Cerebrovascular hemodynamics during pranayama techniques
Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 60 - 63
Source ID: shanti-sources-85516
Collection: Contemplative Practices and Breath Research
Abstract: Background:Pranayama techniques are known to produce variable physiological effects on the body. We evaluated the effect of the two commonly practiced Pranayama techniques on cerebral hemodynamics. Materials and Methods: Fifteen healthy male volunteers, trained in Yoga and Pranayama, were included in the study. Mean age was 24 years (range 22–32 years). Study participants performed 2 Pranayamas in 2 different orders. Order 1 (n = 7) performed Bhastrika (bellows breaths) followed by Kumbhaka (breath retention) while order 2 (n = 8) performed Kumbhaka followed by Bhastrika. Both breathing techniques were performed for 1 min each. Continuous transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitoring was performed during the breathing techniques. TCD parameters that were recorded included peak systolic velocity (PSV), end-diastolic velocity (EDV), mean flow velocity (MFV), and pulsatility index (PI) of the right middle cerebral artery at baseline, 15, 30, 45, and 60 s. Results: Significant reductions in EDV (3.67 ± 6.48; P < 0.001) and MFV (22.00 ± 7.30; P < 0.001) with a significant increase in PI (2.43 ± 0.76; P < 0.001) were observed during Bhastrika. On the contrary, a significant increase in PSV (65.27 ± 13.75; P < 0.001), EDV (28.67 ± 12.03; P < 0.001), and MFV (43.67 ± 12.85; P < 0.001) with a significant reduction in PI (0.89 ± 0.28; P < 0.01) was observed only during Kumbhaka. Conclusion: Bhastrika and Kumbhaka practices of Pranayama produce considerable and opposing effects on cerebral hemodynamic parameters. Our findings may play a potential role in designing the Pranayama techniques according to patients’ requirements.