Time sequence of autonomic changes induced by daily slow-breathing sessions

  • Modesti P
  • Ferrari A
  • Bazzini C
 et al. 
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OBJECTIVE: Daily sessions of slow-breathing (6 breaths/min) significantly reduced 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in patients with mild hypertension and this effect persisted at least 6 months after the interruption of sessions. The sequence of changes induced by slow-breathing (SB) daily sessions on the modulation of ambulatory blood pressure, renal resistive index, heart rate variability (HRV), and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) was thus investigated in a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

METHODS: Thirty-seven patients (30-75 years, grade I essential hypertension), untreated with antihypertensive drugs, were randomized to daily sessions (30 min) of music-guided SB (
RESULTS: After 1 week, the intervention enhanced the parasympathetic modulation (high-frequency power; at least p < 0.05 vs both control and baseline) and reduced renal vascular resistance (p < 0.05 for both comparisons); after 1 month, the enhancement of BRS (p < 0.05 for both comparisons at both methods) paralleled a significant reduction in 24 h ABP (p < 0.05 for all comparisons).

INTERPRETATION: Repeated daily session of music-guided SB increased parasympathetic modulation and decreased renal resistive index early in the study. These changes were being followed by a positive modulation of BRS and blood pressure reduction.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Baroreflexes
  • Breathing exercises
  • Complementary therapies
  • Hypertension
  • Prevention and control

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  • Pietro Amedeo ModestiUniversita degli Studi di Firenze Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale e Clinica

  • Antonella Ferrari

  • Cristina Bazzini

  • Maria Boddi

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