Mantra can Lower Blood Pressure
As per the researchers from the Duke University, religiously active people generally exhibit lower stress levels. The same study explains that religious activity helps to lower blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety in people’s lives. They further theorize, repressed hostility, anxiety and stress are the main causes behind high blood pressure. Religious activities have been known to promote sense of well being, better coping ability, lower anxiety, and higher satisfaction in life.
Prayer, or chanting mantras induce a calming effect in the mind which helps lower the blood pressure. As per Herbert Benson, MD, a professor at Harvard Medical School and author of the popular book, ‘The Relaxation Response’, ” Repeating words during prayer – and then using that repetition to quell anxious thoughts – produces a peaceful, tranquil state of mind.” That peaceful state ( the relaxation response as per Dr, Benson) helps to counter the physical effects of stress.
Mind- Body Connection Medicine
The moment one is exposed to an external stressor, the flight or fight response is evoked with the body, via the mind. This response triggers the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones in the body. These are the same hormones which cause anxiety, high blood pressure, anger, depression, heart arrhythmias, insomnia etc.
By repetitive prayer, such as chanting a mantra,, or repeating the words ‘Om’ or ‘ Allah’ can elicit the relaxation response, which in turn brings about corresponding physiological changes within the body like slowing of metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing etc. Brain imaging studies have demonstrated that certain parts of the brain – in particular those areas under the control of autonomic nervous system – are activated by mind-body techniques.
The autonomic nervous system regulates digestion, heart rate, and other processes that are involuntary by nature. Benson has traced the relaxation response to the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that plays a role in many neurological and immunological processes.