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A while ago, I went in for a checkup with my naturopath. As I have been healthy and feeling good for a few years, I wasn’t anticipating any ‘bad news’. All was going along swimmingly until she took my blood pressure. A puzzled look crossed her face and she pumped up the cuff again.
It was 130/82. I have never, ever in my life had an elevated blood pressure reading. In fact, I am most often in the lower ranges of normal, about 110/70. I was shocked. I certainly hadn’t expected this.
Prior to taking my blood pressure, she had asked about any stresses I have been experiencing. I talked about the state of world affairs and the part the U.S. is choosing to play in all this; having a son who is approaching draftable age and knowing that the U.S. government is already gearing up the draft boards for reinstatement... yeah, that would be enough to drive a mother’s blood pressure up a titch. But I had a sinking feeling that wasn’t the only reason. I agreed to come back in a few weeks to have my BP rechecked.
As I was driving home from my appointment, I thought about what I had been doing lately to relax and I realized...nothing. I had been doing nothing to relax. I couldn’t remember the last time I had practiced yoga except for a few stretches here and there. Knowing that B’s not only respond to relaxation practice, especially with BP management, but that we really need to relax in order to stay in balance, I made a commitment to myself to incorporate more relaxation into my daily schedule.
I have found throughout the years that relaxation has to be practiced on a somewhat regular basis to be most effective. It is almost like my muscles forget how to release completely if I am sporadic in relaxation practice. So when I am ‘rusty’, I use the tense/ release technique until my muscles relearn how to let go again, consciously tensing all large muscle groups and holding for a few seconds, and then releasing. This is best practiced lying down, and most effective doing several rounds of tensing/ releasing. After some practice, it becomes easy to relax just through conscious intention. Also, deep breathing exercises and dancing are great stress relievers for me. I highly recommend the books “Relax and Renew” by Judith Lasater and “Conscious Breathing” by Gay Hendricks for some excellent guidelines and practices that are easy to learn and master. Both of these books have made a tremendous difference in the quality of my life and I reread and refer to them over and over again.
So, a few weeks later and I am running errands close to my naturopath’s office and decide now would be a good time to have the BP checked again. I try to relax as I drive over there but ‘knowing' I should relax makes me all that more tense, and it is difficult for me to relax in traffic. Having long given up being concerned about what people think of me singing in my car, I decide to sing as loudly as I can as a stress reliever. So I belt out a few to the Moody Blues and feel the tension drain from my body.
And guess what?? BP was 118/82 that day. I’m sure the relaxation practices of the past few weeks was helpful in lowering my blood pressure, but in that moment, it was the singing that did it.
I read recently in the Blood Type Encyclopedia that chanting and singing are part of the Antistress Protocols for type B.
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