High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Drugs are not always necessary to lower blood pressure. The NDR Natur-Docs show how the holistic approach to naturopathy can help.
Naturopathy relies on herbal medicines and centuries-old therapies – and yet it is modern medicine. It is based on a holistic approach: body, mind, and soul are treated as a unit. Knowledge from various areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy, stress reduction, or manual therapies is used in naturopathy.
It is treated with various methods, the effectiveness of which has been proven in studies. The areas of application are diverse: naturopathy can help with rheumatism, polyneuropathy, or arthrosis as well as with cancer, burnout or skin diseases. More and more health insurance companies reimburse naturopathic therapies for certain diseases, such as acupuncture for knee problems.
Naturopathy versus the deadly quartet
Civilization diseases can also be treated holistically: naturopathy knows various treatment options against the deadly quartet of high blood pressure, poor blood values, obesity, and stress – and can thus reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Instead of taking pills to treat bad blood levels, fasting can do a lot: for at least seven days there is only tea, broth, and juice. The goal is to give the body a fresh start. Because constant eating overwhelms the organism: it constantly produces inflammatory substances from food molecules. This process is reduced by fasting. In addition, the metabolism changes in the long term. Meanwhile, the body falls back on its energy reserves: fat, glycogen, and protein. Fasting boosts autophagy, which is a kind of cell recycling or cleaning program. This has a positive effect on the vascular system and thus blood pressure.
In naturopathy, there are a number of deep relaxation methods that work against high blood pressure and stress. It is important to really slow down the body once a day. Not just with a short nap, but above all with regularly practiced active deep relaxation methods such as yoga, qigong, or tai chi.
Extreme cold can also help against high blood pressure: swimwear is worn in the cold chamber, and hands, feet, and ears are covered. First, it is pre-cooled at minus 60 degrees so that the body slowly gets used to the extreme cold. Then it goes into the main chamber at minus 110 degrees for almost three minutes. In this extreme cold, the blood vessels constrict. When you warm up afterward, they expand again and become more elastic – which lowers blood pressure.
Water showers according to Kneipp, which you can also do at home, have a similar effect to the cold chamber. The cold water stimulus narrows the blood vessels and afterward they widen, which lowers blood pressure. Start with the right leg that is far from the heart: Let the water run from the ankle over the calf to the back of the knee and back down the other side – three times on both legs. Finally over the sole of the left foot.
Proper nutrition is important to lower high blood pressure. So-called superfoods can act as blood pressure reducers: It has been scientifically proven that green tea, beetroot, blueberries, walnuts, pomegranate, and high-proof dark chocolate help to lower blood pressure – if you eat them regularly.
Exercise also helps regulate blood pressure naturally. If you want to work out without the pressure to perform, you can do water aerobics, for example. Blood pressure rises during exertion but then drops to normal levels. This is trained through regular endurance sports – and in the long term, the blood pressure drops.