Host a “Lowering High Blood Pressure Naturally” Seminar
How to Run an Inexpensive, Eight-Week High Blood Pressure Program
Our recently released book, “Thirty Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control” gives readers the tools to help control their blood pressure with a minimum of medications. You can increase your likelihood of success by going through the 30-day program with others. (Click here to purchase the book: http://www.compasshealth.net/purchase/.)
This page provides details on how to run an 8-week program. Before you read the material below, you might enjoy a quick video overview of the program. Although the video was designed for a special grant-funded program for Native Americans, it describes the very same program you will read about below. You can access that free video here: Video Overview of 8-Week Program.
We have developed four inexpensive DVD resources to help you host a 30-day Natural Blood Pressure Control Program in your own home, workplace, community center, or place of worship. No training or licensing fees are required to run such a program. To increase the likelihood of success we recommend meeting once per week for eight weeks. This includes an introductory meeting before beginning the 30-day plan (or as we prefer to call it “the 30-day journey”) and two consolidation meetings following those thirty days. (A nice idea is to have a formal “graduation” for your last meeting.) The table below provides an outline of what is covered during the recommended eight weekly sessions. A more detailed description follows the table. All resources are available at http://www.compasshealth.net/purchase/. Special pricing on the resources, and information about special “thank you” $100 gift cards, is found here: http://www.compasshealth.net/seminar-resources/
Note: This is a grassroots project with local community leaders continuing to improve the ancillary resources that complement the program. You can find program guides and a handout/worksheet for each session by clicking here: Handouts and Program Guides. (They were refined by a community group who is running the program in Kansas, thus the designation, “Kansas Handouts.”) If your group makes refinements in these devices or develops other free resources for your 30-day program, please let us know. If you are willing, we would love to share them with others.
Additionally, if you would like to present some of the lecture content yourself, and then use the DVDs as ancillary materials, many of the PowerPoint slides we used in our DVDs and books are available free of charge. You can access them here: http://www.compasshealth.net/free-powerpoint-slides/
Now, here are some talking points that can be used at each of the eight, once-per-week meetings:
- Week 1
- Greet those in attendance; share brief introductions.
- Provide an overview of the eight sessions. Let them know this is not a treatment program, but rather an educational journey that provides them with information they can use to naturally lower their blood pressure. Tell all participants they should check with their health care providers before making any of the changes described in the book or other seminar materials.
- Show approximately 40-minutes of DVD content that introduces participants to the 30-day program. It is found as the bonus material on our DVD, Spiritual Health: Neglected Dimensions. This includes a 30-minute presentation by Dr. DeRose entitled, “Lower Hypertension Naturally” preceded by a ten minute motivational message that connects the presentation to the longer six-week program. In these two presentations, viewers will be exposed to the key points of the 30-Day Plan using a somewhat different conceptual framework.
- After viewing the presentations, discuss informally what was memorable about the material covered.
- Give attendees the weekly reading assignment: Chapters 1 to 4 of the 30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control book. This should be completed by the start of next week’s meeting.
- Encourage each member of the group to start checking his or her blood pressure on a daily basis. Next week they will begin charting results in the book’s Appendix A under “Week 0.”
- Reemphasize that the program expects each attendee, especially those on prescription medications, to check in with their primary care provider (PCP). Let that health care professional know they would like to make lifestyle changes that will likely lower their blood pressures. Explain that it is especially important to learn what their PCP wants them to do when they start seeing lower blood pressure (BP) numbers. (The book’s authors generally start tapering medications when the blood pressure is running consistently under 120 systolic.) Remind participants that it is important to NOT stop any blood pressure medications without consulting with the prescribing professional.
- Week 2
- It is ideal (but not necessary) if you provide blood pressure checks prior to the start of the session; offer attendees the opportunity to keep track of their blood pressures for them.
- At the formal start of the session greet those in attendance
- Inquire who is keeping up with the reading assignments. Feel free to highlight any aspects of the reading you found interesting. Ask attendees to do the same
- Show the first 30-minute presentation found on the DVD “Changing Bad Habits for Good.”
- After viewing the presentation, discuss informally what you just viewed together. Especially focus on the positive aspects of developing new habits.
- Give attendees the weekly reading assignment: Chapter 5 of the 30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control book. This should be completed by the start of next week’s meeting. However, don’t dissuade anyone from returning if they haven’t read the assignment. Next week’s DVD will recap much of what appears in the book’s first five chapters.
- Encourage participants to fill out the material at the end of chapter 5—tell them you will challenge them to begin putting those goals into practice when the formal 30-day plan kicks off at next weeks’ meeting.
- Let participants know they will be given an opportunity to share their behavioral goals at the conclusions of next week’s meeting.
- Remind them to continue checking their blood pressures at home on a daily basis. They should now begin recording those measurements in their book’s Appendix A, under “Week 0.”
- Week 3
- NOTE: This is the day the six-week program and the 30-day journey actually begin.
