Blood pressure and Purdue pegboard scores in individuals with hypertension after alternate nostril breathing, breath awareness, and no intervention.

Med Sci Monit. 2013 Jan 21;19:61-6.

Telles S, Yadav A, Kumar N, Sharma S, Visweshwaraiah NK, Balkrishna A.

Patanjali Research Foundation, Haridwar, India.


BACKGROUND: Previously alternate nostril yoga breathing (anuloma-viloma pranayama) was shown to reduce the blood pressure (BP) in people with hypertension. An elevated BP has been associated with poor performance in certain tasks requiring attention and co-ordination. The Purdue pegboard task assesses manual dexterity and eye-hand co-ordination.

MATERIAL/METHODS: In the present study there were ninety participants with essential hypertension. Their ages ranged from 20 to 59 years (group average age ±S.D., 49.7±9.5 years; sixty males). Participants were randomized as three groups, with thirty participants in each group. One group practiced alternate nostril yoga breathing for 10 minutes, the second group practiced breath awareness for the same duration and the third group was given a control intervention (i.e., reading a magazine with neutral content). Assessments were taken before and after the interventions for participants of the three groups. Assessments included the blood pressure and performance in the Purdue pegboard task. Data were analyzed with a repeated measures ANOVA and post-hoc analyses were Bonferroni adjusted.

RESULTS: Following alternate nostril breathing (ANYB) there was a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p<0.001 and p<0.05), and an improvement in Purdue pegboard task scores for both hands (p<0.05), and for the right hand (p<.001). Breath awareness (the control session) also showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (p<0.05). The right hand scores improved in the group reading a magazine (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the immediate effect of ANYB is to reduce the BP while improving the performing in a task requiring attention, bimanual dexterity and visuo-motor co-ordination.

PMID: 23334063


A brief synopsis:

Tasks needing focused attention can cause an increase in blood pressure. In people who are already hypertensive doing such a task can cause an increase in blood pressure. This study was carried out on 90 persons with essential hypertension, who were on medication. They were between 20 and 59 years of age (group average 49.7 +/- 9.5 years). There were 60 males. Participants were divided into three groups of 30 each. Group 1 practiced alternate nostril breathing for 10 minutes, Group 2 practiced awareness of the breath for the same time, and Group 3 read a magazine which had nothing to do with breathing. Before each 10 minute session, participants’ BP was measured the n they did a task requiring attention, co-ordination, and accuracy. These 2 assessments (that is the BP and a task requiring focused attention) were repeated at the end of 10 minutes.

The group who practiced alternate nostril breathing had lowered systolic and diastolic BP as well as better scores. The group who practiced breath awareness had lower systolic BP values, while the group who read a magazine did have better scores in the attention/co-ordination task but their BP did not change. Hence of the three interventions, alternate nostril breathing was the most useful.



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