The effects of unilateral forced nostril breathing on the heart
The International Journal of Neurosciences.
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.