Thorax. 2003 Aug;58(8):674-9.

Effect of two breathing exercises (Buteyko and pranayama) in asthma: a randomised controlled trial.

Cooper S, Oborne J, Newton S, Harrison V, Thompson Coon J, Lewis S, Tattersfield A.
Division of Respiratory Medicine, City Hospital, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK.

BACKGROUND: Patients with asthma are interested in the use of breathing exercises but their role is uncertain. The effects of the Buteyko breathing technique, a device which mimics pranayama (a yoga breathing technique), and a dummy pranayama device on bronchial responsiveness and symptoms were compared over 6 months in a parallel group study. METHODS: Ninety patients with asthma taking an inhaled corticosteroid were randomised after a 2 week run in period to Eucapnic Buteyko breathing, use of a Pink City Lung Exerciser (PCLE) to mimic pranayama, or a PCLE placebo device. Subjects practised the techniques at home

twice daily for 6 months followed by an optional steroid reduction phase. Primary outcome measures were symptom scores and change in the dose of methacholine provoking a 20% fall in FEV(1) (PD(20)) during the first 6 months. RESULTS: Sixty nine patients (78%) completed the study. There was no significant difference in PD(20) between the three groups at 3 or 6 months. Symptoms remained relatively stable in the PCLE and placebo groups but were reduced in the Buteyko group. Median change in symptom scores at 6 months was 0 (interquartile range -1 to 1) in the placebo group, -1 (-2 to 0.75) in the PCLE group, and -3 (-4 to 0) in the Buteyko group (p=0.003 for difference between groups). Bronchodilator use was reduced in the Buteyko group by two puffs/day at 6 months; there was no change in the other two groups (p=0.005). No difference was seen between the groups in FEV(1), exacerbations, or ability to reduce inhaled corticosteroids. CONCLUSION: The Buteyko breathing technique can improve symptoms and reduce bronchodilator use but does not appear to change bronchial responsiveness or lung function in patients with asthma. No benefit was shown for the Pink City Lung Exerciser.
Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Feb;96(1):79-80.

Effect of yoga-based and forced uninostril breathing on the autonomic nervous system.

Raghuraj P, Telles S.

Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Chamarajpet, Bangalore, India.

Some reports have described the effects of forced uninostril breathing on autonomic activity as sex-specific, while other reports described selective effects of breathing through a specific nostril on the two divisions of the utonomic nervous system, irrespective of sex. There are also yoga breathing techniques which involve voluntary uninostril breathing. These techniques also influenced the autonomic activity based on the patent nostril rather than sex. These descriptions were in line with experiential observations of the ancient sages described in classical yoga texts. This paper summarizes these perspectives on uninostril breathing.

Indian J Med Res 2001 Dec;114:215-21

Aerobic capacity & perceived exertion after practice of Hatha yogic exercises.

Ray US, Sinha B, Tomer OS, Pathak A, Dasgupta T, Selvamurthy W.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences, Lucknow Road, Timarpur, Delhi 110054, India.

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Reports on the effect of yogic exercises on aerobic capacity are few. There is also no literature available on the effect of yogic exercise on perceived exertion (PE) after maximal exercise. In this study the effect of training in Hatha yogic exercises on aerobic capacity and PE after maximal exercise was observed. METHODS: Forty men from the Indian army (aged 19-23 yr) were administered maximal exercise on a bicycle ergometer in a graded work load protocol. The oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide output, pulmonary ventilation, respiratory rate, heart rate (HR) etc., at maximal exercise and PE score immediately thereafter were recorded. The subjects were divided into two equal groups. Twelve subjects dropped out during the course of study. One group (yoga, n = 17) practiced Hatha yogic exercises for 1 h every morning (6 days in a week) for six months. The other group (PT, n = 11) underwent conventional physical exercise training during the same period. Both groups participated daily in different games for 1 h in the afternoon. In the 7th month, tests for maximal oxygen consumption (VO2Max) and PE were repeated on both groups of subjects. RESULTS: Absolute value of VO2Max increased significantly (P < 0.05) in the yoga group after 6 months of training. The PE score after maximal exercise decreased significantly (P < 0.001) in the yoga group after 6 months but the PT group showed no change. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: The practice of Hatha yogic exercises along with games helps to improve aerobic capacity like the practice of conventional exercises (PT) along with games. The yoga group performed better than the PT group in terms of lower PE after exhaustive exercise.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2001 Oct;45(4):493-6

Effect of yogic practice on pulmonary functions in young females.

Yadav RK, Das S.

Department of Physiology, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi-110 001.

During recent years, a lot of research work has been done to show the beneficial effects of yoga training. The present study was undertaken to assess the effects of yogic practice on some pulmonary functions. Sixty healthy young female subjects (age group 17-28 yrs.) were selected. They had to do the yogic practices daily for about one hour. The observations were recorded by MEDSPIROR, in the form of FVC, FEV-1 and PEFR on day-1, after 6 weeks and 12 weeks of their yogic practice. There was significant increase in FVC, FEV-1 and PEFR at the end of 12 weeks.

Behav Modif 2001 Sep;25(4):640-66

Relaxation therapy in adult asthma. Is there new evidence for its effectiveness?

Ritz T.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Veteran’s Administration Palo Alto Health Care System, USA.

Studies of relaxation training for adult asthma patients were reviewed for the period between 1980 and 2000. Six controlled and three uncontrolled studies were identified, employing a variety of methods, such as progressive relaxation, functional relaxation, autogenic training, or yoga. Most studies had low sample sizes and suffered from one or more methodological deficiencies, such as suboptimal data analysis, high dropout rates, problematic measurement procedures, or insufficient descriptions of methodology and results. Overall effects on parameters of lung function, symptoms, medication consumption, and health care use were generally negligible. Problems with the underlying rationale of relaxation therapy in asthma are discussed from a psychophysiological viewpoint. Examples are given of potential beneficial and detrimental effects of these techniques on lung function with respect to emotional processes, the musculoskeletal system, and ventilation as targets of a relaxation intervention. It remains to be demonstrated that relaxation training can significantly contribute to the standard treatment of asthma in adult patients.
J Hypertens 2001 May;19(5):947-58

Breathing patterns and cardiovascular autonomic modulation during hypoxia induced by simulated altitude.

Bernardi L, Passino C, Wilmerding V, Dallam GM, Parker DL, Robergs RA, Appenzeller O.

