Volunteer Opportunities

Hypertension Prevention and Management through Deep Breathing

Spiritual Heritage Education Network Inc. (SHEN) is an organization which develops, disseminates and promotes educational programs in the spiritual heritage of humankind. Our goal is to promote the feeling of one human family living in the global village that the world is fast becoming.

SHEN educational programs are run locally in traditional classroom mode. In addition, they will be available globally, as distance education courses through the medium of the Internet.

Slow, rhythmic, deep breathing is intimately related with the process of meditation. While researching our course on the theory and practice of meditation, we discovered recent studies which scientifically establish that this kind of breathing can be beneficial in the management and prevention of hypertension.

Since a large number of adults in North America are hypertensive, SHEN felt it incumbent to use the studies for common good through public education.

The goal of this project is to facilitate experiential learning of slow diaphragmatic breathing. According to studies, rhythmic deep diaphragmatic breathing at the rate of 10 breaths per minute or less performed for 10-15 minutes every day over an eight week period generally reduces systolic blood pressure by 10-15 points.

Although slow, rhythmic and deep breathing is an integral part of some forms of meditation, the converse is not true. Meditation is not an integral part of this type of breathing. It is not the goal of this project to teach meditation.

SHEN recruits volunteers and trains them in teaching deep breathing exercises. The exercises are best done lying down. A small pillow may be helpful. Alternately, one may do the exercises sitting up straight on a chair. Body positions are chosen to maximize lung capacity for deep breathing.

Trained volunteers, after finishing their own training,  will be expected to reach out to provide  similar training to interested persons in the community at churches, health clubs, workplaces, adult recreation centers, senior residences, training and educational organizations, etc.

The program consists of eight one hour sessions, one per week over eight weeks. The participants will be asked to practice the exercises learnt for 20 minutes each and every day during the eight week learning period and make the exercises part of their daily lifestyle.

The deep breathing exercises taught in this project will help individuals manage their high blood pressure or prevent its onset. The process is without any side effects because of its non-pharmacological nature. Anyone interested may participate. Other benefits include a sense of calm which can help with stress, pain management, and sleep.

We recommend that the deep breathing exercises be continued to become part of the daily routine. We also recommend that you never stop or change the dosage of your blood pressure medication without consulting your doctor.

Volunteers must be interested in learning deep diaphragmatic breathing for their health benefits and also in helping others learn the same. They must be able to travel locally in the tri-city area to receive the necessary training and subsequently instructing others.

Interested? If so, e-mail: volunteer@spiritualeducation.org.