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The Blood Type Diet Archives Volume 11




Re: Alternate nostril breathing.

Posted By: Peter D'Adamo
Date: Saturday, 2 October 1999, at 4:49 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Alternate nostril breathing. (Pat (A+) (INFP))

People can become autonomically unbalanced as a result fo stress or other biological problems. Most of the time the balance is with excessive sympathetic activity, which translates into increased adrenal 'fight or flight' chemical activity. A good example of this is panic atacks. The parasymapthetic nervous system (PNS) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) are the 'automatic parts of the nervous system' controlling the functions which our bodies consider too important to trust our consciousness (or central nervous system, or CNS) with; like digesting our food, or controlling our heart rate. The PNS and SNS exist in a sort of antipathic relationship; if the heart rate gets to high (excess SNS) the branin kicks in and activates the PNS which releases other chemicals to slow down the heart. In the opposite situation, the vice versa is true.

The effects of alternate nostril breathing have been extensively studied. Here is an abstract which clearly shows systems effects. The rationale is that there are receptore for both the PNS and SNS in the back of the nasal cavities. Doing the breathing technique apparently helps to balance them out.

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.


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