Researchers from Japan recently published a study in the biomedical research journal exploring the use of abdominal breathing techniques to aid with weight loss. From a multitude of studies and practical/clinical experience we know that abdominal breathing creates changes in our nervous system, hormone levels, brain chemistry and many other aspects. While there are a multitude of causes and contributing factors for people dealing with weight issues - frequently eating beyond our need is one of the main factors. While people may do this, however, can be different - addictions, it grounds them psychologically, they are depressed, habit, poor understanding of calorie dense food, marketing, portion sizes, etc.
This study was fairly unique in it's simplicity - using the breath as a way of activating the sympathetic nervous system which can aid in weight loss by increasing metabolic activity. The method used is the "senobi" breathing method which can be performed seated or standing and with fingers intertwined or hands apart. Basically you extend your hands above your head, palms away (with either fingers intertwined or not), lean back (neck arched towards back) - this posture imposes abdominal breathing. You then inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds - repeating 3 times (total of 30 seconds). You would do this before every meal.
The study found a number of positive benefits from this related to weight loss and found significant losses in body fat after 1 month of regular practice. Using various measures researchers found substantial up-regulation of sympathetic nerve activity and increased urinary hormone secretion after 1 min of the senobi breathing method. Interestingly they did not find these effects in the non-obese control group.
Mixing a deep breathing exercise with this, with a moment of reflection on yourself and the food you are about to eat would surely lead to even greater results as this awareness would begin to effect other important measures as food quality, portion control, etc.
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