Send to

Choose Destination
J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jul;15(7):711-7. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0609.

Effect of slow- and fast-breathing exercises on autonomic functions in patients with essential hypertension.

Author information

Department of Physiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.



Breathing exercises practiced in various forms of meditations such as yoga may influence autonomic functions. This may be the basis of therapeutic benefit to hypertensive patients.


The study design was a randomized, prospective, controlled clinical study using three groups.


The subjects comprised 60 male and female patients aged 20-60 years with stage 1 essential hypertension.


Patients were randomly and equally divided into the control and other two intervention groups, who were advised to do 3 months of slow-breathing and fast-breathing exercises, respectively. Baseline and postintervention recording of blood pressure (BP), autonomic function tests such as standing-to-lying ratio (S/L ratio), immediate heart rate response to standing (30:15 ratio), Valsalva ratio, heart rate variation with respiration (E/I ratio), hand-grip test, and cold pressor response were done in all subjects.


Slow breathing had a stronger effect than fast breathing. BP decreased longitudinally over a 3-month period with both interventions. S/L ratio, 30:15 ratio, E/I ratio, and BP response in the hand grip and cold pressor test showed significant change only in patients practicing the slow-breathing exercise.


Both types of breathing exercises benefit patients with hypertension. However, improvement in both the sympathetic and parasympathetic reactivity may be the mechanism that is associated in those practicing the slow-breathing exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center