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LIMBIC BREATHING

Majid Ali, M.D.

There is more wisdom in your body

than in your deepest philosophy.

                                                                                                                     Nietzsche

In mid-1980s, I coined the term limbic breathing for a specific type of breathing (illustrated later in this column) to enhance the clinical neurophysiological and metabolic benefit of a protocol of self-regulation. During those years, my interest shifted from the chemistry of disease to the physics of health. I used electrophysiological equipment to quantify changes in various physiologic parameters, such as electrodermal conductance, electromyopotentials, and brain wave functions. In order to focus on the autonomic nervous system and for patient education, I shortened autonomic regulation to autoregulation. I critically examined the effects of limbic breathing on various physiological parameters, such as changes in blood gases, blood pH, and lactic acid. I described my early electrophysiological and metabolic observations and associated clinical benefits in my book The Cortical Monkey and Healing (1990).1 I proceeded to describe a large body of clinical and biochemical observations with autoregulation in a series of subsequent books, including The Ghoraa and Limbic Exercise (1993),2 What Do Lions Know About Stress? (1996) 3 and Healing, Miracles, and the Bite of the Gray Dog (1997).4 In this column, I briefly summarize those early findings, review the recent literature on the subject, and offer reflections on the right place of limbic breathing and other related breathing methods in integrative medicine.

Limbic Breathing Fundamentally Alters Oxygen Homeostasis and Lactic/Pyruvic Dynamics

An ancient saying has it that an individual is born with a finite number of breaths; he can breathe slowly and live longer or he can breathe faster [hyperventilate] and live less. I saw dramatic validation of that ancient insight in the results of an experiment I conducted during late 1980s.5 The subject in this experiment was myself. My collaborator was Madhava Subbarao, M.D., chief of anesthesiology at Holy Name Hospital, Teaneck, New Jersey. We used one of the operating suites for our experiment. Dr. Subbarao inserted a fine arterial catheter in my radial artery. I practiced limbic breathing (about two to three breaths per minute) for a period of one and a half hours. During that period, a laboratory technologist drew arterial blood samples at 10-minute intervals. We performed a battery of tests on those samples to closely examine the changes in the blood oxygen saturations levels and cellular energetics associated with limbic breathing. The salient data obtained in that experiment are displayed in Figures 1-3. There was a near 75 % drop in the blood level of lactic acid (Figure 1), a near four-fold increase in the blood level of pyruvic acid followed by a precipitate drop, and a sustained drop in the partial pressure of oxygen over a period of two hours. Those and other data shown in Figures 2 and 3 clearly show that limbic breathing fundamentally alters oxygen homeostasis and the well established lactic/pyruvic dynamics encountered under ordinary conditions. (See my book Dysoxygenosis and Oxystatic Therapies, the third volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume, 2005).6 Here is how that data can be explained.

Lactic acid is normally produced during glycolysis by the reduction of pyruvic acid which cannot be readily oxidized during the prevailing conditions of oxygen deficit. Lactic acid is later oxidized to pyruvic acid when oxygen becomes available. The classical illustration of that is seen when lactic acidosis develops rapidly during acute tissue anoxia caused by cardiac arrest. When oxygen supply is restored with re-establishment of cardiac rhythm and oxygen therapy, lactic acid is rapidly oxidized back to pyruvic acid and the blood lactate level falls back to the normal range. In my limbic breathing experiment, I breathed slowly at the rate of two or three breaths per minute for that period of 90 minutes. That means my oxygen intake of oxygen was dramatically diminished — about 80% reduction from the usual respiratory rate of ten to twelve per minute. If the textbook lactic/pyruvic dynamics had prevailed during the duration of my experiment, we would expect a marked increase in the blood levels of lactic acid, since the total intake of oxygen in the duration was markedly reduced. Instead, what we observed was near 78% drop in the blood levels of lactic acid, indicating a dramatic shifts in cellular energetics and a marked reduction in acid production during limbic breathing (Figure 1). I designated that mode of cellular energetics limbic metabolism a state akin to the physiology of hibernation in animal kingdom. Below, I present some Electrophysiological data obtained during other experiments with autoregulation to shed light on the changes in blood oxygen and lactic/pyruvic parameters shown in Figures 2-3.

