|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 21-23
Yogic breathing and meditation techniques on lung functions in healthy individuals: A pilot study
Mooventhan Aruchunan1, L Nivethitha2
1 Department of Naturopathy, SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences, Ujire, Karnataka; Department of Research, Government Yoga and Naturopathy, Medical College, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
2 Department of Naturopathy, Government Yoga and Naturopathy, Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||17-Nov-2022|
|Date of Decision||12-Feb-2023|
|Date of Acceptance||23-Feb-2023|
|Date of Web Publication||15-Apr-2023|
Government Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College, Arumbakkam, Chennai 600106, Tamil Nadu, India
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Background: Yogic breathing (i.e., pranayama) and meditation techniques (YBMT) are the most important parts of yoga. Regular practice of yoga has shown to improve pulmonary functions in healthy as well as in people with pulmonary diseases. However, studies on effectiveness of YBMT alone on lung function are lacking. Aims: To evaluate the short-term effect of YBMT on peak expiratory flow rate in healthy individuals. Settings and Design: A pilot randomized controlled study was done in a medical college hospital located in South India. Materials and Methods: Sixty healthy individuals were randomly allocated to either a study group or a control group. Study group practiced YBMT for 10 min/day for 2 weeks, while the control group was under their normal routine. Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was assessed before and after 2 weeks of intervention. Statistical Analysis: Independent t test and paired t test were conducted to compare the means of inter groups and intra-groups using SPSS, version 16. Results: A significant increase in PEFR was observed in the study group (P < 0.001), unlike the control group (P = 0.588). Moreover, a significant increase in PEFR was observed in the study group (P = 0.047) compared to the control group. Conclusion: Results suggest that YBMT might be useful in improving PEFR in healthy individuals.
Keywords: Breathing techniques, lung function, pranayama, yoga
|How to cite this article:|
Aruchunan M, Nivethitha L. Yogic breathing and meditation techniques on lung functions in healthy individuals: A pilot study. J Indian Sys Medicine 2023;11:21-3
|How to cite this URL:|
Aruchunan M, Nivethitha L. Yogic breathing and meditation techniques on lung functions in healthy individuals: A pilot study. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 7];11:21-3. Available from: https://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2023/11/1/21/374260
| Introduction|| |
Yoga is an ancient Indian science which works on physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic, and spiritual aspects of human and thus, helps to improve health and wellbeing. Yoga includes specific posture (asana), regulated breathing (pranayama), meditation, etc. Yogic breathing (i.e. pranayama) and meditation techniques (YBMT) produce different physiological responses such as it increases pulmonary functions, modulates autonomic functions to maintain balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, etc. There are many studies that deal with yoga for physical functions, cardio vascular functions, stress, autonomic variables, etc. Regular yoga practice was reported to improve pulmonary functions in healthy as well as in people with pulmonary diseases. However, studies on effectiveness of YBMT alone on lung function are lacking. Hence, this study was aimed at evaluating the YBMT effect on peak expiratory flow rate in healthy individuals.
| Materials and Methods|| |
We conducted a prospective pilot randomized controlled study. All subjects were allocated randomly to either a study group (SG) or a control group (CG). SG underwent YBMT and CG underwent normal routine for the duration of 10 min/day for 2 weeks. Peak expiratory flow rate was assessed before and after 2 weeks of intervention.
Sixty (male participants 15, female participants 45) healthy volunteers (screened using medical history by one of the authors) aged from 18 to 28 years participated in the study.
Both men and women of age 18 years and above.
Volunteers with history of systemic diseases; regular medication for any diseases; mental illness; habits of tobacco chewing, smoking, and alcoholism; who are unable to perform Pranayama; already engaged in other Pranayama/exercise/sports program since last six weeks. Institutional ethics committee approved the protocol (Reference no.: SDMIEC no. 32) and all the subjects provided the written informed consent.
Randomization was done before the intervention using a lottery method (the word “study” or “control” were written in papers and were put in an envelope. The paper drawn out by the subjects determined their group.
Neither subjects nor the investigator blinded to the study intervention.
Peak expiratory flow rate was measured before and after intervention using a Wright peak-flow meter (Mini-Wright TM CED120, Clement Clarke international limited, Edinburg way, Essex, CM 20 2TT, UK). For the assessment, the subjects were asked to stand erect and instructed to blow forcefully and rapidly into the device’s mouth piece after a maximal inspiration. Three consecutive attempts were made and at the end of each attempt, the peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was recorded. The highest value of these three values was taken as the final value for the analysis.
SG subjects were asked to perform YBMT called Bhramari pranayama (humming bee breath) for 5 min followed by chanting om (meditation technique) for 5 min/day for 2 weeks under supervision in a medical college and hospital located in South India. CG subjects were advised to be in normal routine for same period.
Data analysis (between-group analysis using independent t test and within-group analysis using paired t test) was performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.
| Results|| |
Baseline and demographic details of SG and CG are matching with each other and there is no significant difference exists between the groups [Table 1]. Results showed a significant increase in PEFR in SG unlike CG. Moreover, the increase in the PEFR was significant in the SG compared to CG [Figure 1]. Subjects did not report any adverse effect throughout the study.
|Table 1: Baseline and demographic variables of the study and control groups (independent samples t-test)|
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|Figure 1: Pretest and posttest assessments of the study (n = 30) and the control group (n = 30)|
Note: Values are expressed in mean. * P ≤ 0.05 [within group (paired-samples t test) and between group (independent samples t test)]
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| Discussion|| |
A significant increase in PEFR was observed in SG compared to CG. It suggests that YBMT might be useful in improving PEFR in healthy individuals. The YBMT provided in the study are slow, and deep breathing techniques that use abdominal muscles and diaphragm during the practices decrease the accessory muscle activity and breathing workload increase the breathing efficiency, and renew the air across the lungs. PEFR indicates the caliber of the larger bronchioles and bronchi, which is increased significantly in pranayama group and supported by the previous studies.,,
Nadisodhana pranayama (15 min daily, for 4 weeks) significantly increases PEFR, and reduces blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate. Previous studies suggested that pranayama improves lung volumes and PEFR, strengthens cardio-respiratory functions, improves lung, and autonomic functions, and sleep quality, exercise tolerance and helps the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Likewise, yoga including pranayama practice helps to reduce dyspnea, fatigue, and pulse rate, and improves functional performance and peripheral capillary SpO2% in coal miners with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pranayama improves symptoms, pulmonary functions, and quality of life in asthma.,
In this study only PEFR was performed, but other tests were not conducted to get better pulmonary function that are the limitations of this study. Strength of the study are as follows: (1) it was a randomized controlled trial; (2) only two breathing techniques were used as intervention; and (3) the breathing techniques used in this study were very easy and can be combined with other physical or breathing exercises by everyone irrespective of age, gender, caste, race, religion, etc. In future studies with advanced technology, more sample size and longer duration are recommended to warrant these effects.
| Conclusion|| |
Results suggest that YBMT might be useful in improving PEFR in healthy individuals. However, long-term studies are required in future to find its effect and the possible mechanisms.
Financial Support and Sponsorship
Conflicts of Interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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