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Can Watching Fire Lower Your Blood Pressure?

About half of the adult population in the United States have a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg. More often than not, these individuals are diagnosed with hypertension and prescribed maintenance medication. Buy did you know there are also other ways to keep your blood pressure within range?

According to a new study from the University of Alabama, getting cozy by the fireplace can help you relax and reduce your blood pressure. Even watching a video of a crackling blaze is enough to decrease your blood pressure.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is when blood pressure is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day depending on your activities. Blood pressure that consistently measures above the normal range is diagnosed as hypertension.

Having high blood pressure puts you at a risk for several health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

High blood pressure often develops over time due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Individuals who don’t get regular physical activity and choose to consume unhealthy food on a regular basis are prone to developing hypertension. Other causes include; diabetes and obesity. You may also develop hypertension due to pregnancy.

Most of the time, hypertension goes unnoticed. Several individuals don’t even know they have it. One way to be sure your blood pressure is within range is to check your regularly using a sphygmomanometer. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

How Can Watching Fire Lower Your Blood Pressure?

A study conducted at the University of Alabama shows that sitting by a fireplace can reduce your blood pressure and help you relax. In the study, when people spent 15 minutes watching a video of fire complete with the crackling sound, their systolic blood pressure dropped by 6 points on average, while their diastolic blood pressure dropped by three.

The study was conducted during the day, which means there could be a more calming effect when done at night. According to the author of the said study, Christoper Dana Lynn, Ph.D., cuddling with your partner or even just bonding with friends while watching the flames are quite effective as well.

People who are prosocial, or positively disposed toward other people and social gatherings and social interactions, are more likely to relax by the fire. People with a larger capacity for absorption, also felt more at ease, probably because they became entranced by the fire. 

Christoper Dana Lynn, Ph.D.

You might be wondering how does a warm glow help calm you down. Scientifically speaking, humans have evolved to find fire relaxing, and dopamine is released.

Stress can kill you, literally, and having means of reducing stress is going to be critical for the survival of species. Anything that’s going to help us manage or balance that conflict is going to be selected for, to use evolutionary terms. When we think about history, there was a lot of oral history shared around fires. How is that different from watching a television for your story?

Christoper Dana Lynn, Ph.D.

(Source: Men’s Health)

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