- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
The average person breathes in and out some 22,000 times each day, usually with little effort or thought. But here's something worth pondering: practicing slow, deep breathing for just a few minutes a day can lower blood pressure, potentially reducing the first number in a reading (systolic blood pressure) by up to 10 points.
"Anyone with stage 1 hypertension, which is defined as a systolic reading of 130 to 139, should know that breathing exercises are an effective way to lower blood pressure without medication," says Dr. Kimberly Parks, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. For people with elevated blood pressure (a systolic reading of 120 to 129), deep breathing could help them avoid high blood pressure in the future, she adds.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.