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pavia and IRCCS S. Matteo, Italy.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the influence of different breathing patterns on autonomic cardiovascular modulation during acute exposure to altitude-induced hypoxia. DESIGN: We measured relative changes in minute ventilation (VE), oxygen saturation (%SaO2), spectral analysis of RR interval and blood pressure, and response to stimulation of carotid baroreceptors (neck suction) at baseline and after acute (1 h) hypobaric hypoxia (equivalent to 5,000 m, in a hypobaric chamber). METHODS: We studied 19 human subjects: nine controls and 10 Western yoga trainees of similar age, while breathing spontaneously, at 15 breaths/min (controlled breathing) and during ‚complete yogic breathing‘ (slow diaphragmatic + thoracic breathing, approximately 5 breaths/min) in yoga trainees, or simple slow breathing in controls. RESULTS: At baseline %SaO2, VE and autonomic pattern were similar in both groups; simulated altitude increased VE in controls but not in yoga trainees; %SaO2 decreased in all subjects (P< 0.0001), but more in controls than in yoga trainees (17 versus 12%, 14 versus 9%, 14 versus 8%, all P< 0.05 or better, during spontaneous breathing, controlled breathing and yogic or slow breathing, respectively). Simulated altitude decreased RR interval (from 879 +/- 45 to 770 +/- 39, P < 0.01) and increased indices deducted from spectral analysis of heart rate variability (low frequency/high frequency (LF/HF) ratio from 1.6 +/- 0.5 to 3.2 +/- 1.1, P < 0.05) and systolic blood pressure (low-frequency fluctuations from 2.30 +/- 0.31 to 3.07 +/- 0.24 In-mmHg2, P< 0.05) in controls, indicating sympathetic activation; these changes were blunted in yoga trainees, and in both groups during slow or yogic breathing. No effect of altitude was seen on stimulation of carotid baroreceptors in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Well-performed slow yogic breathing maintains better blood oxygenation without increasing VE (i.e. seems to be a more efficient breathing) and reduces sympathetic activation during altitude-induced hypoxia.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2001 Jan;45(1):80-6

Efficacy of naturopathy and yoga in bronchial asthma–a self controlled matched scientific study.

Sathyaprabha TN, Murthy H, Murthy BT.

Department of Physiology, St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore-560 034.

Asthma is one of the common psychosomatic illness influenced by many factors. Bronchodilators give temporary relief and have side effects. The present study is aimed at finding the efficacy of a non-pharmacological approach of naturopathy and Yoga in bronchial asthma. A total no of 37 patients (19 men, 18 women) with mean age 35.06 yrs (men), 40.74 yrs (women) admitted to INYS, Bangalore, for the period of 21 days. The treatment included 1. Diet therapy 2. Nature cure treatment and 3. Yoga therapy. The various parameters including lung function test were measured on admission and once a week. Results showed the significant improvement in PEFR, VC, FVC, FEV1, FEV/FEC %, MVV, ESR and absolute eosinophil count. The patients reported a feeling of well being, freshness and comfortable breathing. Naturopathy and yoga helps in inducing positive health, alleviating the symptoms of disease by acting at physical and mental levels.
Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 2000 Dec;25(4):221-7

Oxygen consumption and respiration following two yoga relaxation techniques.

Telles S, Reddy SK, Nagendra HR.

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, No. 9, 1st Main, Appajappa Agrahara, Chamarajpet, Bangalore 560 018, India.

The present study was conducted to evaluate a statement in ancient yoga texts that suggests that a combination of both „calming“ and „stimulating“ measures may be especially helpful in reaching a state of mental equilibrium. Two yoga practices, one combining „calming and stimulating“ measures (cyclic meditation) and the other, a „calming“ technique (shavasan), were compared. The oxygen consumption, breath rate, and breath volume of 40 male volunteers (group mean +/- SD, 27.0 +/- 5.7 years) were assessed before and after sessions of cyclic meditation (CM) and before and after sessions of shavasan (SH). The 2 sessions (CM, SH) were 1 day apart. Cyclic meditation includes the practice of yoga postures interspersed with periods of supine relaxation. During SH the subject lies in a supine position throughout the practice. There was a significant decrease in the amount of oxygen consumed and in breath rate and an increase in breath volume after both types of sessions (2-factor ANOVA, paired t test). However, the magnitude of change on all 3 measures was greater after CM: (1) Oxygen consumption decreased 32.1% after CM compared with 10.1% after SH; (2) breath rate decreased 18.0% after CM and 15.2% after SH; and (3) breath volume increased 28.8% after CM and 15.9% after SH. These results support the idea that a combination of yoga postures interspersed with relaxation reduces arousal more than relaxation alone does.


Altern Ther Health Med 2000 Nov;6(6):55-63

Hatha yoga: improved vital capacity of college students.

Birkel DA, Edgren L.

School of Physical Education, Ball State University, Muncie, USA.

CONTEXT: The vital capacity of the lungs is a critical component of good health. Vital capacity is an important concern for those with asthma, heart conditions, and lung ailments; those who smoke; and those who have no known lung problems. OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of yoga postures and breathing exercises on vital capacity. DESIGN: Using the Spiropet spirometer, researchers measured vital capacity. Vital capacity determinants were taken near the beginning and end of two 17-week semesters. No control group was used. SETTING: Midwestern university yoga classes taken for college credit. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 287 college students, 89 men and 198 women. INTERVENTION: Subjects were taught yoga poses, breathing techniques, and relaxation in two 50-minute class meetings for 15 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Vital capacity over time for smokers, asthmatics, and those with no known lung disease. RESULTS: The study showed a statistically significant (P < .001) improvement in vital capacity across all categories over time. CONCLUSIONS: It is not known whether these findings were the result of yoga poses, breathing techniques, relaxation, or other aspects of exercise in the subjects‘ life. The subjects‘ adherence to attending class was 99.96%. The large number of 287 subjects is considered to be a valid number for a study of this type. These findings are consistent with other research studies reporting the positive effect of yoga on the vital capacity of the lungs.

Lancet 2000 Oct 28;356(9240):1495-6

Yoga and chemoreflex response to hypoxia and hypercapnia.

Spicuzza L, Gabutti A, Porta C, Montano N, Bernardi L.

We tested whether chemoreflex sensitivity could be affected by the practice of yoga, and whether this is specifically because of a slow breathing rate obtained during yoga or as a general consequence of yoga. We found that slow breathing rate per se substantially reduced chemoreflex sensitivity, but long-term yoga practice was responsible for a generalised reduction in chemoreflex.


J Assoc Physicians India 2000 Mar;48(3):343-5

The role of cough and hyperventilation in perpetuating airway inflammation in asthma.

Singh V, Chowdhary R, Chowdhary N.

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur-302 016, India.

Air flowing through a pipe exerts frictional stress on the walls of the pipe. Frictional stress of more than 40 N/m2 (velocity equivalent of air 113 m/s) is known to cause acute endothelial damage in blood vessels. The frictional stress in airways during coughing may be much greater, however, since the velocity of air may be as high as speed of sound in air. We suggest that high levels of frictional stress perpetuate airway inflammation in airways which are already inflamed and vulnerable to frictional stress-induced trauma in patients with asthma. Activities associated with rapid ventilation and higher frictional stress (e.g. exercise, hyperventilation, coughing, sneezing and laughing) cause asthma to worsen whilst activities that reduce frictional stress (Yoga ‚Pranayama‘, breathing a helium-oxygen mixture and nasal continuous positive airway pressure) are beneficial. Therefore control of cough may have anti-inflammatory benefits in patients with asthma.


