RT perspective: Pranayama for Asthma

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word. “Prana” = Universal Life force and “Yama”= to regulate or extend. It can be defined as an expansion and control of prana (life force) through yogic techniques. So, basically it’s a combination of systemic inhalation and exhalation. Some of the benefits of Pranayama include: Increased memory, reduced blood pressure, decreased stress levels etc.

Now, as a Respiratory Therapist, I wanted to know whether pranayama can be an alternative therapy for my Asthmatic patients? I did some research and this is what I discovered. According to CDC, Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Wheezing, tightness of chest, shortness of breath are some of the most common symptoms of Asthma. Tobacco smoke, dust mites, pets, mold, outdoor air pollution are some asthma triggers. Normally, a patient with Asthma is treated with various respiratory medications such as bronchodilators. Can a Nonpharmacological therapy such as pranayama improve lung function in Asthmatics?

Well, a study has been conducted to see the efficacy of pranayama in patients with bronchial asthma of mild to moderate severity. According to International Journal of Yoga, 50 cases of bronchial asthma were studied for 12 weeks. Patients were divided into two groups. Group A and Group B. Patients in Group A were asked to do pranayama for 20 minutes twice daily for a period of 12 weeks. On the other hand, asthmatics in Group B (Control group) were treated with meditation for 20 minutes twice daily for 12 weeks. Results after 12 weeks showed significant improvement in symptoms of these patients. Pulmonary function test (PFT) results showed improved FEV1 and PEFR in Group A as compared to Group B. It was concluded that patients with mild to moderate severity of Asthma can benefit from Pranayama. Pranayama, is considered to be a boon for many who practice it on a daily basis. However, I believe that more research is needed to support its efficacy in Asthmatic population.

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Our thoughts…An illusion?

We read Newspapers, watch news, check social media on almost daily basis. Now, lets just ask ourselves..how many times do we check the status of our own thoughts? Yes, you read it right..” status of our own thoughts”! There is a reason why I am emphasizing on these words. Oh, come on! Ruchi, we are all busy. We have no time for such philosophical sh#t as some might say. Alright, I tested and tried something which I want to share in this blog.  Here is a mini exercise for you to perform.. Relax! I won’t ask you to hold your breath. Pause for a sec, close your eyes.. watch your thoughts. At this very minute, what are you thinking? what are your thoughts?  Are you even thinking about something? Let me share my personal experience with you..the very second I was aware of checking my thoughts…my thoughts completely disappeared. Gosh!! how did that happen? All kinds of thoughts come to my head…but the very moment, I attempted to examine them..they vanished. In other words, as soon as I begin to check my thoughts ..they went away. So, ladies and Gentlemen ..what are thoughts? simply an illusion? Feel free to share your experiences here. Happy thinking:)

The Rain…. A message?

Ever wondered why kids enjoy watching the rain ? They have curious minds. Kids are more present in the moment. We grownups on the other hand, like to avoid it. Somewhere, we lost that curious child within us. We no longer want to live in the present moment. When was the last time you enjoyed the feeling of those rain droplets on your skin? Just like the rain, God showers his blessings upon each one of us. Lets not let it go unnoticed.  So, next time get drenched in his showers of blessings. Feel every bit of those rain drops on your skin …how do you feel? Do you feel more present in the moment? Feel free to share your experiences here..

True calling

D5D57634-786E-43F0-8CAB-88C013C7E87F  What is Spirituality to you? Everyone has their own versions of what spirituality means to them . For me, being spiritual is all about connecting to something greater than ourselves or our true consciousness. Do you often catch yourself searching for the real purpose of your existence ? Or have you really wondered what your real passion or inner calling for something is ? As I am growing older, I am becoming more and more aware of these thoughts. Is this really my inner calling to know my “higher self”?