Blood pressure is calculated by the amount of blood pumped by the heart and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more blood that the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
Blood pressure is reported in two readings: systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. Systolic represents the maximum pressure reading. Diastolic pressure is created as the heart rests in between beats and measures the minimum pressure at the time of testing. Normal blood pressure is in the range of 100 to 140 mmHg (millimeters mercury) systolic (maximum) and 60 to 90 mmHg diastolic. Blood pressure is considered to be high when it exceeds 140/90 mmHg.
Why is high blood pressure bad?
High blood pressure can cause problems because of the increased workload on the heart and blood vessels. With higher blood pressure, they work harder and less efficiently. Over time the force and friction of high blood pressures damages the delicate tissues inside the arteries. In turn, LDL (bad cholesterol) forms plaques along tiny tears in the artery walls, signifying the start of atherosclerosis.
The more damage caused to arteries and the more plaque that develops, the narrower the insides of the arteries become—raising blood pressure even more and starting a vicious cycle that further harms arteries, the heart and the rest of the body.
Complications of High Blood Pressure:
- Heart Disease, Heart Failure and Heart Attack;
- Peripheral Vascular Disease—Sexual Dysfunction;
- Vision Loss;
- Chronic Kidney Disease;
- Metabolic Syndrome such as Diabetes;
High blood pressure is considered to be the “silent killer” because most of the time it causes no discernible symptoms. It is only when it becomes severe that symptoms such as headache, nosebleed and shortness of breath start to manifest. The best prevention for high blood pressure is to stay informed!! Know your numbers!
What causes high blood pressure?
- Lifestyle: excess salt, excess body weight, lack of exercise, smoking & alcohol;
- Genetic factors;
- Endocrine disorder;
- Kidney disease and/or narrowing of the kidney arteries;
- Birth control pills and other medications;
- Sleep Apnea;
Improving lifestyle: losing weight, better diet, exercise, reducing stress—these are all important ways to reduce high blood pressure. If these lifestyle changes are not effective, medication can also be prescribed. For most people, medication does work to lower blood pressure to within normal limits. There are some people however who are not responsive to medication.
How is high blood pressure related to inflammation?
Inflammation is thought to play a pivotal role in high blood pressure. Currently researchers are not sure whether high blood pressure triggers inflammation or if inflammation stimulates high blood pressure…. What is clear is that individuals with high inflammatory markers (specifically C-reactive protein CRP) are up to 8 times more likely to have adverse high-blood pressure related events such as heart attack, stroke etc. What seems to be clear is that high blood pressure and inflammation are co-morbidities and that by decreasing inflammation, you can reduce the risks associated with high blood pressure. There is also evidence that as CRP and inflammation are reduced, blood pressure also declines. (7)
How can Whole Body Cryotherapy lower high blood pressure?
A clinical trial in Poland showed that individuals treated with 10 whole body cryotherapy treatments combined with physical activity experienced a decline in blood pressure. (1) Here is how whole body cryotherapy can assist in lowering blood pressure:
- Whole body cryotherapy has been shown to reduce CRP (the marker for inflammation). Inflammation has been implicated in high blood pressure because it constricts blood vessels and contributes to the formation of cholesterol plaques. Lowering inflammation at the systemic level, reduces vascular inflammation and can lower blood pressure. (7)
- Whole body cryotherapy has been shown to assist in weight loss;
- Whole body cryotherapy has been shown to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and anxiety;
- Whole body cryotherapy improves sleep and relieves insomnia;
- The vasoconstriction/vasodilation sequence initiated by whole body cryotherapy can expand constricted arteries, lowering cardiac workload and high blood pressure.
How does infrared sauna contribute to lowering blood pressure?
- Regular sauna use was shown in a clinical trial to lead to a statistically significant reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. When sauna use was stopped, cholesterol gradually returned to higher, starting values (6). Lowering cholesterol can lead to lower high blood pressure.
- Infrared sauna can assist in weight and fat loss leading to lower blood pressure.
- Heat therapy lowers blood pressure through a process similar to aerobic activity. Core body temperature slowly rises, stimulating blood vessel dilation throughout the body. Blood flow increases as does cardiac output and heart rate. This lowers blood pressure.
- Infrared sauna decreases stress, cortisol and can improve sleep.
The ChillRx Cryotherapy Treatment Protocol for High Blood Pressure:
Client Case History:
High blood pressure that was not responsive to medication. We enrolled her in our high blood pressure protocol and collected data for 31 days. Prior to starting treatment at ChillRx, her blood pressure average was 142/92. Client received nearly daily whole body cryotherapy and 8 infrared sauna sessions over 31 days. Over the 31 days of treatment, her blood pressure average fell to 128/80. She is enjoying more energy, better sleep and lower blood pressure!!!
The ChillRx Cryotherapy treatment protocol for high blood pressure utilizes whole body cryotherapy and/or infrared sauna, depending on the client’s tolerance for treatment. We will customize a treatment protocol for individual clients based on their needs (are you on medication, is your blood pressure controlled, etc). ChillRx Cryotherapy has a medical advisor on staff who oversees our treatment protocols to maximize client safety and treatment effectiveness.
Please call us for more information: 908.228.5711
(1) The impact of kinesiotherapy on blood pressure in patients undergoing systemic cryotherapy treatment Adam Drozd * / Piotr Kalmus
(2) Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2008;68(2):145-53. doi: 10.1080/00365510701516350.
Effects of long-term whole-body cold exposures on plasma concentrations of ACTH, beta-endorphin, cortisol, catecholamines and cytokines in healthy females. Leppäluoto J1, Westerlund T, Huttunen P, Oksa J, Smolander J, Dugué B, Mikkelsson M. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18382932
|(3) J Am Soc Hypertens. 2007 Mar-Apr;1(2):113-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2007.01.004.
Inflammation in high blood pressure: a clinician perspective.
(4) Winterfeld, H., Siewert, H., & Strangfeld, D. (1988). Running and sauna as therapy in the rehabilitation of hypertensive patients with IHD after aortocoronary venous bypass surgery with special regard to hemodynamics. Z Kardiol, 77, 190-193.
(5) Brunt, V. E., Howard, M. J., Francisco, M. A., Ely, B. R., & Minson, C. T. (2016). Passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in sedentary humans. The Journal of Physiology. doi:10.1113/jp272453.
(6) Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2014 Aug;27(4):608-18. doi: 10.2478/s13382-014-0281-9. Epub 2014 Jul 7.The effect of sauna bathing on lipid profile in young, physically active, male subjects. Gryka D1, Pilch W, Szarek M, Szygula Z, Tota Ł.