Bhramari Pranayama yoga’s effects on mental and physical health – systematic review

It is known that practicing yoga has number of positive mental and physical health effects on the human body. Indeed, numerous studies have shown in the past that practicing certain forms of yoga can be therapeutic. Now a new study looks at one kind of yoga in particular, Bhramari Pranayama, in order to see what kind of benefits it might have.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from Chennai, India, aimed to gain a better understanding on Bhramari Pranayama. According to the researchers, they gathered their research materials – that is, the earlier studies – by checking to see what had been published on the subject until May 2016. They relied on sources like Embase, Google Scholar, and Medline, and even conducted manual searches to make sure their own study covered the subject matter thoroughly.

The researchers also put forth certain objectives, methodology, study setting, and findings guidelines in order to guide their work. In reviewing and reporting the results from all of the included studies, they used the Methodological Quality Rating Scale (MQRS) and the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS).

One of the first things that the researchers observed about Bhramari Pranayama and its effects was the fact that it was demonstrative of parasympathetic predominance, and that this served as the basis of all the results gathered throughout: It helped reduce a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as their response to cold pressor tests. Other notable effects according to the researchers include improvement in cognition, reduction in irritability in tinnitus, favorable EEG changes, and overall reduction in stress levels.

In their study’s summary, the researchers clarified that the studies conducted on Bhramari Pranayama so far are quite limited in scope. There is indeed a vast area unexplored on this particular yoga practice. And the reason why it can be so effective is simply the fact that that it can be wildly different from many other common types of yoga.

It differs from even other types of pranayama. Bhramari Pranayama is described by the researchers as a “slow pace, breathing technique that is accompanied with a humming bee sound.” And it is due to the acoustic vibration produced by the humming that it has its effect on whoever begins to practice it.

“This acoustic vibration could have significant impact in producing the desired effect of Bhramari Pranayama,” remarked the researchers. They argue that since the brain can’t be exercised through typical stretching routines like you would your body, simple vibration could work as a worthwhile alternative. The fact that any vibration caused by a person’s own voice is unlikely to be harmful to their highly sensitive brain tissues.

If Pranayama is a study in achieving certain therapeutic benefits through the simple act of breathing, then Bhramari Pranayama looks to be one of its best iterations yet. This research has shown that it does indeed have the potential to affect multiple parts of one’s body, and as the researchers pointed out, “there is definitely a scope to have desirable effects on respiratory system, autonomic nervous system, stress, anxiety level, overall emotional status of the practitioner,” and so on. The only thing that’s left now is to refine the methods used in the study to figure out more about how and why the practice works in the first place. Until then, the researchers probably wouldn’t fault anyone for continuing to take part in it, especially if it benefits them in some way.

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