Just Breathe? The Secret to Lowering Blood Pressure

VIDEO: A doctor says meditation helps a problem that affects one-third of Americans.
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Millions of Americans have daily stress in their lives. Cardiologist John Kennedy has developed 'The 15 Minute Heart Cure' -- a set of breathing techniques you can do anytime, anywhere. It requires no drugs, no surgery and his techniques give you the ability to reduce your blood pressure using brain power alone.

Dr. Kennedy says it is within our power to change the way we respond to stress. Using visualization and breathing, Dr. Kennedy believes people can calm themselves to better their health. "You can teach your body how to slow down, how to be present, how to relax. And what this does is it helps you concentrate and protect your heart all at the same time."

Mike Broggie, like many other Americans, is constantly dealing with stress. He runs a startup marketing firm in Los Angeles -- which launched two years ago, just as the stock market crashed. "We work in a deadline-driven business for demanding clients," says Broggie. "Their stress becomes your stress."

Similarly, Sandra Butler encounters stress. An unemployed mother of three, she's hunting for work while she struggles to make ends meet. As a Mom and a breadwinner, she readily admits, "The bread is scarce these days, the economy being what it is." It's a huge trigger of stress for her.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Kennedy's techniques and how you can combat stress and high blood pressure.

Medical Meditation

Two different people with different stress triggers, but they deal with it in the same way, using Dr. Kennedy's technique. Kennedy says, "We all know about diet and exercise. But very few of us emphasize stress reduction. And stress, I think, is the key to all of it."

Kennedy says, "This is actually ancient wisdom that's being proven by modern science. What I think is new is we're learning that learning to relax is good for us. And stressing out is really bad for us."

How does stress affect your blood pressure? Stress triggers your body's "fight or flight" response. The brain then releases adrenaline. As a result the blood thickens and the heart pumps faster, putting strain on weakened arteries.

Doctors have often made this point before; Dr. Herbert Benson became famous for "The Relaxation Response" in the 1970s.

Dr. Kennedy's technique is designed to help patients counter that "fight or flight" response by slowing the heart through focused breathing and positive thinking. "Learning simple things like the 'breathe technique' make a lot more sense because we can use it in the work place, we can call on it in a second," says Kennedy.

Like professional athletes and others who are able to tune out huge stresses, Dr. Kennedy believes we can tap into that same skill set and battle everyday stress triggers. "It's how Sully landed that plane on the Hudson," says Kennedy. "How Kobe Bryant hits the final shot with no time left." Fifteen minutes a day can save your life.

His patients have been responding well to the treatment, showing measurable improvement in as little as two weeks. Since following Dr. Kennedy's techniques, Sandra Butler says, "My blood pressure is stable. It used to hover at 170 over 90. Now it's pretty stable at 120 over 80."

Breathing techniques that can help heal the heart.

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