According to the American Heart Association, approximately one in three adults in the U.S. suffer from a worrisome condition — high blood pressure. When it’s not kept in check, high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) can bring about far scarier problems such as heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure.
Because this is such a huge concern in our country, we go to great lengths searching for alternative solutions — even to faraway China. That’s where a recent study comes in.
When visiting China, researchers from the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) noticed an intriguing activity occurring with the Chinese population. Every day, adults from varying age groups spent half an hour walking or standing on cobblestone-type paths.
This daily habit is based on some principles of traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed that the soles of the feet have various pressure points, which connect to all the different areas of the body.
When done correctly, the manipulation of pressure points could fix certain health problems and promote general well- being. So, the Chinese believe that the uneven surface of the cobblestones stimulates these points, thus leading to many health benefits, including the regulation of blood pressure.
The ORI researchers decided to test this theory in a controlled randomized trial. The 108 study participants, aged 60 to 92, were divided into two groups. The first group walked on manufactured cobblestone mats every day, while the second group did regular walking activities. For 16 weeks, both groups walked 60 minutes a day, three times a week.
When the study was completed, the researchers found that the people who had done the cobblestone-mat walking had greater improvements in physical function, balance, and blood pressure levels than those walking on regular surfaces did.
This interesting method must be studied further to confirm its benefits — especially regarding blood pressure — but it does show a lot of promise. It could be an alternative form of physical activity for older adults, especially since it can easily be done in their own homes.
These findings seem to expand upon the already amazing benefits of walking. Plus, this form of activity could help you stay healthier and stronger in your later years.
Anything that could help lower your blood pressure deserves some serious consideration. If you’d like to get more information on the ORI’s cobblestone mats, check out http://www.fitter1.com/cobblestone-mat.html, or just look for a cobblestone path near you. However, as always, it’s best to check with your doctor first in order to see if this therapy’s right for you.