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Billy's Barbershop Offers Haircuts, A Place Of Hope

Source: Boston Globe / Getty

That weekly trip to the barbershop can possibly do more than just boost your confidence for the weekend. A new study published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a health program that was organized through Black-owned barbershops helped lower the blood pressure of Black men.

A haircut will not only help you look fly but could possibly keep the doctor away. Sounds pretty genius doesn’t it?

In a study the nearly took almost two years, researchers chose 50 Black-owned barbershops to take part in a randomized experiment in Los Angeles. The barbers were all trained to take the blood pressure of customers who let them and kindly suggest those who suffer with hypertension to visit a doctor for a check-up, become more active and eat healthier. Twenty-eight out of those 50 selected barbershops were also asked to refer their customers to a pharmacist who is specially trained to prescribe or adjust blood pressure medicine over a 6-month period. They of course require confirmation from a physician to make sure they are administering safe drugs that are covered by the patient’s insurance.

What makes this program even more unique is the fact the pharmacist would visit their patients at the barbershops. To help spread the word, these shops/blood pressure checking centers are adorned with posters featuring past patients who partook in the study and enjoyed the experience. Oh, and the program’s name is very clever as well it’s known as the “Cut Your Pressure Too: The LA Barbershop Blood Pressure Study.”.

A total of 319 Black men between the ages of 35-79  with hypertension took part in the study from 2015-2017. The acerage systolic blood pressure was measured at was 152 milliliters of mercury. Within six months time both groups saw drops in blood pressure measurements. The control group (171 volunteers) saw  9.3 mm HG drop in their blood pressure levels. The pharmacist-led group (132 volunteers) saw the most significant drop with a 27.00 mm HG  decrease. Two-thirds of the pharmicist-led group also saw their blood pressure drop below  130/80 mm HG, keep in mind the healthy reading being 120/70 mm hg. That is very impressive indeed.

The barber shop has always been considered therapy for Black men, a place where they can talk about things with one of their most trusted individuals in their life, their barber. This latest study shows the shop can also be more, so ladies when he tells you he is in the shop it’s actually good for his health.

You can read more on the study here. We hope this idea seriously catches on across the country—all over the world as a matter of fact.


Photo: Boston Globe / Getty