shopify visitor statistics
Skip to main content
Who Knew...
Thursday, April 22 2021
Getting a Grip on High Blood Pressure

Getting a Grip on High Blood Pressure

Nearly half the adults in the United States (about 45%, or 108 million) have hypertension (high blood pressure).  High Blood Pressure (HBP) is defined where the pressure reading is over 130 for the systolic and over 80 for the diastolic pressure.  Of those about 30 million take medication for this condition.  The systolic or top number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats, and the diastolic or bottom number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests.  The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems such as kidney problems, eye problems, heart attack, heart disease, or stroke.  It could cause memory loss, blurred vision, libido issues in both men and women, and result in the excess loss of calcium and cause weaker bones. High blood pressure can damage arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases blood flow and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease.  High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.  Therefore, periodic checks for your blood pressure are important.


The natural recommendations for reducing high blood pressure are to decrease alcohol, salt, and smoking, eating healthy foods and increasing physical activity and losing weight if necessary.  Taking time to relax or meditate also helps. A less well-known recommendation but proven to be an effective method, is improving grip strength. 


Get a Grip!

In the mid-1970’s the air force had a problem where the G-forces created in the flying of F-16 jets were causing pilots to lose consciousness and black out.  They turned to Dr. Ronald Wiley and expert in heart and lung physiology to help.  One of Dr. Wiley’s strategies was a hand grip that pilots could squeeze to boost their blood pressure enough to maintain circulation in the brain.  This technique did work initially to raise blood pressure during flying maneuvers; however, it had the reverse effect on resting blood pressure after a few weeks of practice. 


Dr. Wiley’s findings were repeated numerous times and a meta-analysis of 18 studies by Danielle Bentley and colleagues at the University of Toronto concluded: “Handgrip exercise is an effective modality for resting blood pressure reduction, resulting in clinically significant reductions for men and women of all ages.”  Another meta-analysis by Australian doctors reached a similar conclusion.  Additionally, it was found to lower systolic and diastolic pressure on average from about 10-15 points which is equivalent to many pharmaceutical drugs. 


There are instruments called dynamometers which measure grip strength in a medical setting.  The average grip strength for a man is 72 lbs. and for a woman it is about 44 lbs. of force. According to Harvard Medical School, a decrease in grip strength of 11 pounds is linked to a 17% increased risk of heart disease and a 7% increased risk for a heart attack.  Even when researchers attempted to adjust their study of more than 140,000 adults for external factors, including smoking and age, they found that grip strength was a stronger indicator for cardiovascular disease than blood pressure.  Grip strength can also indicate your risk for stroke and serve as a reliable measurement of your biological age over your biological age. 


How to improve your grip strength

There are a variety of ways to do this.  The simplest method is to get a rubber ball that can fit in the palm of your hand and squeeze it for 90 seconds in an isometric fashion.  Then switch to the other hand for 90 seconds.  Isometric is an exercise that causes a muscular contraction without any movement of the joint.  Repeat this three times for each hand and do this twice a day for six weeks.  Be sure to take and record your blood pressure daily at the start and continue each day for the entire six weeks. 


Other exercises that incorporate “isometrics” are also effective.  For instance, planks which is an isometric push up where you hold yourself in the up position.  It can also be done on your elbows which is less pressure on your wrists.  Another is the isometric bicep exercise which can be done at your desk.  You could place your hands under the desk and apply upward pressure against the tabletop with your palms up.  Keep your elbows tight against the ribs and the elbows at 90 degrees. 


To improve grip strength there are hand instruments that can be used.  There are digital dynamometers sold on amazon for less than 30.00 that can measure your maximum grip strength.  Then the exercise would be like what I mentioned above with the ball, just squeeze the dynamometer at about 30% of that maximal reading and hold it for 90 seconds and repeat in each hand three times.


There is a more high-priced alternative.  Zona Health offers a device that for 600.00 will interface with you each day and calibrate the sweet zone that you need to squeeze as your strength increases to achieve the best results. 


Final thoughts

For mild to moderate elevated blood pressure using this information to improve grip strength and coupling it with other dietary changes over six weeks is a reasonable path to avoid having to take pharmaceuticals to lower your blood pressure.  However, if your blood pressure is extremely high with a top number over 160, even a 15-point reduction with this technique may not be enough to bring your blood pressure into a normal range.  In that case, a more serious look at other factors including medications should be considered. 

Posted by: Dr. Goldstein AT 02:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

Post comment
Email Address

(max 750 characters)
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.

Latest Posts


Search by topic



























About us

Many patients have come
here seeking...

Pain Reduction
Increase in Energy
Nutritional consultations
Detoxification advice  
Better Sleep
Injury Rehabbing

Click to see more

FREE Report

5 Reasons Chiropractic Care
is the Right Solution

Contact us
rss feedemail usour twitter
Natural Health Chiropractic
Dr. Paul B. Goldstein D.C. C.C.S.P.
495 Union Ave. Suite 1B
Middlesex, NJ 08846-1962
732-271-0275 (fax)
The natural answer to health problems

Chiropractic patients from Middlesex, Boundbrook, Piscataway, Greenbrook, Dunnellen, Warren, Watchung and many surrounding cities across New Jersey.

Business WebSite Builder