J Assoc Physicians India 1998 Feb;46(2):207-8

Yoga therapy in chronic bronchitis.
Behera D.

Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, 160 012.

Fifteen patients of chronic bronchitis received yoga therapy in the form of pranayam and 8 types of ‚asans‘ for a period of 4 weeks. They had a perceptible improvement in dyspnoea as was measured by visual analog. Lung function parameters (VC, FEV1, and PEFR) also improved after the practice of yoga. This preliminary study indicates that, yoga may be an useful adjunct to other conventional form of therapy for COPD.


Allergy Asthma Proc 1998 Jan-Feb;19(1):3-9

Clinical study of yoga techniques in university students with asthma: a controlled study.

Vedanthan PK, Kesavalu LN, Murthy KC, Duvall K, Hall MJ, Baker S, Nagarathna S.

Northern Colorado Allergy Asthma Clinic, Fort Collins 80524, USA.

Adult asthmatics, ranging from 19 to 52 years from an asthma and allergy clinic in a university setting volunteered to participate in the study. The 17 students were randomly divided into yoga (9 subjects) and nonyoga control (8 subjects) groups. The yoga group was taught a set of breathing and relaxation techniques including breath slowing exercises (pranayama), physical postures (yogasanas), and meditation. Yoga techniques were taught at the university health center, three times a week for 16 weeks. All the subjects in both groups maintained daily symptom and medication diaries, collected A.M. and P.M. peak flow readings, and completed weekly questionnaires. Spirometry was performed on each subject every week. Analysis of the data showed that the subjects in the yoga group reported a significant degree of relaxation, positive attitude, and better yoga exercise tolerance. There was also a tendency toward lesser usage of beta adrenergic inhalers. The pulmonary functions did not vary significantly between yoga and control groups. Yoga techniques seem beneficial as an adjunct to the medical management of asthma.


Laryngorhinootologie 1997 Oct;76(10):577-82

Changes in body equilibrium response caused by breathing. A posturographic study with visual feedback

Article in German

Aust G, Fischer K.

Beratungsstelle fur Horbehinderte Berlin Neukolln.

BACKGROUND: Therapeutical methods involving holistic medicine are of increasing interest. The present study deals with the psychophysical breath work by Middendorf and examines whether it has an effect on reactions of the body’s equilibrium system. METHODS: Different optical patterns were projected on a video screen to the test subject standing on a modified posturographic platform. Subjects were instructed to shift their center of gravity according to the patterns projected on the video screen. The patterns consisted of a line that had to be followed in the anterior-posterior and in the lateral plane, and of a circle which had to be followed clockwise and counterclockwise. PATIENTS: Three groups each consisting of 17 healthy persons were tested; group 1: advanced in breath training, group 2: beginners in breath training, group 3: no experience in breath work at all. RESULTS: Group 1 und 2 show significantly better results in the posturographic test with visual feedback than subjects without experience in breast work (group 3). Furthermore, posturographic results immediately after one hour of breath work reveal clear improvements in the body equilibrium. CONCLUSIONS: Psychophysical breath work by Middendorf leads to a general improvement of the body equilibrium which is stable over time. The positive results of this study lead to the assumption that breath work by Middendorf is a valuable method for treatment and rehabilitation of balance disorders.
Psychol Rep 1997 Oct;81(2):555-61

Yoga breathing through a particular nostril increases spatial memory scores without lateralized effects.

Naveen KV, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR, Telles S.

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.

Uninostril breathing facilitates the performance on spatial and verbal cognitive tasks, said to be right and left brain functions, respectively. Since hemispheric memory functions are also known to be lateralized, the present study assessed the effects of uninostril breathing on the performance in verbal and spatial memory tests. School children (N = 108 whose ages ranged from 10 to 17 years) were randomly assigned to four groups. Each group practiced a specific yoga breathing technique: (i) right nostril breathing, (ii) left nostril breathing, (iii) alternate nostril breathing, or (iv) breath awareness without manipulation of nostrils. These techniques were practiced for 10 days. Verbal and spatial memory was assessed initially and after 10 days. An age-matched control group of 27 were similarly assessed. All 4 trained groups showed a significant increase in spatial test scores at retest, but the control group showed no change. Average increase in spatial memory scores for the trained groups was 84%. It appears yoga breathing increases spatial rather than verbal scores, without a lateralized effect.

J Altern Complement Med 1997 Fall;3(3):291-5

Influence of intensive yoga training on physiological changes in 6 adult women: a case report.

Raju PS, Prasad KV, Venkata RY, Murthy KJ, Reddy MV.

Department of Work-Physiology, Govt. Vemana Yoga Research Institute, Ameerpet, Hyderabad, India.

The short-term effects of 4 weeks of intensive yoga practice on physiological responses in six healthy adult female volunteers were measured using the maximal exercise treadmill test. Yoga practice involved daily morning and evening sessions of 90 minutes each. Pre- and post-yoga exercise performance was compared. Maximal work output (Wmax) for the group increased by 21%, with a significantly reduced level of oxygen consumption per unit work but without a concomitant significant change in heart rate. After intensive yoga training, at 154 Wmin(-1) (corresponding to Wmax of the pre-yoga maximal exercise test) participants could exercise more comfortably, with a significantly lower heart rate (p < 0.05), reduced minute ventilation (p < 0.05), reduced oxygen consumption per unit work (p < 0.05), and a significantly lower respiratory quotient (p < 0.05). The implications for the effect of intensive yoga on cardiorespiratory efficiency are discussed, with the suggestion that yoga has some transparently different quantifiable physiological effects to other exercises.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1996 Oct;40(4):318-24

Study of pulmonary and autonomic functions of asthma patients after yoga training.

Khanam AA, Sachdeva U, Guleria R, Deepak KK.

Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi.

„The concept of yoga is helpful for the treatment of Bronchial Asthma“, has created a great interest in the medical research field. In order to investigate whether autonomic functions and pulmonary functions are improved in asthma patients after short term yoga training, a study was conducted with nine diagnosed bronchial asthma patients. Yoga training was given for seven days in a camp in Adhyatma Sadhna Kendra, New Delhi. The autonomic function tests to measure the parasympathetic reactivity (Deep Breathing test, Valsalva Manouever), Sympathetic reactivity (Hand Grip test, Cold Pressure test), and pulmonary function tests FVC, FEV1, PEFR, PIF, BHT and CE were recorded before and after yoga training. The resting heart rate after yoga training (P < 0.05) was significantly decreased (89.55 +/- 18.46/min to 76.22 +/- 16.44/min). The sympathetic reactivity was reduced following yoga training as indicated by significant (P < 0.01) reduction in DBP after HGT. There was no change in parasympathetic reactivity. The FVC, FEV1, PEFR did not show any significant change. The PIF (P < 0.01), BHT (P < 0.01) and CE (P < 0.01) showed significant improvement. The results closely indicated the reduction in sympathetic reactivity and improvement in the pulmonary ventilation by way of relaxation of voluntary inspiratory and expiratory muscles. The „comprehensive yogic life style change programme for patients of Bronchial Asthma“ have shown significant benefit even within a short period.


