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Anxiety & Breathing

The respiratory center is a group of neurons in pons & medulla oblongata. The center receives afferent impulses via several cranial nerves- the trigeminals, glassopharyngeal & the vagi and also pro-prioceptive impulses from the skeletal structures of the thoracic cage ribs & their joints with the vertebrae. The respiratory center sends efferent connections to the intercostals muscles via thoracic spinal nerves (T1 to T12) & diaphragm via the phrenic nerves (C2C3C4) The rate & depth of respiration is adjusted to maintain PCO2 & PO2 within normal range. In addition, it is also modulated by proprioceptive afferent impulses, reaching respiratory center. (Degree of stretch on the lung alveoli, the degree of contraction of inter costal muscles & diaphragm, air content of thorax & volume of air flowing thro’ the airway passage – nostrils to alveoli).

‘Panic disorder’ is a name given to a clinical condition in which the sufferer recurrently gets what are called panic attacks. It is defined as a brief episodes usually lasting about 10-20 minutes & is characterized by intense anxiety & fear. On careful enquiry these patients reveal that they have a feeling of air hunger, meaning there by, they get a choking sensation i.e. no air is entering the lungs. This induces fear of death leading to panic status.

On examination, no airway obstruction or pathology is found out.

This can be due to interruption of afferent signals going from respiratory air flow, (Pro-prioceptive failure)& those carried by trigeminal, glossopharyngeal & vagus nerves.

This situation can be helped by

  • Omkar chanting
  • Conscious Deep Breathing
    (Abdominal Breathing + Bucket Handle movement of 8th,9th 10th ribs + Pump Handle Movement of sternum + Clavicular Breathing).
  • Yogic postures with props
    (Supta Veerasan + Supta Badha Konasan + Viparit Dandasan)
    This is narrated by Mahamuni Patanjali in (1:31) as additional obstacles in the Yogic Study Pathway. Dukha+Daurmanasya+Angamejayatva+ Shwasprashwasa i.e. Sorrow, fickelmindedness, shakiness-restlessness – anxiety & irregularities of inhalation & exhalation.

Omkar chanting prolongs exhalation leading to increase in air flow in the breathing passage. It also sends proprioceptive impulses thro’trigemenals (nasal passage, nasopharynx, oropharynx) acoustic nerve & vagi. (larynx & laryngopharynx.) It can instantly relieve panic attack.