 

Figure 1. Changes In the Blood Lactic Acid and Pyruvic Acid Seen During Limbic Breathing Are Illustrated. Note 78% Reduction In Blood Lactate Acid Levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. Changes In the Blood Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, and pH Seen During Limbic Breathing Are Illustrated. Note the Dramatic Shifts In All Parameters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3. Changes In White Blood Cells And Lymphocytes Seen Two Different Experiments with Limbic Breathing Are Shown. Note A Consistent Pattern of Rising Blood Cell Count

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrophysiological Responses to Limbic Breathing

The biofeedback literature which quantifies and documents Electrophysiological and clinical changes produced with various self-regulatory methods is vast. In Figures 4 and 5, I present an illustrative set of pre-autoregulation (Figure 4) and post-autoregulation (Figure 5) Electrophysiological profiles observed in my autoregulation laboratory. These profiles are fairly representative of changes in biologic parameters which I commonly observe in my patients during sessions of limbic breathing. In Figure 4, the four lines in graph indicate, from above down, the following parameters: (1) electrodermal conductance (indicating the energy state of the skin); (2) electromyopotential (indicating the energy state of the muscle); (3) the heart rate; and (4) pulse height measured with a playthysmograph (indicating the state of contraction of the arterial wall. I designated this pattern of turbulence the cortical disease-causing state (Figure 4). The Figure 5 shows the profile of the same person obtained after a 15-minute period of limbic breathing. The smooth lines with low-amplitude oscillations indicate a calm, regenerative, and healing state which I designated as the limbic state. I might add that increased electromyopotentials — tightened muscles, in common vernacular — leads to rapid build-up of lactic acid in the muscle tissue. The vasoconstricted (tightened) decrease tissue perfusion in muscles and further add to tissue lactic acidosis. Arteries in such a state also make the heart to work much harder as it forces blood through them, frequently leading to erratic heart activity. Limbic breathing effectively turns the disease-causing cortical state into a healing limbic state, and so alters the blood oxygen and lactic/pyruvic dynamics shown earlier in Figures 1-3.

Figure 4. An Example of a Pre-Autoregulation

Disease-Causing "Cortical" Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5. An Example of a Disease-Causing

"Cortical" Profile Cortical Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes in Power Spectral Analysis of Heart Rate Variability With Limbic Breathing

Emotional and lifestyle stressors can dramatically alter autonomic homeostasis. Reduction of stress by various self-regulatory methods— autoregulation, in my terminology — can be expected to affect autonomic parameters. Furthermore, such changes can be expected to be more pronounced in subjects with oxidative dysautonomia. Any or all autonomic parameters — including supine and upright heart rates, blood pressure values, and ratios between high-frequency and low-frequency signals — may be affected. Figures 6 displays power spectral analysis of heart rate variability of a 42-year-old man who suffered from severe depression and fibromyalgia. He missed his exit from a highway, developed reaction to automobile exhaust, and then became very annoyed at the barking of his dog. His supine heart rate was 117 per minute and jumped to 135 per minute as he stood up for orthostatic challenge. He was advised to practice autoregulation with limbic breathing for fifteen minutes after which the power spectral analysis was repeated (Figure 7). Note the improvement in his autonomic status after autoregulation. The data in Table 1 shows changes in various autonomic parameters recorded before and after stress reduction. For an in-depth discussion of the subjects of oxidative dysautonomia and clinical value of power spectral analysis of heart rate variability, I refer the reader to my book Integrative Cardiology, the sixth volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume (2005).7

 

Figure 6. Pre-Autoregulation Power Spectral Analysis of Heart Rate Variability of a 42-Year-Old Man With Fibromyalgia and Depression. See Figure 7 for the Effect of Autoregulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 7. Post-Autoregulation Power Spectral Analysis of Heart Rate Variability of the Patient in Figure 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1. Effects of Stress Reduction with Limbic Breathing in A 42-Year-Old Man With Fibromyalgia and Depression*