J Altern Complement Med 1996 Winter;2(4):479-84

Physiological measures of right nostril breathing.

Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR.

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore, India.

This study was conducted to assess the physiological effects of a yoga breathing practice that involves breathing exclusively through the right nostril. This practice is called surya anuloma viloma pranayama (SAV). Twelve volunteers (average age 27.2 years +/- 3.3 years, four males) were assessed before and after test sessions conducted on two consecutive days. On one day the test session involved practicing SAV pranayama for 45 minutes (SAV session). During the test period of the other day, subjects were asked to breathe normally for 45 minutes (NB session). For half the patients (randomly chosen) the SAV session was on the first day and the NB session on the next day. For the remaining six patients, the order of the two sessions was reversed. After the SAV session (but not after the NB) there was a significant (P < .05, paired t test) increase in oxygen consumption (17%) and in systolic blood pressure (mean increase 9.4 mm Hg) and a significant decrease in digit pulse volume (45.7%). The latter two changes are interpreted to be the result of increased cutaneous vasoconstriction. After both SAV and NB sessions, there was a significant decrease in skin resistance (two factor ANOVA, Tukey test). These findings show that SAV has a sympathetic stimulating effect. This technique and other variations of unilateral forced nostril breathing deserve further study regarding therapeutic merits in a wide range of disorders.


Rev Mal Respir 1995;12(3):241-56

Respiratory re-training in asthma. Theoretical basis and results

Article in French

Vandevenne A.

Service de Pneumologie, Hopitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Hopital de Hautepierre, Strasbourg.

The treatment of asthma is medical. The prescription of respiratory physiotherapy should not be routine. It only appears to be indicated in asthmatics with continuous dyspnoea or hypersecretion who are unstable, despite medical treatment which is both correctly prescribed and properly taken. Bronchial drainage, on condition that certain technical precautions are taken, is only useful in asthma with hypersecretion. Asthmatic crises are not relieved by physiotherapy. Standard respiratory exercises could have a certain value on hyperinflation in the chronic asthma of childhood. They are generally without effect on airways resistance or expiratory flow. Likewise, there are reflex massages for relaxation, posture, and respiratory exercises which are borrowed from yoga. Techniques for correction of posture, used preventively, are only of value in chronic asthma of childhood. Respiratory muscle training, in spite of a few successes, is not justified on a theoretical basis, at least in those subjects who have not been subjected to long-term steroid therapy. Overall, exercise training is useful from both the physiological and the psychological point of view. The anaerobic threshold would seem to be the ideal level of intensity for exercise on the basis of 30 minutes, three times a week for subjects who are moderately or severely affected. The rest on condition of certain precautions, can participate in the sport of their choice (or more or less) without any training in the medical milieu beforehand. However, in a minority of these patients the physiotherapists, by their individualised approach and their techniques, sometimes represent a useful transition towards participating in sports. There is no cost benefit study available.


Int J Psychophysiol 1994 Oct;18(1):75-9

EEG changes during forced alternate nostril breathing.

Stancak A Jr, Kuna M.

Department of Physiology and Clinical Physiology, Charles IV University, Prague, Czech Republic.
The effects of 10 min forced alternate nostril breathing (FANB) on EEG topography were studied in 18 trained subjects. One type of FANB consisted in left nostril inspiration and right nostril expiration and the other type in right nostril inspiration and left nostril expiration. Mean power in the beta bands and partially in the alpha band increased during FANB irrespective of the type of nostril breathing. In addition, hemisphere asymmetry in the beta 1 band decreased in the second half of FANB suggesting that FANB has a balancing effect on the functional activity of the left and right hemisphere.


Indian J Med Res 1994 Aug;100:81-6

Comparison of effects of yoga & physical exercise in athletes.

Raju PS, Madhavi S, Prasad KV, Reddy MV, Reddy ME, Sahay BK, Murthy KJ.

Govt. Vemana Yoga Research Institute, Secunderabad.

The effect of pranayama a controlled breathing practice, on exercise tests was studied in athletes in two phases; sub-maximal and maximal exercise tests. At the end of phase I (one year) both the groups (control and experimental) achieved significantly higher work rate and reduction in oxygen consumption per unit work. There was a significant reduction in blood lactate and an increase in P/L ratio in the experimental group, at rest. At the end of phase II (two years), the oxygen consumption per unit work was found to be significantly reduced and the work rate significantly increased in the experimental group. Blood lactate decreased significantly at rest in the experimental group only. Pyruvate and pyruvate-lactate ratio increased significantly in both the groups after exercise and at rest in the experimental group. The results in both phases showed that the subjects who practised pranayama could achieve higher work rates with reduced oxygen consumption per unit work and without increase in blood lactate levels. The blood lactate levels were significantly low at rest.


Pneumologie 1994 Jul;48(7):484-90

Long-term effects of breathing exercises and yoga in patients with bronchial asthma

Article in German

Fluge T, Richter J, Fabel H, Zysno E, Weller E, Wagner TO.

Abteilung Pneumologie, Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover.

To compare the effects of breathing exercises (BE) or Yoga (Y) on the course of bronchial asthma we studied 36 subjects with a mild disease. The patients were randomly divided into 3 groups. 2 of them participated in a 3 weeks training program of BE or Y while the third group rested without any additional treatment (control group, C). At the end of the training period the patients were asked to practise BE or Y on their own. Drug therapy and lung function parameters before and after a beta 2-agonist metered dose inhaler (albuterol, ALB) were recorded prior to the training program and in 4 weeks intervals for 4 months thereafter. The response to the beta 2-agonist was documented continuously in 28 patients. The mental state of the patients was elucidated by questionnaires.–Prior to the study a significant effect of inhaled ALB on the FEV1 was shown without any significant between group differences. Both, BE and Y, caused a significant amelioration of the mental state but only the BE induced a significant improvement of lung function parameters compared to the individual baseline values. The FEV1 increased significantly by 356.3 +/- 146.2 ml (p < 0.05) and the VC by 225.0 +/- 65.5 ml (p < 0.01). These long-term changes were not significantly different from the actual response to ALB. BE decreased the RV significantly by 306.3 +/- 111.6 ml (p < 0.05), an effect significantly higher compared to the beta 2-agonist (p < 0.01). BE in combination with ALB caused an additive effect.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1994 Apr;38(2):133-7

Breathing through a particular nostril can alter metabolism and autonomic activities.

Telles S, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR.

Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, Chamarajpet, Bangalore.

