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Fighting High Blood Pressure? Go Blue

Blue light treatments have emerged as a potential natural remedy for hypertension. Here’s how to utilize it and how to combine blue light with other natural solutions.

If you’re an American, there’s a 50 percent chance you have high blood pressure. That’s not a typo. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 103 million Americans suffer from hypertension. (Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, but the condition is the same.) And, yes, that’s the highest number of sufferers of the disease ever recorded.

The costs of having high blood pressure are significant. Since 2005, the number of deaths from the disorder have increased by 38 percent. And that number is rising worldwide, according to the AHA.        

These shocking statistics are one reason why the guidelines for determining high blood pressure were changed in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology (ACA) and the AHA. The previous ACA/AHA measure for hypertension was 140/90 mm Hg; now it’s 130/80.  This was the first change since 2003, but it’s a sign of just how urgent today’s heart specialists believe addressing hypertension has become. (The ACA and AHA conferred with nine other health organizations and 21 scientists, who culled data from 900 studies, to arrive at the new standard.)    

So do you know your blood pressure numbers? You should. It’s one of the most routine parts of a regular doctor visit. You can also check your blood pressure with a number of home-care units, not to mention the blood-pressure measuring cuffs in public places, like drug stores.       

Not knowing your blood pressure reading is, unfortunately, common—or at least not doing anything about hypertension is common. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only about half of those with high blood pressure have it under control. The CDC estimates that nearly 13 million Americans suffer from hypertension but don’t know it. And, reports the CDC, “Uncontrolled hypertension is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke….” 

It’s no wonder that heart disease remains the leading cause of death for U.S. adults.

High blood pressure is an epidemic. You need to treat it seriously. But, like the old saying goes, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Has Science Fiction Become Science Fact?

The most common medical treatment for high blood pressure is drug therapy. In fact, the AHA lists eleven classes of medication that treat the condition. While prescription drugs may be effective, they can come with serious side effects, and drugs usually only manage the situation, not cure it. It’s frustrating when a medicine helps relieve one problem only to create other discomforts that don’t seem to improve quality of life.

Then there are the high financial costs of treatment. Somebody with hypertension will spend about $2,000 more for health care than a person without the condition, according to the AHA. Overall, hypertension costs Americans $131 billion every year.

For these and other reasons, more people than ever are looking for natural ways to address their high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, even some natural healing therapies can come with side effects. Consider sunlight. Everyday sunlight offers many benefits, most notably increased serotonin and the triggering of the production of vitamin D. Sunlight has also been found to lower blood pressure.

But outdoor sunlight also contains dangerous carcinogenic ultraviolet (UV) rays, and today their damaging effects are stronger than ever. According to NASA, UV exposure has increased over the last 30 years due to atmospheric changes. But researchers may have found a way to get the benefits of sunlight without the hazards of UV. And it has a direct effect on lowering hypertension.

A study by British scientists found that applying whole-body blue light for 30 minutes “significantly reduced the systolic blood pressure of participants by almost 8 mmHg,” (Systolic pressure is the first number of your blood pressure reading. It indicates “how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats,” according to the AHA. The other number is the diastolic reading.) The blue light exposure in the study also had other heart-healthy benefits, including reduction of arterial stiffness and an increase of blood vessel relaxation.       

It seems like something out of an episode of Star Trek. You’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, but instead of prescribing expensive and sometimes harsh medications, your doctor instructs you to sit still, then positions a blue light over your body for 30 minutes. After the blue light treatment, you walk out with your blood pressure levels dramatically lowered.    

Too good to be true? Scientists are now wondering. While more research is on the way to replicate this published study, science fiction may turn out to be science fact.     

But what does that mean for you now? How can you get the benefits of light therapy today?

Light therapy isn’t unusual. Many dermatologists use blue light and laser treatments for severe acne cysts, and even pair light therapy with photosensitizing drugs to treat skin cancer (this is known as photodynamic therapy). Because sunlight can trigger the production of serotonin via the retina of the eye, blue light is also used for those suffering from depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

Home blue light therapy units for acne and SAD are available on the market, though you should consult with your health care professional before beginning any home health treatment—and never stop using your medications without speaking to your doctor. But blue light therapy has an enviable safety record. It’s deemed so safe and beneficial that doctors use blue light to treat babies with neonatal jaundice.    

A lot of natural wellness treatments provided benefits long before the mainstream medical establishment caught up to their effectiveness.  

Combine Light and Steam Therapy for a Powerful Natural Wellness strategy

Today’s achievements in technology now make it easier than ever to get the most benefit out of proven wellness therapies. One of these advances is the ability to combine light therapy with steam therapy.        

MrSteam is an innovator in bringing the wondrous effects of light therapy to the steam room environment with ChromaSteam. Utilizing specially engineered chromatherapy installations, ChromaSteam3, MrSteam brings calming blue light to steam showers. The ChromaSteam3 system offers many color options depending on your goals, so check the company website for more information on the entire range of choices for chromatherapy additions.         

MrSteam offers other calming augmented therapies, including aroma therapy via essential oils and music therapy, both of which have been well-studied by researchers (see here and here) for helping to potentially reduce stress and promote relaxation.        

Many people today seek out natural, noninvasive methods to address their common chronic health conditions. While blue light therapy and steam therapy are no substitution for medical treatment, they are a potentially powerful ally in maintaining your overall wellness profile.         

Safe, passive, and used for centuries, steam therapy should be on your short list for natural wellness options that you can do every day and in your own home. To see how easy and affordable it is to install a steam unit in your house, check out MrSteam’s case studies or visit a dealer showroom near you. Your heart will thank you.

Topics: Benefits of Steam, Health & Wellness