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Published On: Sat, Dec 10th, 2016

New Study Validates Benefits of Ancient Breathing Exercises

nsnbc : A study carried out by researchers at Northwestern University, USA, shows that nasal inhaling and exhaling through the mouth has beneficial effects among others, on memory and on coping with stressful environments.

avalokiteshvaraThe study appears to substantiate the validity and efficacy of most of the ancient breathing exercises practiced, among others, among Buddhists and Hindu practitioners of yoga and meditations and practitioners of martial arts.

And it doesn’t have to become all “mysterious” or complicated. A short period with focus on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth is by most people perceived as relaxing or destressing, and as a means to increase focus and concentration.

The results of  the new study conducted at Northwestern University suggest that such breathing can indeed ease the mind and even improve memory. Some 100 young adults were recruited to participate in the study and were asked to make quick judgements about facial expressions or objects that flashed across a computer screen.

The results showed that when people were inhaling through their noses, they were able to recognize or remember things faster than when there were exhaling. However, when they breathed through their mouths, memory fell.

The study is also the fist of its kind to show that rhythm in breathing can create electrical activity in the brain, stated an article published earlier this week in The Journal of Neuroscience. One might add, the first “not classified” study of its kind.

One of the major findings is that nasal inhaling can cause a “dramatic difference” in areas of the brain related to emotional processing and memory, said lead author Christina Zelano who added that the study is “preliminary but exiting and that it has the potential to lead to some deliberate breathing strategies for cognitive enhancement.

The study also substantiates the validity of the effect of breathing exercises in martial arts, something practitioners have known for centuries, and something that is, among others, practiced by snipers and competitive shooters. Zelano said: “If you’re in a dangerous environment with fearful stimuli, our data indicate that you can respond more quickly if you are inhaling through you nose”. The preliminary results could also suggest that breathing exercises could be tailored to help people with PTSD cope with acute symptoms.

CH/L – nsnbc 10.12.2016

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