressure and is supported by multiple studies.

Isometric Hand Exercises

Slow Conscious Breathing Bobi

Isometric hand exercises involve exerting sustained effort while squeezing a small object, such as a stress ball or handgrip. These exercises activate the muscles in the hand, arm, and shoulder, contributing to overall blood pressure control.

Studies have shown that regular practice of isometric hand exercises can help lower blood pressure readings. This is considered an effective and convenient technique for blood pressure control.

If you want to contribute to your heart health include these exercises in daily activities, such as while watching TV or working at a desk. According to recent research isometric exercise is the most effective form of exercise to reduce blood pressure.

The Science Behind Slow Conscious Breathing and Blood Pressure Control

Slow conscious breathing is a powerful technique that has been proven to have a positive effect on blood pressure control, including meditation. When we engage in slow conscious breathing, the vagus nerve is activated, which plays an important role in lowering blood pressure. A recent research project published reveals the positive impact of conscious breathing, including meditation, on blood pressure control.

According to the study, practicing conscious breathing, including meditation, for just a few minutes a day can significantly reduce blood pressure levels and improve overall cardiovascular health.

These findings add to the growing number of studies that highlight the benefits of conscious breathing, including meditation, for a range of health issues. In addition to regulating blood pressure, deep conscious breathing has other benefits as well. For instance, it can promote relaxation, which can help reduce stress-related high blood pressure. Furthermore, slow conscious breathing improves blood flow and oxygenation, both of which are crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

How does Slow Conscious Breathing Affect our Body?

Slow conscious breathing stimulates the diaphragm and respiratory muscles, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This leads to decreased heart rate and blood pressure. It also increases nitric oxide production, relaxing blood vessels. Regular practice improves cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of heart disease, promotes relaxation, and reduces inflammation.

The Science Behind Isometric Hand Exercises and Blood Pressure Control

Breathing for Blood Pressure Control

Isometric hand exercises activate the muscles in the hand and forearm, increasing blood flow. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, this activation triggers a reflex response that dilates blood vessels, resulting in decreased blood pressure. So, isometric hand exercises improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the muscles involved in blood pressure regulation. Numerous studies have demonstrated a significant reduction in blood pressure after performing these exercises.

The long-term benefits of regular practice include effective blood pressure control. It’s recommended to integrate isometric hand exercises into your routine to improve your overall cardiovascular health and blood pressure management. Isometric resistance exercise has been classified as one of the best non-pharmacological interventions for preventing and treating hypertension in the 2017 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines.

How do Isometric Hand Exercises Affect our Body?

Isometric hand exercises have a positive impact on our bodies. They stimulate muscles and tendons, improving blood flow. These exercises increase nitric oxide production, helping to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Regular practice improves grip strength and cardiovascular endurance, making it a convenient way to blood pressure control.

Blood Pressure Control with bobi

bobi, a specially designed device, assists in blood pressure control by combining the powerful effects of conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises. It provides guided instructions for slow conscious breathing and represents a unique tool for building the habit of better breathing.

bobi offers physical resistance, ideal for isometric hand exercises, facilitating optimal blood pressure regulation. Convenient and effective, bobi is a unique solution for individuals seeking to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Enhance your cardiovascular health with bobi’s innovative approach.

Final Thoughts

In short, conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises are natural and effective ways for blood pressure control. By practicing slow conscious breathing, you can activate the body’s relaxation response and lower blood pressure. Isometric hand exercises, incorporated with bobi’s functionality, help improve blood flow and circulation, which can have a positive impact on blood pressure levels. Both of these interventions are backed by scientific research and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine for maximum benefits.

Regular use of bobi can lead to improved overall health and well-being. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new health routines or using bobi as a tool for managing blood pressure. With regular use and proper guidance, bobi can be a valuable addition to your overall wellness routine.

Blood pressure control with bobi

 

FAQs

1. What is hypertension and how prevalent is it?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a major public health issue affecting nearly half of adults in the U.S. (48.1%, or 119.9 million people). It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications.

