It’s All About the Beat

heartbeat image

By Sandra Leyland-Williams from Essence of Health

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries that carry the fresh oxygenated blood away from your heart.  Blood pressure is measured with two numbers—the top number is called “systolic”, and the bottom number is “diastolic”. The systolic number measures the pressure of your blood against the walls of your arteries when it is pumped out of your heart. The diastolic measurement, represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.  A normal blood pressure measure is less than 120/80 mmHG.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when your reading is above 140/90 mmHG or above 150/90 if you are over 80.[1]   High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because many people have high blood pressure but aren’t aware that they do. If you don’t know what your blood pressure is it’s worth getting it checked either by buying your own monitor, going to your doctor, or some chemists will do a blood pressure check for you.

Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. High blood pressure is also one of the biggest risk factors for stroke.

What causes high blood pressure?

A poor diet, smoking and alcohol can lead to a build-up of plaque on artery walls.  When the blood has a smaller space to squeeze through the pressure on the blood is increased.

What can I do about high blood pressure?

If you visit your doctor, you will be prescribed medication.  Unfortunately, many of the most common blood pressure medications can cause unwanted side effects, such as weight gain, fatigue, cramps, and even heart problems! These side effects may simply be unpleasant and most people do not experience them, but in extreme cases can be serious.  Whilst I am not suggesting that you ignore your doctor’s advice there are many ways that you can lower your blood pressure naturally. If you haven’t visited your doctor yet and know that your blood pressure is getting higher from a home test, start using these methods immediately. If you are already taking medication for high blood pressure, start using these methods immediately, keep a check on your own blood pressure and when it starts to lower go back to your doctor and discuss the changes that you have made and ask for your medication to be lowered. 

What are the natural methods?

DASH-diet – ‘dietary approaches to stop hypertension’.  This diet was designed to treat high blood pressure and puts the emphasis on fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and seeds, poultry, fish and nuts, encourages the reduction of sodium and, according to the Mayo Clinic, is ‘a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure.’ It also reduces cholesterol and lowers damage to cardiac heart muscles.

Mediterranean Diet is very similar to the DASH diet (although the DASH diet includes more proteins). It focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and extra virgin olive oil. Many studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial at reducing high blood pressure.

Eat more greens – scientists from the Institute for Functional Medicine in Washington have discovered that eating  leafy greens such as kale, spinach and swiss chard can promote changes in DNA that has a range of health benefits, which includes reducing high blood pressure. In the study men between 50 and 72 years old, were given two cups of dark leafy greens, two cups of cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli), three cups of colourful vegetables (like carrots, peppers, tomatoes) and two beetroots per week.[2]

Detoxify – switching to a healthier diet can begin the detoxification process.  If you want to increase your ability to heal there are further ways that the detoxification process can be enhanced. One of the simplest and easiest ways to do this is using a fabulous functional food that I use to support clients looking to detoxify.  Functional foods are also a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake if these are not foods that you eat in high quantities.  Book a complimentary 15 minute consultation with me to find out more about functional foods.

Massage – Swedish massage and aromatherapy can both be used to help reduce blood pressure.  Massage can help reduce stress and create a safe and structured period of time for relaxation.  The physical act of massage also affects blood pressure as can specific essential oils used in aromatherapy. Several studies show massage to be effective, especially when implemented on a regular basis.[3] Overall massage is a safe and soothing treatment for hypertension, particularly for people that experience stress on a frequent basis. If treated regularly, massage patients demonstrate long term improvement in stress levels and heart rate.

Beehive Healthcare Chester | Swedish Massage, Pain relieving massage, Aromatherapy Massage and Nutrition | Staff

During September I am offering a nutrition and massage package aimed at creating a healthier lifestyle to reduce blood pressure.  This offer includes:

3 x 30 minute massage – normal price £30 per session = £90

1 x nutrition consultation – normal price £75

1 pack containing details and recipes for DASH and Mediterranean diets – value £10

List of foods to focus on and foods to avoid – created just for this event

Free text support during September – normally only available during a course of 3 nutrition consultations

1 x consultation about functional foods and how you can incorporate these to help lower blood pressure, detoxify and have many other health benefits (this many be 1-1 or in a group depending on availability)

Total value of this package is at least £175 – September only price £140

For further details about the package or individual services please contact or call 0775 801 2894 or contact Beehive reception.

[1] Figures are from NHS website


[3] Delaney, J.P., Leong, K.S., Watkins, A., and Brodie, D. in 2002 at the Wirral Metropolitan College Department of Medicine in Liverpool, United Kingdom and Hernandez-Reif, M., Field, T., Krasnegor, J., Theakston, H., Hossain, Z., and Burman, I. reported by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in the year 2000 and Mieko Kurosawa, Thomas Lundeberg, Greta Ögren, Irene Lund and Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, conducted in 1995 at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden