Almost 80 million Americans suffer from hypertension, which translates into 1 out of every 3 adults. These statistics are alarming, especially as an Integrative Medicine physician, I know that most cases of high blood pressure are preventable and reversible. So why do so many people have high blood pressure and what can we do about this?
The principle reason behind most cases of hypertension is diet and lack of activity. What you eat truly makes you who you become. There is also an emotional component that manifests through stress which in turn can raise blood pressure.
Traditional medical care focuses on prescription drugs to treat the symptoms. So, in this case it is pretty easy to write a prescription for a medicine that can successfully lower your blood pressure. Within minutes, you have your solution. Unfortunately, this is simply a cover up to the root of the problem and quite often with many side effects. I see patients who are frustrated with taking prescription medications every day and want to see a doctor who can truly help them find out the real cause of the problem and fix it from the foundation.
The philosophy behind Integrative Medicine is to treat the patient as a whole (body, mind and soul) while combining the best of traditional care with natural and holistic treatments to fully restore optimum health in the patient.
A thorough analysis of the diet is essential and typically a low salt diet is indicated in patients diagnosed with high blood pressure. When we eat out, we simply don’t know how much salt they put in our food. So I advise my patients to prepare their own meals, whenever possible.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of daily physical activity. Lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, which in turn can lead to many medical problems, including hypertension. So get off the couch and get moving. If you don’t have access to a gym, then go outside and walk. If you are too busy during the day, then wake up 30 minutes earlier. There is simply no excuse for not exercising.
In my private practice at Whole Health & Soul, in Santa Monica, CA, I focus on spiritual wellness in relation to medical conditions. So on top of modifying my patients’ diets and planning exercise regimens, I teach my patients tools that they can do on their own, which will help them lower their blood pressure. I have had many patients reverse their condition and successfully get off of their medications. It takes a serious commitment and a lifestyle change to restore optimum health, but it can be done.
I provide my patients with guided meditation sessions. Many studies have shown that people who practice meditation can lower their blood pressure by about 20 mmHg. Meditation allows the mind to calm down and enter a state of consciousness, to allow healing to take place. Sitting in silence restores the connection between our mind, body and soul. Guiding my patients through a breath-focused meditation allows the calming of the nervous system which in turn lowers blood pressure.
The nervous system is composed of two pathways: sympathetic and parasympathetic. Maintaining a fine balance between the two pathways is essential. In my practice, I use Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback to help treat hypertension. The fluctuation of your heart rate represents the interaction between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. By training your breathing pattern through stress-reduction Biofeedback, you can lower your blood pressure in a short period of time.
Hypertension, in most cases, is reversible. Find a doctor who will be your partner in your journey into health and most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!
Dr. Rob Berberian, D.O.
Integrative Medicine Specialist
Double board certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine with a specialty focus in Spiritual Wellness.
Related Health Articles:
Having grown up in Los Angeles, Dr. Rob attended UCLA where he received his B.S. in Physiology with an Honors Thesis. Prior to medical school, he completed a Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Neurology. Following, he received his medical degree from Western University of Health Sciences. Upon completion of a three year Residency in Family Medicine at Glendale Adventist Medical Center in affiliation with Loma Linda University, he continued on to a two year Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona studying under Dr. Andrew Weil. In addition to Dr. Rob’s traditional schooling, he studied meditation with a pioneer of the mind-body connection, Dr. Deepak Chopra. Dr. Rob’s frustration with the way medicine is currently being practiced drove him to start his own private practice to provide patients with a greater level of care and sensitivity regarding all the issues of health, disease and illness. While in residency, Dr. Rob’s father was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes. While his father was going through chemotherapy, there was no additional support provided by any other doctors regarding the spiritual aspect of experiencing such a difficult transitional time in life. Dr. Rob spent the next few years making sure to provide the best care possible to allow his father to be in the best spirit as he was going through several rounds of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. This kind of treatment takes a toll on one’s spirit emotionally and physically. Sadly, the cancer returned for a third time and Dr. Rob’s father passed away in April of 2012. He was with his father as he took his last breath, witnessing the transition from the physical life to the spiritual life. He is at peace knowing that he did everything he could do to make his father as comfortable as possible during a difficult and scary time. His passion for medicine and the fight against cancer is the main driving force in setting up his private practice Whole Health & Soul, which is in honor of his late father’s dream of seeing his son fulfill his calling in life. A portion of the profits will be donated to various cancer charities. Dr. Rob’s mission is to have every single person in this world take responsibility for their own health and live a healthier and more fulfilling existence to help prevent disease, illness, cancer and emotional distress. Whole Health & Soul can provide you with the support, information and organized plan to take charge of your life, health and spiritual wellness to lead you into a stronger and healthier life, full of love, happiness and enlightenment.