Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Fast and Slow Pranayama on Perceived Stress and Cardiovascular Parameters in Young Health-Care Students

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Fast and Slow Pranayama on Perceived Stress and Cardiovascular Parameters in Young Health-Care Students

Article excerpt

Byline: Vivek. Sharma, Madanmohan. Trakroo, Velkumary. Subramaniam, M. Rajajeyakumar, Anand. Bhavanani, Ajit. Sahai

Context: Perceived stress is higher for students in various healthcare courses. Previous studies have shown that pranayama practice is beneficial for combating stress and improve cardiovascular functions but both fast and slow pranayama practice produce different physiological responses. Aim: Present study was conducted to compare the effects of commonly practiced slow and fast pranayama on perceived stress and cardiovascular functions in young health-care students. Materials and Methods: Present study was carried out in Departments of Physiology and Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research, JIPMER, Pondicherry. Ninety subjects (age 18-25 years) were randomized to fast pranayama (Group 1), slow pranayama (Group 2) and control group (Group 3). Group 1 subjects practiced Kapalabhati, Bhastrika and Kukkuriya Pranayama while Group 2 subjects practiced Nadishodhana, Savitri and Pranav Paranayama. Supervised pranayama training was given for 30 min, 3 times a week for the duration of 12 weeks to Groups 1 and 2 subjects by certified yoga trainer. Following parameters were recorded at the baseline and after 12 weeks of training; perceived stress scale (PSS), heart rate (HR), respiratory rate, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), mean arterial pressure (MAP), rate pressure product (RPP), and double product (Do P). Results: There was a significant decrease in PSS scores in both Group 1 and Group 2 subjects but percentage decrease was comparable in these groups. Significant decrease in HR, DBP, RPP, and Do P was seen in only Group 2 subjects. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that both types of pranayama practice are beneficial in reducing PSS in the healthy subjects but beneficial effect on cardiovascular parameters occurred only after practicing slow pranayama.

Introduction

Stress can be considered as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Perceived stress has been reported higher for students in health-care courses including dental, medical, nursing, and graduate health-workers. [sup][1],[2],[3],[4] Stress management programs for students including meditation, yoga, hypnosis, imagery, muscle relaxation etc., have shown improvement in their positive coping skills. [sup][5] Yoga is an ancient science, which originated in India and many studies have found that yoga and pranayama can be practiced to combat stress. Pranayama involves manipulation of the breath that is a dynamic bridge between the body and mind. [sup][6] Pranayama consists of three phases: "Puraka" (inhalation); "kumbhaka" (retention) and "rechaka" (exhalation) that can be either fast or slow. [sup][7] Pranayama has been assigned very important role in Ashtanga Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali and is said to be much more important than yogasanas for keeping sound health. [sup][8] Previous studies have shown that both fast and slow pranayamas are beneficial, [sup][9],[10],[11] but they produce different physiological cardiovascular responses in healthy subjects. [sup][12] Slow pranayama like Nadishuddhi, Savitri and Pranav have been shown to decrease Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and increase pulse pressure (PP). [sup][13],[14] Very few references are available on the effect of practicing fast pranayamas. Few studies indicate that fast pranayamas like Kapalabhati and Bhastrika when practiced alone increases sympathetic activity [sup][12],[15] thereby, increasing HR, SBP, and DBP whereas, other studies showed that they decrease sympathetic activity and therefore, decrease HR, SBP and DBP. [sup][8] Other studies have found no effect of fast pranayama after 12 weeks of practice. [sup][16] Previous studies have shown that perceived stress negatively affects cardiovascular function by raising blood pressure (BP) and diminishing cardiovascular reactivity in the subjects. …

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