Slow Breathing and Stress

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Slow Breathing and Stress

Pramanic, T., Sharma, H.O., Mishra, S., Mishra, A., Prajapati, R., & Singh, S. (2009). Immediate effect of slow pace Bhastrika Pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15, 293-295. Doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0440.

Aim. Examine the effect of bhastrika pranayama, a slow yoga breathing practice, on immediate heart rate.

Method. Thirty-nine healthy adults were asked to breathe slowly (as trained) for 5 minutes. Blood pressure was measured before and after. 10 other healthy adults were asked to do the same exercise, however they first took hyoscine-N-butylmromide (Buscopan; blocks parasympathetic nervous system).

Results. The breathing practice reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure (when subjects didn’t take Buscopan).

Conclusion. Conscious slow breathing practices may stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing blood pressure. Slow breathing may have implications for immediate stress reduction and relaxation.