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Study shows how slow breathing induces tranquility

A particularly timely and relevant finding – the Calming Effect of Breathing: “Stanford scientists have identified a small group of neurons that communicates goings-on in the brain’s respiratory control center to the structure responsible for generating arousal throughout the brain. Try it. Breathe slowly and smoothly. A pervasive sense of calm descends. Now breathe rapidly and frenetically. Tension mounts. Why? It’s a question that has never been answered by science, until now. In a new study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have identified a handful of nerve cells in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind. A paper describing the findings were published March 31 in ScienceMark Krasnow, MD, PhD, professor of biochemistry, is the senior author. The lead author is former Stanford graduate student Kevin Yackle, MD, PhD, now a faculty fellow at the University of California-San Francisco. Medical practitioners sometimes prescribe breathing-control exercises for people with stress disorders. Similarly, the practice of pranayama — controlling breath in order to shift one’s consciousness from an aroused or even frantic state to a more meditative one — is a core component of virtually all varieties of yoga.”

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