Alpha and Theta meditation are specialized types of meditation that have been demonstrated to have positive effects on a person’s blood pressure, helping to combat hypertension. One of the main causes of high blood pressure, if not the main cause, is stress. Unfortunately, stress is a cause that is often ignored or downplayed by the medical establishment because there is little that the medical community can do to reduce the stress that a person is experiencing in their daily lives. Perhaps the best way to reduce the constant stress that can have a damaging effect on your mind and your body is the regular practice of Alpha and Theta meditation.
What exactly are Alpha and Theta meditation? To understand the answer, you will need to know a few things about the human brain. First of all, the human brain is always active, and produces electrical signals at all times. When neurologists monitor this electrical activity through the use of an electroencephalograph (EEG), they find that this brain activity comes in waves with specific frequencies. These waves are often referred to as brainwaves.
When we are in an alert state of mind, the primary type of brainwave that would be measured is referred to as a Beta wave. A Beta wave has a frequency of between thirteen and thirty Hz. When we first close our eyes in order to relax before going to sleep, we cut off our contact with the outside world. This causes the brain to take on a different type of activity. The brain waves become slower but with a larger amplitude. These are called Alpha waves, and they have a frequency between seven and thirteen Hz. When we fall asleep and move into the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, we begin to dream. This period of sleep is dominated by Theta waves, which have a frequency of between 3.5 and seven Hz. These waves are even slower and even more strong than Alpha waves.
Alpha and Theta waves are a natural way to reduce stress. When the mind perceives stress, whether it is real or imagined, it elicits the fight or flight response. This causes the mind to react by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. These cause you to breath more rapidly, your heart to beat faster and harder, and your blood pressure to rise. This also redirects energy to deal with immediate issues. The focus moves away from long term repair and growth and is instead directed at what can be done to fix your immediate situation. The problem is, if the perceived stress isn’t real, this is a waste of energy. The Beta state is damaging to the body over time because it is most susceptible to stress. Spending less time in the Beta state does less damage to our bodies.
Many studies have been conducted that have demonstrated a link between meditation and a reduction in high blood pressure. In 2004, the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences reported on a study demonstrating that older women who had been practicing meditation produced less cortisol in stressful situations. Not only that, but the more experience that the women had had with meditation, the greater the effect. The study reported that the endocrine system of women who had been practicing meditation for extended periods of time has improved.
Another study conducted in 2007 by the National Institutes of Health found that meditation had great benefits in relation to high blood pressure. In fact, it proved to be the most effective, with biofeedback and progressive muscle relaxation proving less effective than meditation.