Squeeze a stress ball `to cut your blood pressure`

London: Suffering from hypertension? Now, you can also reduce your blood pressure levels by squeezing a hand-held device for just 10 minutes a day while watching your favourite programme on TV, say scientists.

Called the parasympathetic nervous system, the gadget, a kind of computerised stress ball, boosts activity in the part of the nervous system that controls blood pressure and heart rate, say the scientists.

And, this lowers blood pressure during times of rest and relaxation. It counteracts the sympathetic nervous system, which raises blood pressure and heartbeat in periods of stress and danger, the `Daily Mail` reported.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved the new device, named the Zona Plus, for use in a trial involving 200 patients who have failed to cut their blood pressure despite taking two or more drugs.

To begin with, the patient first squeezes hard for two seconds with one hand. A microchip inside the device records this pressure, and sets it as the patient`s target rate. Every day the patient squeezes the device as hard as they can to reach this target pressure -- once they achieve it, a screen tells them to maintain this grip for two minutes.

If their grip weakens, it will tell them to squeeze harder. They rest for one minute and repeat it with the other hand, before repeating the process again. The whole routine takes around 10 minutes, say the scientists.

However, Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association, says more evidence is needed on the efficacy of isometric hand-grip training as a remedy. "This is potentially an interesting development, but I don`t think on its own it`s going to solve the hypertension problem," he said.


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