The effect of controlled breathing for COVID? How many breathing sessions are needed to increase my HRV? This is what research says.
December 6th, 2022,
5 min read
‘But what does science say?’ It’s a question we ask ourselves at moonbird every day. Especially our postdoctoral researcher, Elisabeth Honinx, as it’s her focus to investigate and gather scientific grounding for everything that we do at moonbird.
Elisabeth continuously assembles the most interesting studies on breathing and related topics. Here, we’d like to give you a monthly overview of the latest research, news, and developments in the World of Breathing. Be inspired.
Previous studies showed that controlled breathing facilitates breathing and reduces breathlessness. However, the effect of breathing exercises on patients with COVID remains unclear. A recent study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a short breathing technique and long duration breathing technique. Three groups including COVID-positive patients, COVID-recovered patients, and healthcare workers were included in the study and were divided into intervention and control groups. Two physical performance tests (walking and sit-standing test) and 18 physical parameters (including heart rate variability and D-dimer, a breakdown product released in the body during blood clotting that expresses the risk of thrombosis) were assessed.
Breathing exercises may be considered a supportive approach for the management of patients with COVID
Conclusion - The breathing intervention lowered D-dimer - which implies a lower chance of thrombosis and embolism in patients with COVID-19, even in vaccinated individuals. It also improved physical performance in mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. The study suggests that breathing exercises may be considered a supportive approach for the management of patients with COVID.
Source: Frontiers in Public Health
Heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) is a relaxation technique where you breathe at your resonance frequency in order to synchronize your heart rate and breathing rhythm. This resonance frequency can be determined when you breathe at various different frequencies (or breathing rhythms) for a certain amount of time and then identify which frequency led to the strongest response, i.e. the highest HRV. That frequency is then your resonance frequency. The following study aimed to explore how many sessions of HRVB are needed to increase the HRV and decrease breathing rates and to compare HRVB to relaxation training. Sixty-four participants were randomly assigned to either the HRVB group or relaxation training group. In the HRVB group, participants first determined their resonance frequency and then systematically slowed down their breathing during their practice to reach that frequency. The relaxation training on the other hand included body scanning and muscle relaxation. Both groups practiced an hour each week together with daily 10-min body scanning and muscle relaxation exercises. At pre-training, during training, and post-training, HRV was measured via wearables (app, watch and belt). Results show a significant increase in HRV and decrease in breathing rates in the HRVB group compared to the relaxation group at week 4. HRV increased and breathing rates decreased significantly at weeks 3 and 4 compared to weeks 1 and 2. There was a significant increase in HRV and a decrease in breathing rates at mid- and post-training compared to pre-training in the HRVB group.
Three weeks of HRVB training are the minimum requirement for increasing HRV and reducing breathing rates
Conclusion - They concluded that 4 weeks of heart rate variability biofeedback combined with a wearable device are needed to increase HRV and decrease breathing rates compared to the relaxation training. Three weeks of HRVB training are the minimum requirement for increasing HRV and reducing breathing rates compared to only one week of HRVB.
Source: Springer Link
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