Parameter

Stressful State

After Stress Reduction

Supine heart rate

117

91

Upright heart rate

135

114

Supine HF/LF ratio

0.192

0.243

Upright HF/LF ratio*

0.130

0.139

Supine parasympathetic

-3

-3

Upright parasympathetic

-4

-4

Supine Sympathetic

+4

+2

Upright Sympathetic

+4

+4

Mean parasympathtic

-3.5

-3.5

Mean sympathetic

+4

+3

*Scans were done before and 15 minutes afterstress reduction with autoregulation. BP before and after trigger point was 120/80.

Breathing and Spirituality

Punjabi is my primary tongue. The Punjabi word saah refers not only to physical breath but also to physical relief, emotional support, and spiritual reprieve. For example, the Punjabi phrase outhee rooh nouhn saah ayaa means "her soul found peace." The Urdu word sance is the exact synonym of the Punjabi saah. So I was not surprised to learn that the Hebrew word nephesh means breathing in a limited sense, but a linking together of breath, life, and soul in a broader context. The Arabic words nefs and ruh also link breath with life and soul. In the Slavic languages, the duch is synonymous with the Hebrew nephesh and the Arab nefs and ruh, having extended its meaning from breathing to spirit or soul. The meaning of the word duk of the Romany dialect is also inclusive of breathing, spirit, and soul. The Swedish word anda refers to breathing as well as the core of something, a thought, or a spark that triggers something. Similarly, the German geist and the Javan nawa also link breath with the spirit and the soul.

The word inspiration refers to a reach for higher recesses of consciousness. In that sense, inspiration is about the human spirit—all letters of the word spirit, of course, are drawn from those of the word inspiration. In most world cultural traditions, conceptually the simple act of breathing is inextricably linked with spiritual pursuits. It did not escape the ancients that the process of breathing can be seen as repetitive and unfailing reminder of one's ultimate vulnerability — death. In the prevailing high-tech, no-touch medicine (for which I use the term Star Wars medicine6), inspiration merely means a part of the mechanics of respiration; the deeper meaning of the word inspiration is seldom, if ever, connected to the essential spirituality of human nature in clinical medicine.

A Brief Historical Perspective on Breathing

In the oldest extant texts—inscribed on stones or other materials—the notion of the breath of life appears in different contexts as the central quality of living beings. I present this subject at length in my book The History and Philosophy of Integrative Medicine, the second volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine (1998).8 One of the earliest and most succinct statements to that effect appears in the Sumerian creation mythology dated at about 3,000 B.C. It reads as follows: For the sake of the good things in their pure sheepfolds Man was given breath.9 A stone monument to Prince Gudéa (dated at about 2,200 B.C.) bears the following inscription: ...generously endowed with the breath of life.9

The early Egyptians had rich imagination and were preoccupied with the occult. In the context of breathing and death, for reasons that escape me, they focused on ears rather than on nostrils. The Physician's Secret: Knowledge of the Heart's Movements and Knowledge of the Heart (1,600 to 1,500 B.C.) introduced the notion of two separate forms of breath and pronounced that: The breath of life enters into the right ear, and the breath of death enters into the left ear.9

Pharaoh Akhenaton (about 1,350 B.C.) was among the earliest monotheists of history. He housed his God in the sun. For the priests and commoners of his time, his hymn writers wrote the following words: ....[the sun] Who giveth breath to animate every one that he maketh. The theme of the breath of life continues into the Old Testament (Genesis, chapter 2, verse 7) as: God Yahweh formed man from clouds in the soil and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. Thus man became a living being. The Greek Anaximenses (494 B.C.), the third philosopher of Miletus, also weighed in on the subject with the following words: The fundamental substance is air. The soul is air, fire is rarified air, when condensed, air becomes water, then if further condensed, earth, and finally stone. Consequently all differences between different substances are quantitative, depending entirely upon the degree of condensation.10

Qi, Ka, Pneuma, Mana, and Rûahh

All creations in the universe are energy beings. The earlier peoples seemed to have grasped this truth a long time before the modern physicists did. Indeed, the concepts of body energetics dominated the theory and practice of medicine in nearly all ancient healing philosophies. For instance, Qi (chi, energy) is a central concept in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).11 Egyptians used the term ka for the same meaning. The Greeks, Polynesians, and the Jews called it pneuma, mana, and rûahh respectively. The expression "life-force" is the commonly employed Western equivalent. 

