Acute effects of deep breathing for a short duration (2-10 minutes) on pulmonary functions in healthy young volunteers

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. Apr-Jun 2011;55(2):154-9.


Breathing is the most vital function for maintenance of life. Slow and deep breathing is an integral part of Pranayama and it reduces dead space ventilation and renews air throughout the lungs. The reported beneficial effects of deep breathing as a part of either long term or short term practice of Pranayama are well documented. However our knowledge about the effects of a few minutes' of deep breathing on human ventilatory parameters is poor. In the present study, we examined the relationship between exposure to short duration of deep breathing and performance on pulmonary function tests before and after the deep breathing. The study was conducted in a homogenous group of 12 volunteers containing 4 females and 8 males who were well trained in pulmonary function testing (PFT) before the start of the study. The volunteers performed deep breathing (DB) exercise for 2, 5 and 10 minutes at the rate of 6 breaths per minute under guidance, and the duration of DB exercise for that day was randomly selected for each group. PFT was done before and after the DB exercise. There was a significant (P < 0.05) increase in vital capacity (VC) after 2 and 5 minutes' DB exercise and a consistent improvement in tidal volume (TV) and minute ventilation (MV) after the DB exercise in all the three groups, though it wasn't statistically significant. There was a significant (P < 0.05) increase in forced vital capacity (FVC) after 2 minutes' of DB exercise and a consistent increase in all the three groups in forced inspiratory vital capacity (FIVC) and peak inspiratory flow rate (PIFR), though this increase was not statistically significant. This shows that deep breathing exercise, even for a few minutes' duration is beneficial for the lung functions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • India
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maximal Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Respiratory Mechanics*
  • Tidal Volume
  • Time Factors
  • Vital Capacity
  • Young Adult