What will you do before delivering a speech? Stepping on the ground to release your nervousness, or just sitting still and getting nothing to do?
In fact, taking a slow and deep breath does work when you need to relax in a short time, and many studies have found that "Resonant breathing," 5 seconds of inhalation and 5 seconds of exhalation, improves body performance [1].

Theories behind Resonant Breathing

1. A good oxygen supply is the material basis for maintaining a focused, calm mind.

If you are in a space with poor air circulation for a long time, or after a long period of working at a desk, lack of relaxation and exercise, you may be troubled by oxygen deficiency. Mild hypoxia can cause sleepiness, inattention and reduced short-term memory capacity, further leading to reduced cognitive levels and motor control. Therefore, an adequate supply of oxygen maintains a healthy and orderly state of the body and gives the brain sufficient energy to maintain a focused and calm mind.

2. Resonant breathing helps to maintain the oxygen supply to the brain.

Slow, deep breathing increases blood oxygen levels by facilitating gas exchange through the alveoli, further increasing the oxygen supply to all organs and tissues of the body, including the brain.
When the total volume of breath is a given, the faster the breathing rate, the higher the total ineffective cavity gas volume; conversely, resonant breathing increases the tidal volume by lengthening the breathing time, thus increasing the proportion of alveolar ventilation in the total breath, facilitating the diffusion of oxygen from the alveoli to the blood and maintaining a good oxygen supply to the body.
Based on similar principles, on the basis of regular slow, deep breathing, resonant breathing is much more desirable than other ways of breathing, during which the tidal volume and oxygen supply are less adequate.

3. Resonant breathing regulates the heart rate to a harmonious level.

Respirator sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is a mechanism in which breathing affects heart rate variability(HRV) and improves the balance between blood and airflow in the lungs, lowering the heart rate and having a relaxing and stress-reducing effect [2]. This way of breathing is used clinically as an anxiety-relieving breathing paradigm.
With resonant breathing, the RSA amplitude increases, creating a well-regulated respiratory-heart rate, which ultimately leads to a regular and stable heart rate and a state of harmony.

Benefits of Resonant Breathing

  1. Strengthen Attention Control
  1. Enhance Emotion Regulation
  1. Improve Self-awareness

Practice Resonant Breathing with FLOWTIME

Doing resonant breathing with a visual aid will bring you a better experience. With advanced apps, FLOWTIME allows you to see the effect of breathing on your body in a sightful way.
Here is an example provided by one of our customers. He practiced the 5-5 Resonant Breathing but got distracted in the middle. After he noticed his mind wondering, he brought his mind back to breathing.
As we can see from the graph, apart from the short period when the user's mind wondered and distracted, the meditator's heart rate was always in harmony for the rest of time. In this sense, we can safely draw a conclusion that resonant breathing plays a vital role in reaching a harmonious stage of our heart rate.

 

Resonant breathing affects not only the heart rate, but also the brain state. As we can see from the graph, from 1-5 minutes, the user focuses on his breath and keeps resonant breathing, during which his Relaxation value remains at a considerably high level. While in the middle of the process, the figure witnesses a mild drop in his wandering off. In the last 4 to 5 minutes, the meditator gradually realizes that he has wandered off and returns his attention to breathing, resulting in the bouncing back of his Relaxation to a high level.
[1] Bernardi, L., Spadacini, G., Bellwon, J., Hajric, R., Roskamm, H. and Frey, A.W., 1998. Effect of breathing rate on oxygen saturation and exercise performance in chronic heart failure. The Lancet, 351(9112), pp.1308-1311.
[2] Shaffer, F. and Meehan, Z.M., 2020. A practical guide to resonance frequency assessment for heart rate variability biofeedback. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14, p.1055.
September 12, 2022 — TeamFlowtime