2. What are some natural interventions for managing blood pressure?

There are several natural interventions for managing blood pressure, including slow conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises. Other methods include regular aerobic exercise, strength training, and dietary changes like reduced sodium intake and increased potassium-rich foods.

3. What is slow conscious breathing and how does it affect blood pressure?

Slow conscious breathing involves taking deliberate, controlled breaths slowly and gently. This technique activates the body’s relaxation response, reducing stress levels and having a positive impact on blood pressure. Studies have shown that practicing this technique can help lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.

4. How do isometric hand exercises help in blood pressure management?

Isometric hand exercises involve squeezing a small object, such as a stress ball or handgrip, for a sustained period. These exercises activate the muscles in the hand, arm, and shoulder, contributing to overall blood pressure control. Studies have shown that regular practice can help lower blood pressure readings.

5. What is bobi and how can it assist in blood pressure control?

bobi is your breathing coach that combines the benefits of slow conscious breathing and isometric hand exercises. It provides guided instructions for these techniques and offers physical resistance ideal for isometric hand exercises, facilitating optimal blood pressure regulation.

Research

  1. Edwards, J. J., Deenmamode, A. H. P., Griffiths, M., Arnold, O., Cooper, N. J., Wiles, J. D., & O’Driscoll, J. M. (2023). Exercise training and resting blood pressure: A large-scale pairwise and network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine. link
  2. Gamboa, A. (2022). 12 weeks of Slow Breathing Exercises Reduces Blood Pressure among Healthy Normotensive Subjects. medRxiv. link

What is the TIPP skill in pyschology?

DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)

Are you struggling to cope with overwhelming emotions and looking for ways to manage them? DBT and the TIPP skill might be the solution for you. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that was originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. It has since been adapted for other mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. Within DBT, there are four modules- Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. Each of these modules is designed to help individuals manage different aspects of their lives, including the use of DBT skills like TIPP. One of the techniques used within the Distress Tolerance module is TIPP, i.e. the TIPP skill.

In this blog, we will explore what the TIPP skill is, its importance in managing overwhelming emotions, and break down the four elements involved in the technique. The TIPP skill is intended to change your body chemistry quickly in order to reduce the effects of an overwhelmed emotional mind; where your thinking and behaviors are controlled by your overwhelming emotions.

It is important to remember that this should not be used in place of professional help. If you’re struggling with a mental health condition, it’s always best to seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional. We will also introduce bobi, a breathing companion that is the perfect embodiment of TIPP. Join us as we delve into how utilizing bobi in your therapeutic practice can improve your mental health.

Origin and Purpose of DBT

DBT, which stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy, was developed by Marsha Linehan and has its roots in the broader field of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This evidence-based psychotherapy, influenced by the philosophical perspective of dialectics, was initially designed to assist individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and other mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The main objective of DBT is to provide individuals with the necessary skills to effectively manage their emotions, cultivate healthier relationships, and ultimately improve their overall quality of life in the best way possible.

By integrating the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness practices, DBT equips individuals with a wide range of skills, including acceptance skills and change skills, such as dialectical behavioral therapy. These skills can be applied to various areas of their lives. With the guidance of a trained DBT therapist and the support of a consultation team, individuals are able to learn new techniques for emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness exercises. Through a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, skills training, and homework assignments, DBT offers an effective treatment option for those struggling with BPD and other mental health challenges, such as binge-eating disorder.

The Four Modules of DBT

Four modules of DBT

DBT is based on four key modules that form the foundation of treatment:

  1. Mindfulness: Involves being present in the moment and observing thoughts and emotions without judgment
  2. Distress tolerance: Focuses on learning ways to tolerate difficult emotions and situations without resorting to harmful coping mechanisms, such as self-harm or substance abuse
  3. Emotion regulation skills: Helps individuals develop skills to identify and understand emotions, as well as learn how to effectively regulate them
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: Aims to improve communication and interpersonal relationships by teaching effective communication skills, setting boundaries, and maintaining self-respect

These modules are designed to provide individuals with the necessary skills, including self-soothing techniques, to navigate through challenging situations and ultimately enhance their overall well-being.

