heart & cardiovascular health
I’ll be sharing some things I learned on the Seabourn wellness cruise to Alaska that I was lucky enough to be part of, joining a remarkable team of integrative medicine docs assembled by Andy Weil.
High Blood Pressure is nicknamed “the silent killer” for good reason: you can have it and not know it’s there, while it gets busy wreaking havoc on your arteries.
Laura asks Belleruth about guided meditation for high blood pressure, hoping there is some guided imagery that could make it possible for her to reduce her intake of medication, with all the unpleasant side effects.
Do you have a meditation for high blood pressure? I am on too many meds for it, with unpleasant side effects ,and do believe it can be managed somewhat by meditation, visualization, etc. Thank you!
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Nursing tested whether guided imagery plus usual care improved sleep and reduced inflammation over usual care alone, in a study with 52 patients immediately after cardiac surgery, in the ICU and the step-down unit.
Outcomes measured at post-op days 1-4 were time to sleep onset, total sleep time, stress (as measured by salivary cortisol), and inflammatory response (as measured by C-RP levels),
Patients in the experimental group (n=27) got a pre-loaded MP3 player with the Health Journeys Healthful Sleep audio and a fleece headband with thin earphones in them. They also wore wrist actigraphs to document their sleep. The controls (n=25) received treatment as usual (TAU).
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina conducted a study where 151 outpatients with coronary heart disease were randomized to 12 weeks of either Comprehensive Cardiac Rehab (CR) alone or Comprehensive Cardiac Rehab combined with Stress Management Training (CR+SMT).
Biomarkers for stress and coronary heart disease were collected before and after treatment. A matched sample of eligible patients who did not receive CR made up the no-treatment comparison group.
All participants were followed up for up to 5.3 years (median of 3.2 years) for adverse clinical events, i.e., heart attacks.
In keeping with Blood Pressure Awareness Month, we went snooping around the reviews posted on Amazon to see what people had to say about their journey using guided imagery for their blood pressure and related issues. We happily spotted these comments.
In Japan, they actually call this “Forest Medicine”, and they build forest parks on the rooftops of hospitals.
In this pilot study, researchers from Chiba University and Nippon Medical School in Japan studied the impact of brief forest walking on middle-aged, hypertensive adults, seeking some hard evidence of positive effects.
I am having a persistent problem with hypertension - high systolic numbers. What would you recommend insofar as an appropriate tape, CD or imagery techniques, or perhaps meditation. Your help will be a blessing and very much appreciated. I have a multitude of other problems, but this one could kill me if I don't get it under control.
Again, thanks so much,
We got this email from a med-surg nurse, caring for an open heart surgery patient – a very anxious elderly woman. Here is what she wrote:
Hello there, Belleruth,
I want to give you feedback from an elderly surgery patient I cared for – a super-anxious, woman, very frightened about facing open heart surgery. Very quickly and easily, she was able to calm down, just from listening to guided imagery. I was honestly surprised it worked so fast with her.
After surgery, she used your Cardiac Rehab program in the ICU and in the step down unit. She loved that one too. The sleep audio came in handy there too.