Controlled breathing, also known as “paced respiration”, has long been a feature of Eastern health practices. Since the ancient days, practitioners have already discovered the secrets of controlled breathing, such that they are able to control the internal state of body to achieve inner coherence (“Yin” and “Yang” balance in Chinese saying) and improve physical state of body. Nowadays, the influence of such great knowledge can be seen from some well-known health practices too, such as yogic breathing (India) or Qi Gong (China). Even some medical researches had claimed the direct benefits of controlled breathing to Heart Rate Variability (HRV) maintenance and improvement. HRV is a representation of heart rhythm under the control of autonomic nervous system (ANS), which control our sympathetic functions and parasympathetic functions. Good HRV ensures good ANS functions of your body. Thus, controlled breathing is a great exercise to train your HRV and ANS functions.
iRelief provides breathing guidance that is programmed based on the Yogic Breathing Ratio Chart from a Yoga Journal advertisement in Body + Soul Magazine (2007). From yogic perspective, a complete controlled breathing cycle consists of 4 major phases, which are inhale, holding your breath, exhale and holding your breath again. Different types of breathing ratio (differences in duration of each breathing phase) will incur different effects on our HRV. Along with the slow breathing practice which is encouraged by health practitioners, iRelief also provides 3 different breathing modes to choose from, which are relaxing mode, energising mode and balance mode. Users can improve their slow breathing techniques from time to time by decreasing the target breath per minute in the setting page.
iRelief is more than just a breathing trainer. It can also tell you how well your training performance is by providing appropriate bio-feedbacks. This is achieved by monitoring your heart rate variability (HRV) when you put the tip of your index finger on the rear camera lens (no external heart rate monitor is needed). From the obtained HRV, we will calculate your respective coherence score. Unlike average heart rate per minute interval that we often see in a medical pulse oximeter, HRV is measured by the variation in beat-to-beat interval. Based on existing studies, slow and deep breathing affects our HRV in a manner that our HRV increases when we inhale and decreases when we exhale. When our inner state is not coherent (due to stress or negative emotion), our HRV pattern is messy and irregular.
After practicing controlled breathing, you may find out that your HRV pattern is in a more regular wave form, and there is a big difference of HRV value when you inhale and exhale. This means that you are on the right path of achieving your state of coherence.
A well HRV is believed to produce benefits such as:
- Freeing the whole system from tension, not only the physical body but also the conscious and subconscious mind.
- Relieving symptoms of asthma.
- Getting rid of negative emotions like depression, anger, arrogance, greed & so on.
- Improving the circulation of blood throughout the body and balance your blood pressure.
- Enhancing the function of several organs, which include the kidneys, pancreas, intestines, diaphragm, lungs and the heart.
- Removing the toxins from within the body.
- Preventing various diseases by strengthening the immune system.
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