As the title says, we will discuss here the 6 breaths per minute benefits that are scientifically proven yet little known, or at least less discussed.
Just before we move into the detailed list of benefits of this particular breathing practice, to set the stage lets briefly touch upon the scientific base behind six breaths per minute technique, how this works for our benefit.
How Does 6 Breaths Per Minute Work For Our Benefit?
6 breaths per minute is based on one of the naturally present reflexes in the human body, namely the one that includes the whole machinery of physiological processes that take place in response to changes of the CO2 concentration in the blood, or the blood’s pH.
When we breathe more slowly, the oxygen level in the blood decreases, while the CO2 level in the blood increases – that stimulates the receptors in the carotid body, which are situated in the bifurcation of the common carotid artery. That also send signals to the upper respiratory centers like those in the medulla oblongata and the cerebral cortex.
The centers, on the other hand, send feedback to the body, making the blood vessels wider and the heart pump faster to increase blood flow and hence oxygen supply to the tissues.
This and other evoked mechanisms have enormous health benefits for the body.
Lets jump straight into that now.
What Are The Benefits Of 6 Breaths Per Minute?
It Increases Cardiac-Vagal Baroreflex Sensitivity (BRS)
Slow breathing confirmedly increases the cardiac-vagal baroreflex sensitivity or BRS for short.
In the body, it is responsible for keeping the blood pressure at nearly constant levels what is important both for maintaining sufficient oxygen supply to the tissues as well as for preventing hemorrhages due to a rupture of the blood vessels.
Elevated blood pressure can result in the latter thus alarmed baroreceptors in the blood vessels send information to the medulla oblongata, which subsequently lowers the heart rate and later on, the blood pressure.
Too low blood pressure, on the other hand, instantaneously causes an increase in the heart rate.
In a nutshell, a high degree of this reflex is a great marker of the overall cardiovascular health and is thus beneficial.
It Reduces Anxiety
6 breaths per minute is proven to promote the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system via stimulating the vagus nerve, what inter alia causes the above described cardiovascular symptoms, which also occur in anxiety – during a panic attack, fast heartbeat is admittedly very difficult to control and is extremely uncomfortable for the patient.
Moreover, increased activity of the parasympathetic nervous system acts calmingly on the mind and therefore successfully alleviates the symptoms.
It Supports Healthy Peristalsis
This also happens because of the increased parasympathetic activity.
This branch of the nervous system is responsible for all the processes that are boosted when we are calm and rested, one of which is the digestive process.
Due to the action of slow controlled breathing, the peristaltic movements of the gut are healthier and digestion is greatly facilitated.
The opposite happens when the sympathetic part of the nervous system prevails – the peristalsis cannot go on what gives rise to digestive problems.
It Decreases The Risk Of Cerebrovascular Events
Because of the previously described mechanisms, the 6 breaths per minute technique declines the cardiac-related blood pressure pulsatility. When it is high, is a known predictor of cerebral vascular damage and cerebrovascular events including a stroke.
Accordingly, slow breathing acts like a preventive method in terms of these diseases.
It Prevents The Development Of The Degenerative Diseases Of The Nervous System
Augmented pulsatile cerebrospinal fluid motion has been linked with progressive impairments in the white matter’s structure and function in the brain that may facilitate dementia and other processes associated with aging as well as even multiple sclerosis.
Slow breathing knowingly decreases this parameter and consequently boosts your memory as well as improves your cognitive health.
It Stabilizes Blood Pressure
Almost all of the above-listed mechanisms contribute to the stabilization of the blood pressure at a healthier, lower level.
This, at the same time, prevents many hypertension-related repercussions like aneurysm, heart attack, stroke, TIA, heart failure, metabolic syndrome, dementia, kidney failure, retina damage, neuropathy, sexual dysfunction, and many more.
The 6 breaths per minute technique indirectly lowers the risk of acquiring them.
It Increases Heart Rate Variability
There exists plenty of evidence that heart rate variability, in which the intervals between the contractions of the ventricles of the heart oscillate rather than stay the same, is a direct indicator of the fetal well-being and a predictor of even life-threatening damage.
That speaks volumes.
In adults, even if this parameter is not intrinsically connected with one’s general health, there still have been studies conducted which note a positive influence of the increased heart rate variability on, for example, blood pressure.
Those with low HRV have a confirmedly higher risk of developing hypertension in the coming years.
It Improves Sleep Quality
6 breaths per minute positively impacts one’s sleep quality mainly as a consequence of increased parasympathetic activity.
Since the latter calms both the body and the mind, it is much easier for a slow breathing practitioner to fall as well as stay asleep without notoriously waking up in the middle of the night.
This effect is especially seen when the technique has been practiced for a longer period of time.
It Makes You More Productive
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, slow breathing notably ameliorates one’s cognitive function when it comes to dementia prevention.
However, as it happens, it also improves one’s mental abilities in the present – you will remember and learn new things with much less effort, think and reason more clearly, solve problems more effectively.
As well as it will be easier for you to focus on one particular task or thing without being distracted.
As a result, you can use that in everyday life, particularly at work or during study sessions, when you especially need to be more productive.