SIB# 375 Alternate Nostril Breathing and Blood Pressure
The Study: Effect of alternate nostril breathing exercise on blood pressure, heart rate, and rate pressure product among patients with hypertension in JIPMER, Puducherry.
a. The study used a randomized control design.
b. The subjects employed a method of alternate nostril breathing for 10 minutes two times a day for 5 days in conjunction with their routine hypertension treatment.
c. The subjects were: “…both men and women between the age group of 30 and 60 years, patients diagnosed with hypertension taking antihypertensive medication, patients with BP of mild (120–139 mmHg or 80–89 mmHg) and moderate (140–159 mmHg or 90–99 mmHg) degrees…”
d. They had an intervention and a control group.
e. There were 85 subjects in each group.
f. The intervention: “… patients were asked to close one of their nostrils (say right nostril) by their thumb and slowly breathe in up to maximum, through the left nostril. They were asked to close their other nostril (left) by their ring finger and open the right nostril to exhale slowly up to maximum. Then, they were instructed to inhale through the same right nostril (with left nostril closed) and then to open the left nostril and exhale as instructed previously. They have to perform the alternate nostril breathing exercise for 10 min, twice a day.”
g. Patients were instructed to do this two times a day for five days.
h. On days one and five the subjects had their blood pressure (BP) and their heart rate measured before and after they performed the alternate nostril breathing procedure
i. The authors found that the blood pressure was lower on day five than on day one.
j. Before the nostril breathing on day 1 the mean systolic pressure was 134.64 and the mean systolic pressure before nostril breathing on day 5 was 126.64.
k. Before the nostril breathing on day 1 the mean diastolic pressure was 86.78 on day 5 it was 80.42.
Take Home: After 5 days of two times a day of 10 minutes a day of alternate nostril breathing as done in this study there was a decrease in blood pressure.
Reviewer's Comments: Wow this is great, or is it? When I see something like this I think that if this could be replicated in a number of other studies and then be used in widespread practice it would be great. But that doesn’t seem to happen a lot. So if some of you at the colleges want an easy project (Note: a study is only easy to those who don’t have to actually do it) then perhaps you might want to replicate this one. Until I see this replicated I’m not fully convinced but it is intriguing.
Reviewer: Roger Coleman DC
Editor’s Comments: Okay, so it’s not really chiropractic. But then again, who else in the U.S. is likely to even let this study see the light of day if not chiropractors? It’s an interesting method and almost certainly harmless even if it doesn’t ultimately turn out to be beneficial. The method has its roots in traditional yogic breathing which probably explains why this article, along with several others cited by the author, was able to get published in India. I thought it was worth reading the discussion section in the full text (see link below), which covers other similar studies showing benefits with alternate nostril breathing.
Editor: Mark R. Payne DC
Reference: Kalaivani S, Kumari MJ, Pal GK. Effect of alternate nostril breathing exercise on blood pressure, heart rate, and rate pressure product among patients with hypertension in JIPMER, Puducherry. J EDus Health Promot. 2019 Jul 29;8:145. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_32_19. eCollection 2019.
Link to Abstract: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31463330
Link to Full Text: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691618