The concept of healing energy is eminently displayed in both TCM and Indian Ayurvedic models. TCM is a syncretic blend of Confucian, Taoist, wushu (Chinese martial art), Buddhist, and other schools of knowledge and thought concerning human health. Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, circa 475-221 B.C.) is widely regarded as the best compendium of TCM philosophy and therapeutics.12 Chinese Qi, Indian prana, and Egyptian ka, in reality, are three words for the same energetic phenomenon. Indeed, the literal translation of qigong is breathing exercise, while that of prana is energy of breath. Both Qi and prana are intended to facilitate regulation of respiration (as well as other bodily functions), posture, and mind. That is precisely what Westerners would consider homeostasis, in its broadest sense.

The Western expedience often translates the words qi, prana, and ka as energy. However, it seems that the ancient Chinese, Indians, and Egyptians preceded Einstein's concept of energy-matter dynamics by nearly three thousand years. They pronounced that energy and matter could not be separated. Qi in the Chinese writings stood neither for energy nor for matter. Similarly, the Indian prana and the Egyptian ka, in my view, are also properly seen in the same light. The common theme in all those traditions was the linkages between breath, energy, and life.

The ancient Indic healing traditions—Ayurvedic, Buddhists, and others—focused sharply on October 28, 2006, the value of specific breathing methods in their healing arts. Growing up in Islamic Pakistan, I was unaware of any of those methods. That did not change during my years of medical education in Pakistan and during surgical training in England. During most of my years in hospital pathology, I became aware of the "New Age" movement and its preoccupation with self-healing. However, I remained essentially sequestered from that. In the mid-1980s, I became interested in the exploration of the true potential of self-regulation in integrative medicine. I made a conscious decision not to study the ancient literature on the subject so I could experience the reality personally and to see it through the eyes of my patients. About five years later when I read ancient texts on the subject, I was much gratified to recognize that what I had experienced personally with limbic breathing and what my patients told me about it was essentially the same as I found in the ancient books. In all, I taught auto-regulation to my patients in three-hour training sessions every Wednesday for thirteen years.

Three Essentials of Limbic Breathing

There are three essential components of limbic breathing, two mechanical and one energetic: (1) diaphragmatic ventilation; (2) prolongation of expiration after a momentary pause following inspirations; and (3) an energetic component that begins with simple autogenic suggestions of energetic tissue expansion and ends with heightened awareness of tissue energy and profound physiological benefits. As for the first element, diaphragmatic breathing, simply stated, is a natural mode of breathing controlled by the movement of diaphragm, the muscular sheet that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm muscle contracts to push down the abdominal viscera and expand the chest cavity, with a resultant rush of air into the lungs to fill the expanded space in that cavity. The mechanical steps of the second element of prolonged breathing are illustrated in Figures 8-10. The third energetic component is an experiential element with clearly demonstrable electrophysiologic effects, as illustrated in Figures 4 and 5.

