Ask a PT: Will the Zona Plus Lower my Blood Pressure?

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By: Dr. Jill Murphy, Physical Therapist, Licensed Athletic Trainer, and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Zona Plus

You may have seen the ads on TV about a hand-held dynamometer that claims to reduce your blood pressure. Since the normal blood pressure and pre-hypertension values have recently been lowered, this seems like a great idea if you have pre-hypertension or mild hypertension and would like to avoid or get off anti-hypertensive medications. But does it work? I have searched the literature, and while this particular device has not been tested, in one very low powered study, using a hand dynamometer to perform isometric exercise showed an ability to reduce blood pressure. As an exercise professional, I would argue that ANY exercise for 15 minutes every day will lower your blood pressure! There are no head to head studies comparing hand dynamometer isometric exercise compared to other forms of exercise, like walking, swimming, biking, dancing, ping pong, whatever. So, is it worth the money? I would recommend that if you would like to reduce your blood pressure that you find a type of exercise you enjoy and get to it (and if it’s outside it will have an even greater ability to lower your blood pressure)! Chances are it will be more enjoyable and cost you nothing! On the other hand, if you can’t find any form of exercise you would like and you would rather sit in your easy chair every night and do the Zona for 15 minutes while watching TV, no one’s stopping you. (Although, as a cheapskate myself, might I suggest squeezing a hand towel as hard as you can, over and over again for 15 minutes for free - no doubt it will work just as well!)