What does conventional biomedicine have to say about pranayama? Little analysis has been done related specifically to prayanama; however, a good deal of science is available on the subject of breathing.
This article looks at some general principles and is a cursory overview of research related to controlled breathing. This information is reported in the interest of stimulating thought. The sources cited within the body at the end of this article should be evaluated carefully before drawing conclusions.
What Happens When One Breathes?
In normal, relaxed breathing, there is a balance between the amount of air taken in and breathed out. Residual air remains in the lungs. Under stress breathing becomes shallow and rapid, reducing the amount of oxygen taken in and producing a still-greater amount of residual air. This breathing also occurs more from the chest than from the diaphragm. As this residual air stays in the lungs for longer periods of time, its oxygen content drops, and the level of water vapor and carbon dioxide increases. A health risk arises for individuals prone to respiratory difficulties, since the increased water vapor creates a more favorable environment for bacterial growth and pulmonary infection.
By Steve Paine, OMD (Hong Kong), LAc, LCMP (Hong Kong)
Acupuncture Today: The Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine News Source