Introduction: Recent studies have reported differential physiological and psychological effects produced by exclusive right and left nostril breathing and clinical research is required to prove immediate and sustained efficacy of these techniques in various psychosomatic conditions such as hypertension (HT). The present study was designed to determine immediate effects of 27 rounds of exclusive left nostril breathing, a yogic pranayama technique known as chandra nadi pranayama (CNP) on cardiovascular parameters in patients of essential HT.
Materials and methods: Twenty two patients of essential HT under regular standard medical management were individually taught to perform CNP by a qualified yoga instructor with a regularity of 6 breaths/min throughout a performance of 27 rounds of CNP. Pre and post intervention heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) measurements were recorded using non-invasive semi-automatic BP monitor and Students t test for paired data used to determine significant differences.
Results: Twenty seven rounds of CNP produced an immediate decrease in all the measured cardiovascular parameters with the decrease in HR, systolic pressure (SP), pulse pressure, rate-pressure product and double product being statistically significant. Further, gender-based sub-analysis of our data revealed that our male participants evidenced significant reductions in HR and SP with an insignificant decrease in diastolic pressure, while in female participants only HR decreased significantly with an insignificant decrease in SP.
Discussion and conclusion: It is concluded that CNP is effective in reducing HR and SP in hypertensive patients on regular standard medical management. To the best of our knowledge, there are no previously published reports on immediate effects of left UFNB in patients of HT and ours is the first to report on this beneficial clinical effect. This may be due to a normalization of autonomic cardiovascular rhythms with increased vagal modulation and/or decreased sympathetic activity along with improvement in baroreflex sensitivity. Further studies are required to enable a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved as well as determine how long such a BP lowering effect persists. We recommend that this simple and cost effective technique be added to the regular management protocol of HT and utilized when immediate reduction of BP is required in day-to-day as well as clinical situations.
Keywords: Blood pressure; chandra nadi pranayama; hypertension; yoga therapy.