What is the TIPP skill in DBT?

TIPP in DBT refers to Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, and Paired Muscle Relaxation. The TIPP skill helps individuals manage intense emotions and distress. By engaging in these four elements, one can regulate their emotional state and cope with difficult situations.

Temperature Control in TIPP

The temperature skill is a powerful technique that can help regulate emotions by changing the body’s temperature. One effective way to use this skill is by splashing cold water on your face or dunking your head in cold water. The physical sensation of cold helps activate the body’s mammalian dive reflex, which slows down the heart rate and calms the nervous system. Another option is to use an ice pack on your face, particularly around the eyes and cheeks, to help regulate your body temperature and emotions. This can be particularly helpful in times of crisis or high emotional intensity.

However, it is important to note that if you have heart problems, bulimia, or anorexia nervosa, it is crucial to consult with a doctor before using this skill. Cold water exposure may not be suitable for individuals with these conditions, as it can potentially exacerbate their health issues.

The temperature skill is a quick and effective way to manage overwhelming emotions. By incorporating this technique into your coping repertoire, you can have a powerful tool at your disposal to help regulate your emotions and promote a sense of calmness and control in difficult situations.

The Role of Intense Exercise in TIPP

Engaging in intense exercise is a valuable skill for managing emotions and promoting overall well-being. Whether it’s a cardio workout, a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, or a run in the park, intense exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, can release pent-up energy and help balance emotions. Just 20 minutes of intense exercise can make a significant difference in how you feel.

Intense exercise works by redirecting your focus away from overwhelming emotions and onto the physical sensations of movement and exertion. It releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can boost mood and reduce stress. By engaging in intense exercise, you can release frustration, improve your mental clarity, and energize yourself with physical energy.

Remember, even a quick 10-minute workout can be beneficial. The goal is to get your heart rate up and challenge your body. Find activities that you enjoy and that get you moving. It could be dancing, kickboxing, cycling, or any other form of exercise that gets your blood pumping. The key is to find what works for you and make it a regular part of your routine.

Understanding Paced Breathing

Paced breathing is a simple yet powerful technique that can help calm both the mind and body. By focusing on slow, deliberate breaths, we can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a relaxation response in the body. This technique is particularly effective in reducing stress and anxiety, as it helps regulate our heart rate and brings a sense of calmness.

To practice paced breathing, find a comfortable seated position and take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs. As you exhale, slowly release the breath through your mouth. Allow your breath to flow smoothly and evenly, focusing on the sensation of the air entering and leaving your body.

Take a moment to observe how your body responds to each breath. Notice the rise and fall of your chest or the feeling of your abdomen expanding and contracting. As you continue with your paced breathing, you may find it helpful to count your breaths, inhaling for a count of four, holding for a moment, and exhaling for a count of four. This rhythmic pattern can help anchor your focus and deepen your relaxation.

The Importance of Paired Muscle Relaxation

Paired muscle relaxation is a powerful technique for promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension. By practicing this skill, individuals can effectively manage their emotions and alleviate anxiety and stress. This relaxation technique involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body, allowing individuals to develop a deeper awareness of their physical sensations and achieve a state of profound calm.

When practicing paired muscle relaxation, it is important to focus on one muscle group at a time. Begin by tensing the muscle group for a few seconds, and then release the tension completely. As you tense and release each muscle group, including the importance of progressive muscle relaxation, pay attention to the sensations you experience, allowing yourself to fully relax and let go of any tension or stress. This process can be performed in a seated position, making it easily accessible in various settings.

Regular practice is key to mastering the paired muscle relaxation skill. By incorporating this technique into your daily routine, you can train your body to respond to stress in a more relaxed manner. Over time, you will become more proficient at identifying and releasing muscle tension, facilitating a greater sense of physical and emotional well-being.

bobi as the embodiment of TIPP

bobi can play a vital role in enhancing DBT and specifically the skills taught through TIPP.

Importantly, bobi addresses each of the fundamental concepts of the TIPP skill and can used as a tool to manage intense emotional responses.

