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UWindsor Researchers Test ‘Stress Ball’ For High Blood Pressure

Thursday May 14th, 2015, 12:00pm


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UWindsor researchers are looking for volunteers to test the theory that the simple act of squeezing a digital hand-grip may provide relief for hypertension.

The large-scale study needs 95 people who have blood pressure readings equal to or above 140/90 mmHg and who are taking blood pressure medication. Participants must have permission from their doctor to participate and commit to 16 weeks of exercise.

The research team is led by kinesiology researchers Cheri McGowan, Kevin Milne, Kenji Kenno, and research assistants Yasina Somani and Kristin Mayrand. They are following up on their previous small-scale studies showing a drop in blood pressure for people who regularly squeeze an isometric hand-grip.

“It is like a programmable stress ball,” says Somani. “Over-time, squeezing this device at 30 per cent of your maximum force can lead to reductions in blood pressure.”

Volunteers will exercise three times a week for the first eight weeks of the study, twice a week at the University and once at home. For the next eight weeks of the study some will still exercise three times a week, while others will have their visits decrease for the remainder of the study.

“We know little about the effects of isometric handgrip training on ambulatory blood pressure, a measure which accounts for fluctuations in blood pressure over a 24-hour period, and may be a better predictor of CVD risk,” says Mayrand.

“As part of this study we’ll check blood pressure around the clock with a monitor that sits on your belt.”

To participate in the study, contact the researchers by email at: [email protected] call 519-253-3000 extension 4979.

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