A Healthy Baby Sleeps With Limbic Breathing,

A Baby With Pneumonia Sleep With Cortical Breathing

A sleeping baby breathes "limbically" through the abdomen — the lungs expand passively as the abdomen rolls out. By contrast, a baby with pneumonia "chest-breathes" — the chest wall heaves up with each breath while the abdominal wall retracts. Most adults develop the poor practice of breathing like a baby with pneumonia — they breathe "cortically" through their chest. The difference between the abdominal breathing and "chest-breathing" can be readily and fully appreciated by doing the following simple experiment. Ask a companion to gently place her/his hands on the lower part of your rib cage in the back and try to sense the difference between two types of action: (1) you take a very deep breath by fully raising your shoulders and upper chest; and (2) you push your abdomen forward fully while keeping the shoulders still. Now ask your companion to tell you if she/he feels any difference between the two types of breaths. Your companion is likely to grin and say she/he indeed felt a clear difference. Your lower rib cage retracted and moved up in the first step, and it expanded and moved out and down during the second step. Next, you reverse the roles and ask your companion to take the same two breathing steps while your hands rest gently on her/his lower rib cage in the back, and you try to sense the difference between the two breathing steps. You will recognize that there is a much greater degree of expansion of the lower lung fields with the limbic breath and only minimal expansion of that region with chest ("cortical") breathing. You can see with your mind's eye how the air rushes in to fill the lower and more voluminous lobes of the lungs with limbic abdominal breathing and does not do so with cortical chest breathing.

The Palm Method for Initial Training in Limbic Breathing

Most adults chest-breathe as a matter of poor habit. When I teach limbic breathing, my patients have no difficulty in understanding the basic mechanics of limbic diaphragmatic breathing. Then I demonstrate to them the simple steps of limbic breathing by focusing on the forward motion of my abdominal wall when I breathe in and the slow and sustained roll back of my abdomen with expiration. My shoulders and chest wall do not move during either the breathe-in or the breathe-out phase of my ventilation. They observe me closely. Then I ask them to simply copy the movements of my abdominal wall without moving their chest muscles and shoulders. More often than not, they do exactly the opposite of what I demonstrate to them. They immediately take a deep and forceful breath, lifting their chest wall and shoulders, and pulling in their abdominal wall. I point out the mistake in that and demonstrate the correct method again. They try again and repeat their earlier mistake. Again, I describe in simple words the right method and give them another demonstration of the limbic breath-in process. They try again, repeat and recognize the mistake and look puzzled. I repeat my demonstration. They try again, repeat the mistake, and become frustrated. Such is the habit of their chest muscles! It amuses me to see that confusion and frustration on their faces month after month (with different individuals) as they recognize their mistakes but cannot seem to make the necessary correction on their own. Such is the hold of cortical breathing on them!

To help my patients overcome the initial confusion and frustration with limbic breathing, during the early years of my teaching autoregulation, I developed a simple method which I designated as the "Palm Method" (Palm-On-the-Abdomen Method) for initial training. The Palm Method has the following four steps:

First, I instruct my patient to sit on the edge of the chair, rest the left hand on the left knee and to gently place the right palm over the lower abdomen. Left-handed individuals can reverse that order if desired.

Second, I ask my patients to push the palm resting on the lower abdomen as far out as the can, unmindful of any movement of the shoulders, rib cage, or abdomen.

Third, when the palm over the abdomen is pushed out as far as possible, I ask the patient to hold the breath for a second or two.

Fourth, I ask the patient to slowly, and in a step wise fashion, allow the palm on the lower abdomen to move back in (illustrated in Figure 9).

Pause Between Inhalation and Exhalation

During the development of the method of limbic breathing, I recognized that for most of my patients a momentary pause between inspiration and expiration was useful in learning the basic steps. So, I incorporated a momentary pause (one or two seconds) between the two phases of respiration. Some years later, when I studied ancient as well as some modern texts on therapeutic breathing, I found clear differences between various methods. For example, the traditional Indian pranayama emphasizes a pause between inhalation and exhalation. In the Rebirthing method, by contrast, there is considerable emphasis on connecting breathe-in and breathe-out phases of breathing. Intrigued by those belief systems, I tested the two methods. I was not able to validate any clinical benefits of one method over the other. So, I stayed with the method using a momentary pause, which seemed to facilitate initial training.