- Provide blood pressure checks prior to the start of the session, offer attendees the opportunity for you to keep track of their blood pressures for them.
- Greet those in attendance
- Inquire who is keeping up with the reading assignments—and discuss briefly if appropriate
- Show the first presentation of the “Reversing Hypertension Naturally” DVD series (about 60 minutes long). In this presentation Dr. DeRose reinforces the basic hypertension material that was covered in Chapters 1 to 4 of 30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control. This includes covering the NO PRESSURE mnemonic which outlines the key principles for natural blood pressure control.
- After viewing the presentations, discuss informally what you just viewed together. Those who did not yet set their nutritional goals during the previous week should do so before the conclusion of this meeting.
- Provide time for participants to share their nutritional target behaviors.
- Weeks 4 and 5
- Continue the same session format for these meetings that you used for Week 3.
- During these two weekly sessions you will show Parts 2 and 3 of “Reversing Hypertension Naturally” and read the assigned chapters in the book. Each night should include an opportunity for participants to share their goals and their progress.
- Note: as you are sharing goals in a group setting, we really encourage the group leader to remind individuals of the privilege of supporting one another when it comes to their behavioral objectives. For example, if several people set a goal to walk each morning, two or more who live in close proximity could walk together.
- If a large number of people are gathering together in one venue we recommend you break up into smaller groups; many feel 8 or 10 is an ideal size.
- Week 6
- Although you will continue the same session format used during the last three weeks, tonight you will watch a DVD presentation from Dr. DeRose that does not directly follow along with the book.
- “Listening to the Buffalo” Part 1 has a number of important talking points that interface with the themes covered in the chapter assignments for this week (Chapters 12 and 13 of 30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control). We recommend you specifically address the following:
- What would have happened if John Allen had not begun running the moment he heard the sound of stampeding buffaloes?
- What message does this give us while we are approaching the end of our 30-day journey?
- What do Native Americans teach us about natural therapies for disease?
- What encouraging message is there for us if we have genetic tendencies to illness?
- Week 7
- By week seven, if the group is on schedule, everyone will have read through all the ten NO PRESSURE components in the book.
- The 30-day journey will have finished two days after the conclusion of the previous session.
- Furthermore, by this time, each attendee will have been putting into practice behavioral goals relating to those components for up to four weeks.
- You will continue the same program elements that you have been using heretofore.
- During this week’s session you will show part 2 of Dr. DeRose’s “Changing Bad Habits for Good” DVD. This will help to reinforce the lifestyle change components of the program.
- This is the time to invite people to a graduation program; we recommend some type of celebration. This could be rolled into this meeting or could be done at a separate meeting. If you are conducting the series in a place of worship, we recommend having the graduation the following weekend in connection with services at your place of worship. This serves multiple purposes including helping you own faith community members get more serious about the program themselves. Many may not have attended the 30-day journey; hearing testimonies of other community members will motivate them to participate in a future session. (Week 8 that follows includes details about such an event.)
- We recommend you consider some type of on-going support group; if you are offering a weekly spiritual support group like Healing Insights from the Gospel of Mark, this is great. If you prefer to follow up with another quality program that reinforces the principles in this series, that is another great option. Programs mentioned in 30 Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control include CHIP, Depression Recovery and Creation Health.
- If you plan another weekly program like Depression Recovery or Creation Health, consider giving the participants at least a week off. However, waiting much longer than this may actually decrease enrollment.
- We also recommend you consider a monthly “alumni” meeting. Do this even if you are planning another weekly program. The reason for this is that not everyone will enroll in subsequent programs. You want to maintain supportive relationships with these individuals.
- Week 8
- During this final meeting we recommend you have some type of graduation celebration. As already mentioned, faith communities may want to have the program immediately following a weekly worship service or mid-week program. We recommend an event centered on a blood-pressure-healthy meal. If it fits with your congregation’s style of worship you can show “Spiritual Health, Neglected Dimensions” for your worship service and invite program participants to attend that presentation prior to the graduation meal/celebration.
- Note: “Spiritual Health, Neglected Dimensions” is given jointly by Drs. DeRose and Steinke, two of the authors of “Thirty Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control.” You can show the full 60-minute presentation, or show the first half (approximately 30-minutes) which concludes at a natural break in the presentation. This one-hour presentation complements Chapter 14 in “Thirty Days to Natural Blood Pressure Control.” It actually provides an option for readers who want to spend the recommended minimum 60 minutes with that chapter without having to speed read or scan the chapter.
- At the conclusion of the presentation, let participants know that you realize many of them already are members of faith communities or have a strong spiritual support system apart from any organized group. Feel free to express your appreciation for those commitments. However, acknowledge that some of the participants may be looking for a venue where they can give and receive spiritual support. If participants desire more on the topic of spirituality and health, consider Dr. DeRose’s series, Healing Insights from the Gospel of Mark. This series nicely complements the emphasis of Drs. DeRose and Steinke on social support and spiritual health.