There is increasing interest in the fact that breathing exclusively through one nostril may alter the autonomic functions. The present study aimed at checking whether such changes actually do occur, and whether breathing is consciously regulated. 48 male subjects, with ages ranging from 25 to 48 years were randomly assigned to different groups. Each group was asked to practice one out of three pranayamas (viz. right nostril breathing, left nostril breathing or alternate nostril breathing). These practices were carried out as 27 respiratory cycles, repeated 4 times a day for one month. Parameters were assessed at the beginning and end of the month, but not during the practice. The ‚right nostril pranayama‘ group showed a significant increase, of 37% in baseline oxygen consumption. The ‚alternate nostril‘ pranayama group showed an 18% increase, and the left nostril pranayama group also showed an increase, of 24%. This increase in metabolism could be due to increased sympathetic discharge to the adrenal medulla. The ‚left nostril Pranayama‘ group showed an increase in volar galvanic skin resistance, interpreted as a reduction in sympathetic nervous system activity supplying the sweat glands. These results suggest that breathing selectively through either nostril could have a marked activating effect or a relaxing effect on the sympathetic nervous system. The therapeutic implications of being able to alter metabolism by changing the breathing pattern have been mentioned.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1994 Jan;38(1):29-33

Energy expenditure and ventilatory responses during Siddhasana–a yogic seated posture.

Rai L, Ram K, Kant U, Madan SK, Sharma SK.

Central Research Institute for Yoga, New Delhi.

Reports of energy expenditure and ventilatory responses to yogic seated posture of Siddhasana are lacking in literature. Various cardio-ventilatory responses were studied in states of the horizontal supine, chair-sitting and Siddhasana. It was observed that sitting in Siddhasana posture was characterised by greater minute ventilation, larger tidal volume, higher oxygen consumption, greater CO2 elimination, higher heart frequency greater oxygen pulse and lesser as compared with other two postures. These observations suggest that Siddhasana is a mild type of exercise and may have its application in conditions of low cardio-respiratory reserves especially in individuals in whom heavy exercises are contra-indicated.


Int J Neurosci 1993 Nov;73(1-2):47-60

The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing on the heart.

Shannahoff-Khalsa DS, Kennedy B.

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego 92103-8341.

Three experiments are described that employ impedance cardiography to monitor the effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing (UFNB) on the heart. Experiment 1 includes 7 subjects (4 males, 3 females) with a respiratory rate of 6 breaths/min (BPM). Experiment 2 includes 16 trials using one subject to examine the intraindividual variability, at 6 BPM. Experiment 3 includes 10 trials with the same subject in experiment 2, but with a respiratory rate of 2-3 breaths/s. This rapid rate of respiration is a yogic breathing technique called „breath of fire“ or „kapalabhatti“ and employs a very shallow but rapid breath in which the abdominal region acts like a bellows. All 3 experiments demonstrated that right UFNB increases heart rate (HR) compared to left. Experiment 1 gave 7 negative slopes, or lowering in HR with left nostril breathing and 7 positive slopes, or increases in HR with right nostril breathing, p = .001. The second and third experiments showed differences in HR means in which right UFNB increases HR more than left, p = .013, p = .001, respectively. In experiment 2 stroke volume was higher with left UFNB, p = .045, compensating for lower HR. Left UFNB increased end diastolic volume as measured in both experiments 1 and 2, p = .006, p = .001, respectively. These results demonstrate a unique unilateral effect on sympathetic stimulation of the heart that may have therapeutic value.


Int J Neurosci 1993 Nov;73(1-2):61-8

The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing on cognitive performance.

Jella SA, Shannahoff-Khalsa DS.

Department of Psychiatry University of California, Davis 95817.

This study describes the effects of 30 minutes of unilateral forced nostril breathing on cognitive performance in 51 right-handed undergraduate psychology students (25 males and 26 females). A verbal analogies task modeled after the Miller Analogies and SAT Tests was used as a test of left-hemispheric performance and mental rotation tasks based on the Vandenburg and Kuse adaptation of Shepard and Metzler’s tests were used as spatial tasks for testing right-hemispheric performance. Spatial task performance was significantly enhanced during left nostril breathing in both males and females, p = .028. Verbal task performance was greater during right nostril breathing, but not significantly p = .14. These results are discussed in comparison to other cognitive and physiological studies using unilateral forced nostril breathing. This yogic breathing technique may have useful application in treating psychophysiological disorders with hemispheric imbalances and disorders with autonomic abnormalities.


Singapore Med J 1993 Aug;34(4):306-8

Evaluation of yoga therapy programme for patients of bronchial asthma.
Jain SC, Talukdar B.

Central Research Institute for Yoga, (Under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India), New Delhi.
A study of the effect of yoga therapy programme on 46 indoor patients of chronic bronchial asthma on exercise capacity, pulmonary functions and blood gases was conducted. Exercise capacity was measured by 3 tests: (i) 12 min walk test (12-md); (ii) physical fitness index (PFI) by modified Harvard step test; and (iii) Exercise-Liability index (ELI). Yoga therapy programme resulted in a significant increase in the pulmonary functions and exercise tolerance. A one-year follow-up study showed a good to fair response with reduced symptoms score and drug requirements in these subjects. It is concluded that yoga therapy is beneficial for bronchial asthma.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1992 Oct;36(4):229-33

Effect of yoga training on reaction time, respiratory endurance and muscle strength.

Madanmohan, Thombre DP, Balakumar B, Nambinarayanan TK, Thakur S, Krishnamurthy N, Chandrabose A.

Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry.

There is evidence that the practice of yoga improves physical and mental performance. The present investigation was undertaken to study the effect of yoga training on visual and auditory reaction times (RTs), maximum expiratory pressure (MEP), maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP), 40 mmHg test, breath holding time after expiration (BHTexp), breath holding time after inspiration (BHTinsp), and hand grip strength (HGS). Twenty seven student volunteers were given yoga training for 12 weeks. There was a significant (P < 0.001) decrease in visual RT (from 270.0 +/- 6.20 (SE) to 224.81 +/- 5.76 ms) as well as auditory RT (from 194.18 +/- 6.00 to 157.33 +/- 4.85 ms). MEP increased from 92.61 +/- 9.04 to 126.46 +/- 10.75 mmHg, while MIP increased from 72.23 +/- 6.45 to 90.92 +/- 6.03 mmHg, both these changes being statistically significant (P < 0.05). 40 mmHg test and HGS increased significantly (P < 0.001) from 36.57 +/- 2.04 to 53.36 +/- 3.95 s and 13.78 +/- 0.58 to 16.67 +/- 0.49 kg respectively. BHTexp increased from 32.15 +/- 1.41 to 44.53 +/- 3.78s (P < 0.01) and BHTinsp increased from 63.69 +/- 5.38 to 89.07 +/- 9.61 s (P < 0.05). Our results show that yoga practice for 12 weeks results in significant reduction in visual and auditory RTs and significant increase in respiratory pressures, breath holding times and HGS.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1992 Apr;36(2):105-8

Effect of short term ‚Pranayam‘ practice on breathing rate and ventilatory functions of lung.