Breathing Through One Or the Other Nostril

Some ancient traditions recommend that one nostril be used for inhalation and the other for exhalation. I have not been able to validate any benefits of breathing in through one nostril and breathing out through another, or by using the two nostrils on an alternate basis. However, I did make an interesting and clinically useful observation. Doing tests with breathing through a single nostril at a time is an excellent way to find partial or complete blockage of one or both nostrils. In cases of nasal allergy, septal deviation, or nasal polyps, the difference in inhalation through two nostril can be dramatic, and underscore the importance of taking appropriate corrective actions.

In patient education, I divide training in Limbic Breathing in the following three stages: (1) Beginner's Limbic Breathing,Intermediate Limbic Breathing, and Advanced Limbic Breathing.

Beginners' Limbic Breathing

There are two objectives in the training for Beginner's Limbic Breathing: (1) to learn to become sensitive to and comfortable with the mechanical step cycle of breathing limbically; and (2) to learn how to use simple autogenic suggestions to warm hands by repeating the simple phrase My hands are limp and loose). For full descriptions of the specific method of Direct Pulses for this purpose, I refer the reader to Healing, Miracles, and the Bite of the Gray Dog (1997).4

In the Beginner's Limbic Breathing, the breathe-in phase is even and short. It is followed by a brief period of holding the breath for a second or two. Next follows a period of slow, even, and sustained breathing which may last for twice as long as the breathe-in period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 8. Schematic Expression of the Mechanics

of Beginners' Limbic Breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermediate Limbic Breathing

In the Intermediate Limbic Breathing, we again have two principal objectives: (1) to learn to prolong the breath-out period to 10 to 15 seconds, using a step-ladder approach; and (2) to learn to bring forth clear energetic perceptions not only in hands but also other parts of the body, such as warming (and preferably and Directed Pulses) in eyelids, ears, and feet, all at once and simultaneously.

The Intermediate limbic breathing, as the name implies, is a phase between early and advanced training. Many of my patients found it difficult to do the pulses and feel energy while they learn to merge the breathe-in with the hold period and the hold period with the breathe-out period. The idea of using a step ladder approach as an interim step came to me while working with a patient. The Intermediate limbic breathing is schematically illustrated in Figure 9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9. Schematic Expression of the Mechanics

of Intermediate Limbic Breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Limbic Breathing

In Advanced Limbic Breathing, again we have two objectives: (1) to achieve the state of limbic metabolism (as described above); and (2) to achieve higher states of consciousness manifested by one or more of the following observable phenomena: (a) an altered state of the breathing rhythm, with deep and even breathe-in, a smooth and imperceptible slowing to a complete stop (the hold period), and a very prolonged and sustained breathe-out period; (b) an altered state of the brain wave activity, with a predominance of the alpha-theta rhythm; (c) an altered state of the heart function, with a regular, slow, and even rhythm of the heart; (d) an altered state of circulation, with open arteries, with warmth, heaviness, flushing, a sense of "swelling", and awareness of an intensity of energy in all parts of the body; and (e) an altered state of the muscles in limbs and torso with dissolution of all tension and strain in these tissues. All meditators become familiar with this phenomenon early on during their training in the various modes of breathing. With continued practice, autoregulation with limbic breathing integrates profound clinical benefits of deep, slow and even breathing with those of improved circulatory patterns and energy perception. The mechanics of Advanced limbic breathing are schematically illustrated in Figure 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 10. Schematic Expression of the Mechanics

Advanced Limbic Breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Regulation and Improved Neurometabolic Functions

The effects of self-regulation on many neurophysiological and metabolic functions of the body have been examined with many methods, such as transcendental meditation (TM).13-17 Here, I summarize the results of two such illustrative studies. Esch and his German co-workers13 examined the effect of four different autoregulation approach on limbic morphinergic processes. The methods included were acupuncture, meditation, music therapy, and massage therapy. They found that frontal/prefrontal and limbic brain structures play a role in response to self-regulation, including: (1) functional improvements involving left-anterior regions of the brain; (2) reward and motivation circuitry; and (3) neuroendocrinologic responses; and (4) autonomic functions. Those observation were extended by Paul-Labrador et al.14 who focused on the effects of TM on a variety of components of the metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease (CHD). They conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 16 weeks of TM or active control treatment (health education), matched for frequency and time, at an academic medical center in a total of 103 subjects with stable CHD. The outcome parameters included: (1) blood pressure; (2) endothelial function measured by brachial artery reactivity testing; (3) cardiac autonomic system activity measured by heart rate variability; (4) lipoprotein profile; and (5) insulin resistance calculated as follows: fasting plasma glucose level in milligrams per deciliter multiplied with fasting plasma insulin level in microunits per milliliter. They concluded that the use of TM for 16 weeks in CHD patients improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone compared with a control group receiving health education.

