Inhalation/Exhalation Ratio Modulates the Effect of Slow Breathing on Heart Rate Variability and Relaxation
- 1.4k Downloads
Slow breathing is widely applied to improve symptoms of hyperarousal, but it is unknown whether its beneficial effects relate to the reduction in respiration rate per se, or, to a lower inhalation/exhalation (i/e) ratio. The present study examined the effects of four ventilatory patterns on heart rate variability and self-reported dimensions of relaxation. Thirty participants were instructed to breathe at 6 or 12 breaths/min, and with an i/e ratio of 0.42 or 2.33. Participants reported increased relaxation, stress reduction, mindfulness and positive energy when breathing with the low compared to the high i/e ratio. A lower compared to a higher respiration rate was associated only with an increased score on positive energy. A low i/e ratio was also associated with more power in the high frequency component of heart rate variability, but only for the slow breathing pattern. Our results show that i/e ratio is an important modulator for the autonomic and subjective effects of instructed ventilatory patterns.
KeywordsRelaxation Breathing Respiration Heart rate variability RSA
This research was supported by research grants of FWO Flanders to I. Van Diest, and by IWT PhD grant to D. Widjaja.
- Beauchamp, K. G. (1973). Signal processing using analog and digital techniques. London: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Giardino, N. D., Glenny, R. W., Borson, S., & Chan, L. (2003). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia is associated with efficiency of pulmonary gas exchange in healthy humans. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 284, 1585–1591.Google Scholar
- Grossman, P., & Kollai, M. (1993). Respiratory sinus arrhythmia, cardiac vagal tone, and respiration: Within- and between-individual relations. Psychophysiology, 30(5), 486–495.Google Scholar
- Han, J. N., Stegen, K., De Valck, C., Clément, J., & Van de Woestijne, K. P. (1996). Influence of breathing therapy on complaints, anxiety and breathing pattern in patients with hyperventilation syndrome and anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 41(5), 481–493.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hayano, J., Mukai, S., Sakakibara, M., Okada, A., Takata, K., & Fujinami, T. (1994). Effects of respiratory interval on vagal modulation of heart rate. American Journal of Physiology, 267, 33–40.Google Scholar
- Logtenberg, S. J., Kleefstra, N., Houweling, S. T., Groenier, K. H., & Bilo, H. J. (2007). Effect of device-guided breathing exercises on blood pressure in hypertensive patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Hypertension, 25, 241–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pitzalis, M. V., Mastropasqua, F., Massari, F., Passantino, A., Colombo, R., Mannarini, A., et al. (1998). Effect of respiratory rate on the relationship between RR interval and systolic blood pressure fluctuations: A frequency-dependent phenomenon. Cardiovascular Research, 38, 332–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ramirez, R. W. (1985). The FFT. Fundamentals and concepts. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Smith, J. C. (2001). Advances in ABC relaxation: Application and inventories. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Thayer, J. F., Åhs, F., Fredrikson, M., Sollers, J. J., & Wager, T. D. (2012). A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: Implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 747–756.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vlemincx, E., Van Diest, I., De Peuter, S., & Van den Bergh, O. (2007). Relaxatie : Een ‘cold case’ hervat. Psychologie en Gezondheid, 35(1), 17–26.Google Scholar