Joshi LN, Joshi VD, Gokhale LV.

Department of Physiology, L.T.M. Medical College, Bombay.

Thirty three normal male and forty two normal female subjects, of average age of 18.5 years, underwent six weeks course in ‚Pranayam‘ and their ventilatory lung functions were studied before and after this practice. They had improved ventilatory functions in the form of lowered respiratory rate (RR), and increases in the forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume at the end of 1st second (FEV1%), maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR-lit/sec), and prolongation of breath holding time.


Homeost Health Dis 1991 Oct;33(3):126-34

Kapalabhati–yogic cleansing exercise. I. Cardiovascular and respiratory changes.

Stancak A Jr, Kuna M, Srinivasan, Vishnudevananda S, Dostalek C.

Institute of Physiological Regulations, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Praha.
We studied cardiovascular and respiratory changes during yogic breathing exercise kapalabhati (KB) in 17 advanced yoga practitioners. The exercise consisted in fast shallow abdominal respiratory movements at about 2 Hz frequency. Blood pressure, ECG and respiration were recorded continuously during three 5 min periods of KB and during pre- and post-KB resting periods. The beat-to-beat series of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), R-R intervals and respiration were analysed by spectral analysis of time series. The mean absolute power was calculated in three frequency bands–band of spontaneous respiration, band of 0.1 Hz rhythm and the low-frequency band greater than 15 s in all spectra. The mean modulus calculated between SBP and R-R intervals was used as a parameter of baroreceptor-cardiac reflex sensitivity (BRS). Heart rate increased by 9 beats per min during KB. SBP and DBP increased during KB by 15 and 6 mmHg respectively. All frequency bands of R-R interval variability were reduced in KB. Also the BRS parameter was reduced in KB. The amplitude of the high-frequency oscillations in SBP and DBP increased during KB. The low-frequency blood pressure oscillations were increased after KB. The results point to decreased cardiac vagal tone during KB which was due to changes in respiratory pattern and due to decreased sensitivity of arterial baroreflex. Decreased respiratory rate and increased SBP and low-frequency blood pressure oscillations after KB suggest a differentiated pattern of vegetative activation and inhibition associated with KB exercise


Indian J Med Res 1991 Oct;94:357-63

Oxygen consumption during pranayamic type of very slow-rate breathing.

Telles S, Desiraju T.

Department of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, Bangalore.

To determine whether the yogic Ujjayi pranayamic type of breathing that involves sensory awareness and consciously controlled, extremely slow-rate breathing including at least a period of end-inspiration breath holding in each respiratory cycle would alter oxygen consumption or not, ten males with long standing experience in pranayama, and volunteering to participate in the laboratory study were assessed. These subjects aged 28-59 yr, had normal health appropriate to their age. Since kumbhak (timed breath holding) is considered as an important phase of the respiratory cycle in the pranayama, they were categorised into two groups of five each, one group practising the short kumbhak varieties of pranayama, and the other the long kumbhak varieties of pranayama. The duration of kumbhak phase was on an average 22.2 percent of the respiratory cycle in the short kumbhak group, and 50.4 per cent in the long kumbhak group. The oxygen consumption was measured in test sessions using the closed circuit method of breathing oxygen through the Benedict-Roth spirometer. Each subject was tested in several repeat sessions. Values of oxygen consumption of the period of pranayamic breathing, and of post-pranayamic breathing period, were compared to control value of oxygen consumption of the prepranayamic breathing period of each test session. The results revealed that the short kumbhak pranayamic breathing caused a statistically significant increase (52%) in the oxygen consumption (and metabolic rate) compared to the pre-pranayamic base-line period of breathing. In contrast to the above, the long kumbhak pranayamic breathing caused a statistically significant lowering (19% of the oxygen consumption (and metabolic rate).
J Asthma 1991;28(6):437-42

Effect of yoga training on exercise tolerance in adolescents with childhood asthma.

Jain SC, Rai L, Valecha A, Jha UK, Bhatnagar SO, Ram K.

Laboratory Division, Central Research Institute for Yoga, New Delhi, India.
Forty six young asthmatics with a history of childhood asthma were admitted for yoga training. Effects of training on resting pulmonary functions, exercise capacity, and exercise-induced bronchial lability index were measured. Yoga training resulted in a significant increase in pulmonary function and exercise capacity. A follow-up study spanning two years showed a good response with reduced symptom score and drug requirements in these subjects. It is concluded that yoga training is beneficial for young asthmatics.


Physiol Res 1991;40(3):345-54

Observations on respiratory and cardiovascular rhythmicities during yogic high-frequency respiration.

Stancak A Jr, Kuna M, Novak P, Srinivasan MA, Dostalek C, Vishnudevananda S.

Institute of Physiological Regulations, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague.

Yogic high-frequency respiration–kapalabhati (KB)–was studied in 24 subjects from a point of rhythmicity. Respiratory movements, blood pressure and R-R intervals of ECG were recorded in parallel and evaluated by spectral analysis of time series. Respiratory signals during KB were modulated by 0.1 Hz rhythm in 82% of experiments. This component was also present in R-R intervals and blood pressure during KB. Frequency (0.2-0.3 Hz) was observed in 67% of respiratory records. The presence of the component 0.2-0.3 Hz in respiration was dependent on resting respiratory frequency. This frequency component was reduced in R-R intervals but increased in blood pressure during kapalabhati as compared to that at rest. The occurrence of both frequency components in respiration during KB supports the hypothesis about the integrative role of cardiovascular and respiratory rhythms in physiological states characterized by altered respiratory frequency.


Lancet 1990 Jun 9;335(8702):1381-3

Effect of yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) on airway reactivity in subjects with asthma.

Singh V, Wisniewski A, Britton J, Tattersfield A.

Respiratory Medicine Unit, City Hospital, Nottingham, UK.

The effects of two pranayama yoga breathing exercises on airway reactivity, airway calibre, symptom scores, and medication use in patients with mild asthma were assessed in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. After baseline assessment over 1 week, 18 patients with mild asthma practised slow deep breathing for 15 min twice a day for two consecutive 2-week periods. During the active period, subjects were asked to breathe through a Pink City lung (PCL) exerciser–a device which imposes slowing of breathing and a 1:2 inspiration:expiration duration ratio equivalent to pranayama breathing methods; during the control period, subjects breathed through a matched placebo device. Mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), peak expiratory flow rate, symptom score, and inhaler use over the last 3 days of each treatment period were assessed in comparison with the baseline assessment period; all improved more with the PCL exerciser than with the placebo device, but the differences were not significant. There was a statistically significant increase in the dose of histamine needed to provoke a 20% reduction in FEV1 (PD20) during pranayama breathing but not with the placebo device. The usefulness of controlled ventilation exercises in the control of asthma should be further investigated.


Act Nerv Super (Praha) 1990 Jun;32(2):99-114

Hathayogic exercise jalandharabandha in its effect on cardiovascular response to apnoea.

