The Science of Slow Deep Breathing

It is hard to overstate the amazing and profound effect that breathing has on our ability to relax and clear the mind, as well as affect our overall health and happiness. At Unyte, we rely on the "Heart Breath" which is a slow, deep, regular and rhythmic breathing pattern that works to reduce stress and anxiety . For most people it is a 10-12 second cycle of inhaling smoothly and slowly through your nose (5-6 seconds in) and exhaling smoothly and slowly through your nose (5-6 seconds out) in a repeated pattern.

But why is the "Hearth Breath" so good for our health?

Adults breathe at an average of 15 breaths per minute, but when you intentionally slow that down you allow more time for your body to self-regulate.

To fully understand the science here, lets breakdown exactly what is happening in your body every time you inhale and exhale.

Your body contains two opposing peripheral nervous systems that act as a sort of gas and brake, speeding up and slowing down various functions of the body (heart rate, digestion, etc.). The parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) is the brake while the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is the gas. (2)

The SNS/"Gas" is suppressed when you inhale and the PSNS/"Brake" is enhanced when you exhale. When you slow your respiratory rate to below 15 breaths per minute, you increase the amount of PSNS/"Brake" outflow. When you feel anxious or stressed there is no better remedy for your body than a biological brake. 

To read more detail on the science of slow breathing visit Psychology Today.

1 comment

  • Very interesting work.
    I just wanted to share in case of interest something I am currently learning in Somatics as it looks at the technique of movement and conscious breathing. This comes from the work of Professor Thomas Hanna, which is based on the reawakening the minds control of movement, flexibility and health. The somatic training takes this further with the use of slow conscious breath to support movement through pandiculation. I have personally being using this technique to help me manage chronic pain and with just 2 months of practice having some success.
    Work comes from Novato institute for Somatic research and training in Novato, California

    Aileen Hogan

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