Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, taking a life every 36 seconds as well as costing the US economy over $200 billion annually through healthcare costs and lost productivity. Despite the remarkable progress made by modern medicine, one of the main factors contributing to cardiovascular problems, stress, remains overlooked although it can be addressed without a prescription. “Even in my early years as a medical student, I intuitively knew there was a link between stress and heart disease symptoms,” says Dr. John Kennedy, a renowned cardiologist and stress expert.
“At the same time, I witnessed people being sent back home from the hospital, their symptoms brushed aside as the product of imaginary triggers. In the years since, research has clearly shown how harmful stress is to the heart, and my own practice has provided countless examples of it. My experience also convinced me that this heavy emotional burden and its grave physical consequences can be eliminated naturally, which led me to develop the BREATHE technique.”
The name of the program is an acronym in which every letter represents a step in the exercise regimen. The technique itself combines guided imagery with conscious controlled breathing and positive self-talk. “BREATHE is not the only mindful-based stress reduction tool, but it is among the very few that are effective while also being simple and accessible. Research has shown it to consistently and effectively lower stress, leading to a fall in heart rate and blood pressure, and it is beneficial even for people who work in highly stressful environments, including doctors, nurses, and first responders. The BREATHE template is always the same seven-step sequence that allows users to progressively relax and focus, achieving whatever goal they are pursuing with the exercise,” Dr. John Kennedy explains.
The “B” in the name stands for “Begin,” and this first step entails finding the best place and time to initiate the relaxation routine. Once the location is selected, it is time to “Relax,” which, counterintuitively, requires concentration and focus, Dr. John Kennedy notes. This second step is intended to elicit a relaxation response through controlled breathing. It is followed by “Envision,” which draws on the power of the imagination and the common use of visualization in the pursuit of business, academic, or sporting goals. Imagination also has important applications in maintaining health and wellness, with studies demonstrating that patients who thoroughly understand their medical condition and use visualization enjoy better overall health. The “A” in BREATHE stands for “Apply,” which is the step where guided imagery exercises enable users to create powerful, lasting memories of success in whatever task is at hand.
The sequence progresses with “Treat,” where a person enjoys the pleasurable and therapeutic effects of the routine and revels in the sense of deserving this incredible experience. The penultimate step, “Heal,” focuses on the feelings of relaxation and positivity that users learn to elicit through the technique and recall effortlessly at this point to reinforce healing physiologic responses, including decreased blood pressure, enhanced immune response, and real-time fall in pulse rate. The “End” step completes the routine with a summary of the significance of the entire exercise and a review of each segment, leaving the user energized, revitalized, and ready to tackle the challenges of the day.
John Kennedy, MD, is a preventative and interventional cardiologist with 25 years of experience in his field. In addition to being a renowned clinical practitioner, he has dedicated a large portion of his time to research, focusing on the impact of stress on cardiovascular health. John Kennedy is the author of two popular books dealing with simple yet powerful programs he has developed. The Heart Health Bible presents a five-step plan to preventing and reversing heart disease, while The 15 Minute Heart Cure tackles the impact of stress on the cardiovascular system and details his stress-reduction technique BREATHE, which has been proven effective even for people working in highly stressful environments.
Dr. John Kennedy – Cardiologist and Stress Expert: https://drjkennedy.com The 15 Minute Heart Cure: The Natural Way to Relelase Stress and Heal Your Heart in Just Minutes a Day - Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/15-Minute-Heart-Cure-Natural/dp/1681620472