Lepicovska V, Dostalek C, Kovarova M.

Institute of Physiological Regulations, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Praha.

Jalandharabandha (JB) is the important constituent of apnoea (kumbhaka) in hathayogic breathing exercises. It is performed by pressing the chin into the jugular notch and creating thus the positive pressure on the neck region. The influence of JB on the heart rate and vasomotor response was studied in relationship to different lung volumes. The course of R-R intervals is highly significantly different according to the type of apnoea. JB leads to the diminution of bradycardia, but does not change the position of the maximum and minimum in comparison to the apnoea without JB. Application of JB increases the number of vasodilatations and shortens the latencies of vasodilatations, duration and amplitude of reactions. JB during breath holding decreases the vagal reflex changes and may thus work as a stabilizing component in yogic breathing exercises.


Act Nerv Super (Praha) 1990 Jun;32(2):95-8

Effect of Kapalabhati on blood urea, creatinine and tyrosine.

Desai BP, Gharote ML.

Scientific Research Dept., Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla.

The present study conducted on twelve normal healthy male subjects showed decrease in blood urea, increase in creatinine and tyrosine after one minute of Kapalabhati, a fast-breathing technique of Hatha Yoga (120 respiratory strokes (min.). From biochemical point of view the practice of Kapalabhati seems to promote decarboxylation and oxidation mechanisms due to which quieting of respiratory centres is achieved, which is also the prerequisite for the practice of Pranayama, another important technique of Yoga.

Thorax 1988 Sep;43(9):731-2

Increased muscle enzyme activity after yoga breathing during an exacerbation of asthma.

Tamarin FM, Conetta R, Brandstetter RD, Chadow H.

Division of Pulmonary Diseases, New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center, New York.

The case is reported of a yoga practitioner who, during an exacerbation of asthma, developed a substantial increase in serum muscle enzymes. This was related to his yoga breathing exercises, which he used to enhance the delivery of aerosolised bronchodilators. As his condition improved and the use of these yoga manoeuvres diminished, the muscle enzyme levels fell to normal.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1988 Jul-Sep;32(3):202-8

Effect of short term yoga practice on ventilatory function tests.

Makwana K, Khirwadkar N, Gupta HC.

Department of Physiology, M.G.M. Medical College, Indore.

Twentyfive normal male volunteers undergoing a ten weeks course in the practice of yoga have been studied by some parameters of ventilatory functions tests. The observations recorded at the end of ten weeks of the course have shown improved ventilatory functions in the form of lowered respiratory rate, increased forced vital capacity, FEV1, maximum breathing capacity and breath holding time, while tidal volume and %FEV1, did not reveal any significant change. Thus, a combined practice of yoga seems to be beneficial on respiratory efficiency.


J Asthma 1987;24(3):183-6

Kunjal: a nonspecific protective factor in management of bronchial asthma.

Singh V.

Department of Medicine, S.M.S. Medical College, Jaipur, India.

Seven asthmatic patients having nocturnal symptoms performed a yogic maneuver called Kunjal. Definite improvement was noticed subjectively and objectively in six patients during the week Kunjal was performed, and improvement in symptoms persisted into the third week in five patients.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1986 Oct-Dec;30(4):334-40

Effect of yoga type breathing on heart rate and cardiac axis of normal subjects.

Mohan M, Saravanane C, Surange SG, Thombre DP, Chakrabarty AS.

Effect of inspiratory and expiratory phases of normal quiet breathing, deep breathing and savitri pranayam type breathing on heart rate and mean ventricular QRS axis was investigated in young, healthy untrained subjects. Pranayam type breathing produced significant cardioacceleration and increase in QRS axis during the inspiratory phase as compared to eupnea. On the other hand, expiratory effort during pranayam type breathing did not produce any significant change in heart rate or QRS axis. The changes in heart rate and QRS axis during the inspiratory and expiratory phases of pranayam type breathing were similar to the changes observed during the corresponding phases of deep breathing.


Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 1986 Apr-Jun;30(2):121-32

Effect of yoga on exercise tolerance in normal healthy volunteers.

Raju PS, Kumar KA, Reddy SS, Madhavi S, Gnanakumari K, Bhaskaracharyulu C, Reddy MV, Annapurna N, Reddy ME, Girijakumari D, et al.

Twelve normal healthy volunteers (6 males and 6 females) undergoing yoga training for 90 days were studied for the effect of yoga on exercise tolerance. Their ages ranged from 18 to 28 years. The volunteers were taught only Pranayama for the first 20 days and later on yogic asanas were added. Sub-maximal exercise tolerance test was done on a motorized treadmill by using Balke’s modified protocol, initially, after 20 days (Phase-I) and after 90 days of yoga training (Phase-II). Pyruvate and lactate in venous blood and blood gases in capillary blood were estimated immediately before and after the exercise. Minute ventilation and oxygen consumption were estimated before and during the test. Post exercise blood lactate was elevated significantly during initial and Phase-I, but not in Phase-II. There was significant reduction of minute ventilation and oxygen consumption only in males in Phase-I and II at the time when the volunteers reached their 80% of the predicted heart rate. Female volunteers were able to go to higher loads of exercise in Phase-I and II.


J Asthma 1986;23(3):123-37

An integrated approach of yoga therapy for bronchial asthma: a 3-54-month prospective study.

Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R.

After an initial integrated yoga training program of 2 to 4 weeks, 570 bronchial asthmatics were followed up for 3 to 54 months. The training consisted of yoga practices–yogasanas, Pranayama, meditation, and kriyas–and theory of yoga. Results show highly significant improvement in most of the specific parameters. The regular practitioners showed the greatest improvement. Peak expiratory flow rate (PFR) values showed significant movement of patients toward normalcy after yoga, and 72, 69, and 66% of the patients have stopped or reduced parenteral, oral, and cortisone medication, respectively. These results establish the long-term efficacy of the integrated approach of yoga therapy in the management of bronchial asthma.


Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985 Oct 19;291(6502):1077-9

Yoga for bronchial asthma: a controlled study.

Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR.

Fifty three patients with asthma underwent training for two weeks in an integrated set of yoga exercises, including breathing exercises, suryanamaskar, yogasana (physical postures), pranayama (breath slowing techniques), dhyana (meditation), and a devotional session, and were told to practise these exercises for 65 minutes daily. They were then compared with a control group of 53 patients with asthma matched for age, sex, and type and severity of asthma, who continued to take their usual drugs. There was a significantly greater improvement in the group who practised yoga in the weekly number of attacks of asthma, scores for drug treatment, and peak flow rate. This study shows the efficacy of yoga in the long term management of bronchial asthma, but the physiological basis for this beneficial effect needs to be examined in more detail.


J Adv Nurs 1984 Mar;9(2):127-33

A study of yoga as a nursing intervention in the care of patients with pleural effusion.

Prakasamma M, Bhaduri A.

