Effects of Pranayam Breathing on Respiratory Pressures and Sympathovagal Balance of Patients with Chronic Airflow Limitation and in Control Subjects

Deepali S Jaju, Mohan B Dikshit, Jothi Balaji, Jyoji George, Syed Rizvi, Omar Al-Rawas


Objectives: The objective of this study was to compare the effects of Pranayam breathing on respiratory muscle strength measured as maximum expiratory and inspiratory pressures (MEP and MIP) and relevant spirometry parameters in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and in control subjects, and on the sympatho-vagal balance in both the groups. Methods: The research was performed in the Clinical Physiology Department, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman. Eleven patients (mean age 43.91 ± 20.56 yr; mean BMI 21.9 ± 5.5 kg/m2) and 6 controls (43.5 ± 14.6yr; 25.4 ± 3.2 kg/m2) learnt and practised Pranayam. Their respiratory and cardiovascular parameters were recorded. Their respiratory “well being” was noted as a visual analogue score (VAS). The respiratory parameters were expressed as a percentage change of predicted values. Results: Patients’ respiratory parameters were significantly lower than those of controls. Patients’ maximum respiratory pressures did not improve after Pranayam; however, they showed significant improvement in VAS 5.4 ± 2.4 to 7.2 ± 1.2 (P < 0.03). Controls showed significant increase in MIP after Pranayam exercises. There were no changes in other spirometry indices. Controls showed significant increase in their systolic blood pressure and stroke index after exercise. The vago-sympathetic balance shifted towards sympathetic in both patients and controls after exercise. Conclusion: The improvement in MIP in controls indicated the positive effect of Pranayam exercise; however, it may not be an adequately stressful exercise to produce changes in the respiratory parameters of COPD patients. The increase in VAS in patients suggested improvement in respiratory distress and quality of life. 


COPD; Pranayam Exercise; Autonomic Nervous System; Respiratory Pressures; VAS

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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