THE SCIENCE BEHIND
Slow-paced breathing: proven by science and centuries of human experience
pneemo® Atemtakter was developed based on decades of research, which itself was inspired by a simple technique that has been used by humankind for self-healing for centuries.
pneemo®'s gentle pattern of vibrations was precisely programmed to optimise your breathing rhythm for better breathing and better living.
A centuries-old technique with a multitude of benefits
Relaxation is as important to our health – both mental and physical – as activity, but modern society has us placing too much emphasis on the latter and not enough on the former.
This is where slow paced breathing comes in. It is a practice that has been used for centuries, and in particular, for the treatment of respiratory problems in Hindu cultures16.
One of the most noteworthy techniques is Pranayama, which is still used in modern Yoga today. Pranayama is said to clear energy blocks within the body in order to calm the mind by entering into a meditative state.
Those who practice Pranayama and similar breathing techniques have reported beneficial mental and physiological effects7. This includes alleviation of the symptoms associated with stress and anxiety disorders, enhancement of mood and sharpening of focus7.
When we breathe, not only do our lungs take in air, but our cells perform detoxification processes to optimise cellular function. When we sleep, this detoxification happens on a deeper level, allowing our bodies to repair and recuperate from the stressors of the day.
"Relaxation is as important as activity, as it is a time in which we repair ourselves.
Nowadays, however, too much emphasis is placed on activity, and not enough on relaxation.
As a result, we find ourselves getting increasingly stressed, and allowing ourselves little time to recover."
Slow paced breathing is a practice that has been used for centuries to stimulate this regenerative state, as it signals to the body that we’re sleeping. Physiologically, this results in improved heart rate variability and lower blood pressure. This understanding led to the development of pneemo as a tool to help people trigger repair and regeneration via guided slow paced breathing.
However, this is not just a gadget to help you relax, it can be a non-medicated therapy for a range of mental and physical conditions and situations. Promising results have been reported by patients with stress, anxiety, fear, mild hypertension, asthma, concentration, and many more. It’s really so versatile, as it unlocks the self-healing power that any human already has within them, lessening dependence on medication.
Slow-paced breathing is based on science
We were inspired by the work of Professor Thomas H. Loew, a well-known German specialist in psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics, who studied at the universities of Florence, Ulm and Erlangen-Nuremberg and is a specialist in psychotherapeutic medicine (1995) and psychiatry (1999), and has been teaching and researching at the University of Regensburg since 2000.
Professor Loew has additional qualifications in medical informatics and psychoanalysis. His scientific interest is in functional relaxation, for which he is also active as a lecturer and researcher.
"Professor, why is the 4-6 rhythm the best?"
An interview in Freiburg.
An interview in Freiburg.
There are all kinds of rhythms, such as the 5-second inhale and 5-second exhale (aka. Valsalva breathing). However, Professor Loew, amongst other scientists ,have confirmed that to increase heart rate variability (HRV), the 4-6 rhythm is the most appropriate for most people. With it, one can see the synchronisation between the brain and the heart. It is the only rhythm where you can actually observe the breath in the brain and it is also perceived as pleasant.
In yoga breathing techniques, emphasis is placed on holding the breath. Why not in slow-paced breathing?
Professor Loew: "In follow-up surveys after courses (e.g. in spas or rehabilitation clinics, where relaxation methods are regularly offered), we have experienced that only about one fifth of the patients who have completed such a measure actually use what they have learned. That is a problem. The reason is people don't like to practise. People don't like to do their homework.
Of course, yoga is a great thing. But only a quarter of a million people in Germany actually practise it. And over 82 million don't practise it. So I can't ask people to learn very sophisticated breathing rhythms there. Because they won't!
Das ist mit dem gesunden Menschenverstand zu verstehen. Wenn ich die Atmung so komplex gestalte, dass ich nur viermal in der Minute atme, dann überfordert das die allermeisten Menschen. Die finden das nicht angenehm.
Meditation and relaxation are not the same thing
Another thing that should not be underestimated is that 'meditation' and 'relaxation' are often used interchangeably. But they are not the same thing. Different things happen in the brain during meditation and during relaxation. So when I pause a breathing rhythm, I put my body into a cellular state of alarm, so to speak, because no oxygen is coming in. And that has an advantage. I activate my senses as an emergency programme. I have to know what's going on, why no more air is coming in. That's what I want to achieve in meditation. That's why the breathing pause is an important component, because I want to increase my awareness of environmental stimuli. But I don't want to do that in relaxation.
Exercises with slow-paced breathing help after respiratory diseases and with Long COVID
Breathing has become the focus of attention due to the pandemic. How does slow-paced breathing come into play?
Professor Loew: "One thing is that people who have a respiratory disease automatically become anxious, because it is so central to their lives. And that's where slow-paced breathing helps to relieve tension."
"The second problem is that people who have had COVID, often with big problems with their breathing, have become accustomed to a breathing pattern that is not helpful in everyday life now that the lungs have healed and the vessels are in order. So it's a dysfunctional, breathing pattern that is too fast. It then builds up, because the energy goes into breathing, so to speak, the energy is not enough to train better physically."
"We combine a very structured physical training that does not reach full capacity. We go to 75% of what a person can do and always try to stay below this fatigue threshold, which often takes its toll on people for a long time."
"Post-Exertional Malaise (PEM) is a huge problem. Patients exert themselves and then they are done for three days. So we try to work out a threshold where this doesn't develop. Through slow-paced breathing, we help to repeatedly lower the stress levels, and then after some months, they slowly start to increase their activity."
Reticular Activating System: Definition & Function Video (2021). Reticular Activating System: Definition & Function - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [online] Study.com. Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/reticular-activating-system-definition-function.html [Accessed 25 Mar. 2021].