Blood Pressure (Hypotension/Hypertension)

Low blood pressure (Hypotension) is common in fast-growing teenagers and may occur in later life, often as a result of medications.  On-going issues of low blood pressure should be discussed with your GP or medical team, but will not normally prevent normal activities.

High blood pressure (Hypertension) is known as the “silent killer” as it has no obvious symptoms but can cause serious damage to the heart and blood vessels.  There are several contributory factors which may cause someone’s blood pressure to become high, but yet again staying active, eating sensibly and controlling weight are the most effective ways of reducing the chance or severity of raised blood pressure.

There are a number of medicines that may be prescribed to help control raised blood pressure.

Tai Chi Lowers Blood Pressure
 Daily Telegraph 5th April 2012
Researchers found that older people who regularly performed the traditional Chinese “mind and body” technique were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger.
They concluded that the improvement of heart function combined with increased muscular power meant that the martial art should be considered the preferred technique for elderly
people to maintain good health.

Tai Chi, which has grown in popularity throughout the world, is typified by slow, deliberate repetitive movements and is based on co-ordination and relaxation rather than muscular
tension. It is believed that focusing the mind solely on the movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity.

In the Hong Kong study, pulse measurements showed that Tai Chi specifically improved expansion and contraction of the arteries — known as arterial compliance, an important
indicator of heart health — and increased knee muscle strength. A number of earlier studies have shown that strength training alone has been accompanied by a decline in arterial

The findings were published online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The study involved 65 elderly subjects from Hong Kong, 29 recruited from local Tai Chi clubs who had each practised the technique for at least 90 minutes a week for three years, and 36
controls with no such experience.

Initial results showed that the Tai Chi subjects were superior in almost all medical observations,including blood pressure, vascular resistance and pulse pressure. Measurements also showed that both large and small artery compliance was 40-44 per cent higher in the Tai Chi group.

Additional analysis showed that the Tai Chi subjects had greater average muscle strength.

The effect of Tai Chi training in lowering blood pressure has been documented previously. Dr William Tsang from the The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, who led the
research, said: “However this is the first study to investigate the possible effects of Tai Chi on arterial compliance by comparing older Tai Chi practitioners with non-practitioners similar in
age and activity level.

“The improvement in arterial compliance could have resulted from a combination of aerobic training, stretching, mental concentration and calm meditation during Tai Chi movement,” he
said.  Dr Tsang said the added appeal of Tai Chi was that it could be practised any time and anywhere without the constraints of equipment or a gymnasium.