Temperature

Bobi Cold Palmpad prototype

bobi has been designed to incorporate a removable palm pad. A key feature of the TIPP strategy is “temperature” change whereby ice, or cooling material, can be used to redirect focus and thereby manage distressing emotions. bobi’s ‘Ice Palm Pad’ represents a unique feature whereby the ‘Temperature’ intervention can be used in the same way as ice, or similar. Simply place the bobi ‘Ice Palm Pad’ in the freezer for 10 minutes and then swap it onto bobi when ready to use.

Intense Exercise

bobi integrates a crucial form of exercise known as isometric hand exercise that can be used as a feature of the device. Isometric exercise involves the contraction of a muscle without any subsequent movement. Essentially, isometric hand exercise involves somebody contracting their hand (at approximately 25% overall strength) and holding that position for several minutes. This form of exercise has recently been found to be the most effective in reducing blood pressure.

Paired Muscle Relaxation

The most commonly used instruction for paired muscle relaxation is this: “Tense your muscles when breathing and relax them when breathing out”.  bobi is perfectly designed to coach and guide anyone through paired muscle relaxation.  Gently breathe in as you slowly squeeze bobi.  Then, gently breathe out as bobi naturally expands in your hand.

Paced Breathing

bobi time selector for paced breathing

bobi’s core feature is the capacity to guide and coach users to develop a slow, controlled, breathing rate. With three discrete settings allowing for different rates of breathing, bobi is uniquely designed to provide assistance in maintaining a slow breathing rate, especially during times of distress.

Conclusion

Integrating bobi into DBT practice enhances the accessibility and effectiveness of this evidence-based treatment approach. By incorporating bobi, individuals are provided with a valuable tool to support and guide them in managing distress and improving their mental well-being. Through bobi, individuals can develop and strengthen the skills necessary for navigating challenging emotions and maintaining overall mental wellness. bobi offers a discrete and highly effective calming tool for individuals to utilise in virtually any environment. Embracing bobi as part of their journey empowers individuals to take control and build resilience in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, bobi represents the closest embodiment of the TIPP skill possible. It therefore is a highly valuable tool for managing intense emotions and achieving emotional regulation. Through temperature control, intense exercise, paced breathing, and paired muscle relaxation, individuals can learn to effectively cope with distressing situations. Utilizing bobi as an adjunct to DBT can significantly support any person’s journey to mental well-being. If you’re interested in incorporating bobi into your therapy journey, then click here to purchase your own bobi!

bobi breathing companion device

FAQ’s

  1. What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy initially developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder. It has since been adapted for other mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and PTSD. DBT focuses on four modules: Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance. These four modules help individuals manage their emotions and improve their quality of life.

  1. What are the Four Modules of DBT?

The four modules of DBT are:

Mindfulness: Being present in the moment and observing thoughts and emotions without judgment.

Distress Tolerance: Learning ways to tolerate difficult emotions and situations without harmful coping mechanisms.

Emotion Regulation: Developing skills to identify, understand, and effectively regulate emotions.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Improving communication and interpersonal relationships through effective communication skills, setting boundaries, and maintaining self-respect.

  1. What is the TIPP skill in DBT?

TIPP stands for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, and Paired Muscle Relaxation. It is a skill within the Distress Tolerance module of DBT designed to help individuals manage intense emotions and distress.

  1. How does bobi relate to TIPP and DBT?

Bobi is a breathing companion designed to embody the principles of TIPP. It incorporates features like a removable palm pad for temperature control, isometric hand exercise, and paced breathing settings. Bobi aims to assist individuals in managing intense emotional responses and is considered a valuable tool in DBT practice.

  1. Is DBT a substitute for professional help?

No, DBT should not be used in place of professional help. If you’re struggling with a mental health condition, it’s always best to seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional.

References:

Jørgensen, M. G., Ryg, J., Danielsen, M. B., Madeleine, P., & Andersen, S. (2018). Twenty weeks of isometric handgrip home training to lower blood pressure in hypertensive older adults: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 19. Link.

 

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