Despite the issue of air quality raising concern about breathing exercises, it has been suggested that breathing techniques are a decent way to better your health and increase your general well-being.
We’re constantly breathing, but what happens when we lock into some kind of pattern and consciously think about our pace of breath? For some people it’s kind of disturbing to be too self conscious of bodily processes like this: thinking about how fast you’re breathing might become an obsessive type of thing.
But if one can not think about it too much, and just generally strive to take deeper breaths and promote activities in their life that improve their breathing, this might be a good thing to look into.
One genre of “breathwork” as some call it is known as Holotropic Breathing, as reported by this article. Wim Hof, someone known as the Iceman helped popularize it.
One particular breathing technique is known as Coherent Breathing, or resonant breathing (trademarked phrase).
It is claimed that resonant breathing is a result of some people studying the practices of indigenous people from all cultures, from the Americas, to Africa, to island peoples.
In an interview with Vice, Patricia Gerbarg, Assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College explained a bit about the science of breathing exercises. She studies the aforementioned breathing technique with her husband Richard Brown, of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
“We wanted to identify a short program that could be given quickly to people, that they would have immediate relief within five or ten minutes, and that over time would produce long-term changes,” Gerbarg said.
Boston University researchers led a study in which they asked 30 people suffering from extreme depression to practice this breathing technique on a regular basis, in addition to a type of yoga known as lynegar yoga. Their findings were published in a study last year in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Despite the fact that most people can’t really assess whether or not this study is accurate, the researchers claim that after three months had passed, a “standard depression inventory test” showed that people’s depression had gone down a significant amount in the period of time they tried the breathing technique.
While it’s probably true that doing any type of positive activity is good against depression, the study sets out to quantify what we already know intuitively, in a way that isn’t really fitting for the complex, vague concept of depression. However, this study certainly is to be appreciated.
It’s difficult to quantify for certain that breathing techniques could help against depression, but who needs to quantify that in the first place? People can intuitively know things and that understanding is perfectly fine.
The concept of doing heavy breathing exercises to combat depression is an amazing idea, and one that should be praised and respected for the simple fact that it would deter people from taking drugs or doing unhealthy things to try and treat it.
The true, organic cure for depression does seem to be purpose. Having something to do as well as a consistently lit inspiration to do those things is something that is built over time in life.
According to Vice:
“A key benefit of coherent breathing is that you can do it anywhere. It simply involves taking regular breaths in and out the nose, at a pace of five breaths per minute. (This translates into a count of six—one per second—for each inhalation and exhalation.) Initially, it helps to do the breath with your eyes closed, but once you become experienced, you can keep them open. That way, if you find yourself anxious, depressed, or stressed at any time during the day, you can sit at your desk or in a meeting and do a few rounds. “It’s totally private. Nobody knows you’re doing it,” Gerbarg says.”
Any activity to do, purpose to pursue is a true cure for depression.