Physiology of long pranayamic breathing: Neural respiratory elements may provide a mechanism that explains how slow deep breathing shifts the autonomic nervous system

Medical Hypotheses 67 (3):566-571 (2006)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Pranayamic breathing, defined as a manipulation of breath movement, has been shown to contribute to a physiologic response characterized by the presence of decreased oxygen consumption, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure, as well as increased theta wave amplitude in EEG recordings, increased parasympathetic activity accompanied by the experience of alertness and reinvigoration. The mechanism of how pranayamic breathing interacts with the nervous system affecting metabolism and autonomic functions remains to be clearly understood. It is our hypothesis that voluntary slow deep breathing functionally resets the autonomic nervous system through stretchinduced inhibitory signals and hyperpolarization currents propagated through both neural and non-neural tissue which synchronizes neural elements in the heart, lungs, limbic system and cortex. During inspiration, stretching of lung tissue produces inhibitory signals by action of slowly adapting stretch receptors (SARs) and hyperpolarization current by action of fibroblasts. Both inhibitory impulses and hyperpolarization current are known to synchronize neural elements leading to the modulation of the nervous system and decreased metabolic activity indicative of the parasympathetic state. In this paper we propose pranayama’s physiologic mechanism through a cellular and systems level perspective,involving both neural and non-neural elements. This theoretical description describes a common physiological mechanism underlying pranayama and elucidate the role of the respiratory and cardiovascular system on modulating the autonomic nervous system. Along with facilitating the design of clinical breathing techniques for the treatment of autonomic nervous system and other disorders, this model will also validate pranayama as a topic requiring more research.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
RAVPOL
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-01-04
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Potential Self-Regulatory Mechanisms of Yoga for Psychological Health.Gard, Tim; Noggle, Jessica J.; Park, Crystal L.; Vago, David R. & Wilson, Angela
Dynamic Change of Awareness During Meditation Techniques: Neural and Physiological Correlates.Ravinder, Jerath; Barnes, Vernon A.; Dillard-Wright, David; Jerath, Shivani & Hamilton, Brittany
How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing.Zaccaro, Andrea; Piarulli, Andrea; Laurino, Marco; Garbella, Erika; Menicucci, Danilo; Neri, Bruno & Gemignani, Angelo

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2017-01-04

Total views
3,020 ( #399 of 42,948 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
660 ( #392 of 42,948 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.