In closing, I add here brief comments about the clinical relevance of limbic breathing. I have observed the best short-term clinical benefit of this type of breathing with: (1) heart palpitations; (2) headache (including migraine); (3) abdominal cramps; (4) leg cramp; (5) chronic neck and back pain; (6) miscellaneous acute pain syndromes; and (7) anxiety reactions. Among the long-term benefits of limbic breathing are: (1) acute coronary ischemic syndromes; (2) bronchial asthma, (3) Crohn's and ulcerative colitis; (4) depression; (5) spinal stenosis; and herniated discs in the neck and low back.

Reference:

1. Ali M: The Cortical Monkey and Healing. 1991. Bloomfield, New Jersey. Life Span Books.

2. Ali M: The Ghoraa and Limbic Exercise. 1993. Denville, New Jersey, Life Span Books.

3. Ali M: What Do Lions Know About Stress? 1996. Denville, New Jersey, Life Span Books.

4. Ali M: Healing, Miracles, and the Bite of the Gray Dog, 1997. Denville, New Jersey, Life Span Books.

1. Ali M: The Cortical Monkey and Healing. 1991. Bloomfield, New Jersey. Life Span Books. page 203.

6. Ali M. The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume II: The History and Philosphy of Integrative Medicine. 2001. New York. Canary 21 Press. 1998. 2nd edition 2006.

7. Ali M. The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume VI: Integrative Cardiology and Chelation Therapies: The Oxidative-Dysoxygenative Model and Chelation Therapies. New York. Canary 21 Press. 2000. 2nd edition 2006.

8 Ali M. The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume II: The History and Philosophy of Integrative Medicine. 2001. New York. Canary 21 Press. 1998. 2nd edition 2006.

9. Gandevia B. The breath of life: an essay on the earliest history of respiration. Part I. Austr. J. Physiotherapy. 1970;16:5-11.

10 Anaximenseswww.utm.edu/research/iep/a/anaximen.htm. Accessed on October 28, 2004

11. Eisenberg D, Wright TL. Encounters with Qi. W.W.Norton and Company, New York, 1985.

12. Huang Di Nei Jing. (The yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, circa 475-221 BC). Lu HC. A complete translation of the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine. Vol I-IV. Vancouver, Academy of Oriental Heritage, 1978.

13. Esch T, Guarna M, Bianchi E, Zhu W, Stefano GB. Commonalities in the central nervous system's involvement with complementary medical therapies: limbic morphinergic processes. Med Sci Monit. 2004;10MS6-17.

14 Paul-Labrador M, Polk D, Dwyer JH, Velasquez I et al. Effects of a randomized controlled trial of transcendental meditation on components of the metabolic syndrome in subjects with coronary heart disease. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Jun 12;166(11):1218-24.

15 Schneider RH, Walton KG, Salerno JW, Nidich SI et al. Cardiovascular disease prevention and health promotion with the transcendental meditation program and Maharishi consciousness-based health care. Ethn Dis. 2006;16(3 Suppl 4):S4-15-26.

16. Stefano GB, Esch T. Integrative medical therapy: examination of meditation's therapeutic and global medicinal outcomes via nitric oxide (review). : Int J Mol Med. 2005 16:621-30.

17. Infante JR, Torres-Avisbal M, Pinel P et al. Catecholamine levels in practitioners of the transcendental meditation technique. Physiol Behav. 2001;72:141-6.

 

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