Coherent Breathing is a slow controlled breathing technique with exhales and inhales of the same length and no breath-holding in between.
Coherent Breathing is known to help with chronic stress and anxiety. We recommend this practice when your measurement implies that your sympathetic nervous system is out of balance, affecting your mood and causing stress.
How to do it
You should inhale and exhale slowly and rhythmically, spending about 6 seconds to breathe in and 6 seconds to breathe out. That’s the pace we set in our audio.
We provide a 10-minute audio, but if you’re pressed for time, it’s ok to cut the practice short — even a 2-minute session will help regulate your body’s stress response system. However, the general rule is as follows: higher stress requires longer breathing sessions.
For beginners, we recommend starting with not very deep breaths — otherwise, you may feel faint due to hyperventilation. Deepen your breathing, as you feel comfortable.
If you’re not familiar with breathing practices, you may get bored or find it hard to concentrate. If so, don’t stop the practice: with the audio playing on the background, let your breathing follow the sound while you surf the news or flip through Instagram.
How it works
Coherent Breathing facilitates your body’s stress responses: it increases parasympathetic nervous system activity and decreases sympathetic nervous system activity, brings up the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (inhibitory neurotransmitter), reduces allostatic load (“wear and tear” on the body due to repeated or chronic stress), improves heart rate variability metrics.
The effect of Coherent Breathing is described in the following scientific works:
- In 2013, US scientists published an article on evidence-based breathing practices (including Coherent Breathing) beneficial in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress disorders. For details, see: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23538082
- In 2017, another group of US scientists studied the effect of intervention of yoga and Coherent Breathing practices on depressive symptoms. The research included 30 individuals (aged 18–64) with major depressive disorder. After the 12-week intervention, depressive symptoms declined significantly. For details, see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359682
In addition, Coherent Breathing is recommended to reduce stress and calm down by Arlin Cuncic, a clinical psychologist investigating social anxiety disorder since 2007. For details, see: https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-coherent-breathing-4178943