‚Pranayama‘ or yogic breathing as a method of re-expansion of lungs in patients with pleural effusion was studied. Ten patients with pleural effusion practised alternate nostril breathing for 20 days after aspiration of fluid. An equal number matched for age and smoking habits underwent routine physiotherapy of the hospital for the same period. Lung function was measured: before aspiration; immediately after aspiration; and, 5, 10, 15 and 20 days after aspiration. The FVC, FEV1, MVV, PEFR, CE and RS, were used to measure lung function. The difference between the two groups in the gain in lung expansion as assessed by the above measures was tested for significance with appropriate nonparametric statistical tests at 0.1 level of significance. The results revealed that the patients practising Pranayama demonstrated a quicker re-expansion of the lungs in most of the measures of lung function. The findings are discussed in relation to implications for nursing care.


J Appl Physiol 1983 Dec;55(6):1854-61

Effects of high-frequency breathing on pulmonary ventilation and gas exchange.

Frostell C, Pande JN, Hedenstierna G.

The effects of spontaneous high-frequency breathing (HFB) on lung function were evaluated in three subjects highly trained in the practice of yoga. Transpulmonary pressure was measured by an esophageal balloon catheter and gas flow by pneumotachography. The abdominal and rib cage contributions to tidal breathing were measured separately by respiratory inductive plethysmography. Gas exchange was studied by the conventional technique and by multiple inert gas elimination. During HFB, respiratory rate increased to 232 cycles/min with a tidal volume of 0.35 liter. This resulted in a more than 10-fold increase in expired minute ventilation to approximately 90 1/min. The transpulmonary pressure varied by 20 cmH2O, with the calculated elastic, resistive, and accelerative components varying by 2, 20, and 8 cmH2O, respectively. Respiratory work increased more than 200-fold in comparison with resting ventilation. A phase shift between thoracic and abdominal breathing was observed and was interpreted as a volume displacement of approximately 30 1/min between the two parts of the respiratory system. Arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide tension remained normal. Bohr dead space increased, while acetone dead space remained unaltered. A bimodal distribution of ventilation-perfusion ratios (VA/Q) was observed, with one mode in normal and another in „high“ VA/Q regions.


J Asthma 1982;19(3):189-201

Asthma: the yoga perspective. Part II: Yoga therapy in the treatment of asthma.

Goyeche JR, Abo Y, Ikemi Y.

The integral yoga approach to asthma (and other psychosomatic disorders) is briefly outlined as meeting all of the requirements for an optimal, holistic, somatopsychic therapy (as outlined in Part I), including correction of distorted posture and faulty breathing habits, teaching a system of general muscle relaxation, techniques for the release of suppressed emotion and for reducing anxiety and self-conscious awareness, as well as special methods for the expectoration of mucus. Yoga practices are described in detail and the available psychophysiological research on yoga practice, as well as clinical-therapeutic studies on yoga as asthmatic therapy, are reviewed. It can therefore be concluded that yoga therapy is most effective with asthma.


J Appl Physiol 1981 Dec;51(6):1625-9

Pattern of breathing and ventilatory response to CO2 in subjects practicing hatha-yoga.

Stanescu DC, Nemery B, Veriter C, Marechal C.

WE studied eight Belgian subjects well advanced in the practice of hatha-yoga and compared them with eight sex-, age-, and height-matched control subjects. Practice of yoga (range 4-12 yr) involves control of posture and manipulation of breathing, including slow near-vital capacity maneuvers accompanied by apnea at end inspiration and end expiration. Average values for the yoga and the control group (in parentheses) are as follows: ventilation (VE) 5.53 1 X min-1 (7.07); tidal volume (VT), 1.03 liters (0.56); rate of breathing, 5.5 min-1 (13.4); end-tidal PCO2, 39.0 Torr (35.3). All differences are significant (P less than 0.05). Ventilatory response to CO2 (rebreathing technique) was significantly lower in the yoga group (P less than 0.01). The regression relating VE to VT during rebreathing of CO2 was VE = 8.1 (VT – 0.23) for the yoga group and VE = 15.8 (VT – 0.16) for the control group (P less than 0.005). We attribute these changes to chronic manipulation of respiration.


J Asthma Res 1980 Apr;17(3):111-21

Asthma: The yoga perspective. Part I. The somatopsychic imbalance in asthma: towards a holistic therapy.

Goyeche JR, Ago Y, Ikemi Y.

While the standard physiological and even certain psychological characteristics of asthmatic patients are well known, the current diagnostic and therapeutic approach to asthma remains inadequate, as it neglects certain interrelated somatopsychic factors vital to an optimal diagnostic-therapeutic programme. These include the role of skeletal muscle tension and posture, the role of the ‚voluntary‘ respiratory musculature, especially the diaphragm, as well as anxiety, emotional suppression and excessive self-consciousness, all of which may be precipitants rather than the outcome of the onset of asthma. On the basis of these neglected factors and others, implications for an optimally effective therapy are discussed. The physical medicine or physiotherapeutic, as well as other recent therapeutic approaches, are reviewed and evaluated. It is concluded that all of these therapies are too „specific,“ and that a more holistic approach is necessary (which is provided in ‚Asthma: The Yoga Perspective,‘ Part II-„Yoga Therapy in the Treatment of Asthma“).


Thorax 1978 Aug;33(4):514-7

Adjunct treatment with yoga in chronic severe airways obstruction.

Tandon MK.

Eleven patients with severe chronic airways obstruction were given training in yogic breathing exercises and postures. A matched group of 11 patients were given physiotherapy breathing exercises. Both groups of patients were followed up at monthly intervals for nine months with pulmonary function tests, tests of exercise tolerance, and inquiry into their symptoms. After training in yoga the mean maximum work increased significantly by 60.55 kpm; whereas no such rise occurred after training in physiotherapy. This objective improvement was associated with symptomatic improvement in a significantly higher number of patients given training in yoga.


Percept Mot Skills 1978 Feb;46(1):171-4

Arterial blood gases in Pranayama practice.

Pratap V, Berrettini WH, Smith C.

Pranayama is a Yogic breathing practice which is known experientially to produce a profound calming effect on the mind. In an experiment designed to determine whether the mental effects of this practice were accompanied by changes in the arterial blood gases, arterial blood was drawn from 10 trained individuals prior to and immediately after Pranayama practice. No significance changes in arterial blood gases were noted after Pranayama. A neural mechanism for the mental effects of this practice is proposed.


Respiration 1975;32(1):74-80

Transcendental meditation and asthma.

Wilson AF, Honsberger R, Chiu JT, Novey HS.

A 6-month study with crossover at 3 months was designed to evaluate the possible beneficial effects of transcendental meditation upon bronchial asthma. 21 patients kept daily diaries of symptoms and medications and answered questionnaires at the end of the study and 6 months later. Other measurements included physician evaluation, pulmonary function testing, and galvanic skin resistance. The results indicated that transcendental meditation is a useful adjunct in treating asthma.


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