CONTROL OF HYPERTENSION WITH LIMBIC (FEATHER) BREATHING
Majid Ali, M.D.
Hypertension is addiction of arteries to tightness. Every cruelty suffered tightens the muscles in blood vessels as well as muscles throughout the body. The tighter the vessels, which carry blood from the heart (arteries), the higher the pressure of blood contained in them. Every encounter with someone’s stupidity adds to that tightness—and to the blood pressure. Every insensitivity experienced compounds the problem. Every ignorance suffered perpetuates tightness of the muscles and arteries. This is how arteries become addicted to tightness. With time, that tightness thickens the arterial muscle layer (just like arm muscles enlarge with weight lifting), and thickened muscle makes arterial spasm more intense, further raising the level of blood pressure. With passing years, the arteries become chronically tight and blood pressure is kept high. This is the beginning of the so-called essential hypertension, the type suffered by more than 95% of people diagnosed with high blood pressure. This is one of the crucial messages of my forthcoming book entitled The Pheasant, Oxygen, and Hypertension.
Disease is separation from one’s nature. In the broader context of hypertension, the energetic basis of that separation is blockages in oxygen signaling and oxygen-driven cellular energetics. In the chapter entitled “The Oxygen Model of Hypertension” in The Pheasant, Oxygen, and Hypertension, I include a sketch of the Three-Legged Throne of Oxygen to illustrate essential aspects of this model. The three legs are acid-alkali balance, oxidant-antioxidant regulation, and clotting-unclotting dysequilibrium (CUD). The legs of the throne are weakened by the trio of toxic environment, toxic foods, and toxic thoughts (Figure 1)
Anger Is Acidifying.
Anger is oxidizing. Anger favors clotting over unclotting in all bodily fluids. All three factors weaken the legs of the oxygen throne. At fundamental levels, the negative physical and chemical effects of anger cannot be separated from those of resentment, hostility, victimization, rage, and the so-called stress response. All those emotions weaken the legs of the oxygen throne the same way. All of them are acidifying, oxidizing, and favor clotting over unclotting in all bodily fluids. I should add here terrors turns into toxicity, and toxicity into terror. Thus, exposure to every toxin fans the fires of anger and hostility. This is the simple scientific explanation of the dangerous combination of rage and illicit and doctor-prescribed drugs on hypertension.
Cortical Breathing (Subclinical Hyperventilation)
One can alter one’s medical history dramatically by the way one breathes. This is one of the most precious insights I have received from my patients.
We live in an age of air-hunger. There are two primary reasons for being air-hungry:
We overbreathe to breathlessness—and sicken ourselves in many ways; and
The lungs of the planet Earth—forests, trees, and plants—are incrementally clogged.
Overbreathing—subclinical hyperventilation is the term I used for it in past publications—results from overdriven body chemistry. Rapid and shallow breathing slowly and steadily disrupts the finely orchestrated balance between oxygen, carbon dioxide (CO2) acidity, free radical activity in the lungs, circulating blood, and mitochondria (the cellular structures that generate energy with oxygen-driven energetics).
CONTROL OF HYPERTENSION WITH FEATHER BREATHING
Here is a profound irony: There are rising concerns about carbon dioxide emissions and carbon imprints, but no one has been sickened by carbon toxicity yet. By contrast, an enormous number of people are sickened by low blood carbon dioxide due to subclinical hyperventilation, but the issue is seldom, if ever, addressed in mainstream medicine—not surprising since no pharmaceutical company claims to have a drug for it yet.
There are two spiritual considerations of overbreathing to breathlessness. First, the primary reason one overbreathes is that one thinks too much about oneself. Second, the real spiritual antidote for overbreathing is compassion, which, simply stated, is thinking about others. For compassion to be authentic, it has to be universal. The struggle for authentic compassion is a tall order. Until one reaches a place of such compassion, Limbic Breathing, in my view, is the best beginning.
The Autonomic Breathing Test (ABT)
In October 2009 issue of the Townsend Letter, I described the Autonomic Breathing Test (ABT) with the following features: (1) it is simple and convenient for the staff to perform; (2) the results obtained are objective and quantitative; (3) it provides clear metrics for measuring the effects of self-regulatory measures; and (4) it is easily teachable to patients as a self-administered test for follow-up use at home. I asked a cardiologist-friend to read the article and give me his critique. He made some gracious and encouraging comments and then asked, “Don’t the effects of Limbic Breathing on blood pressure and the heart rate disappear as soon as the person stops?” I realized this was an important omission in my article and requires some comments.
In my article, I described Feather Breathing and presented the results obtained in a series of 232 patients with chronic disorders.
· New Preview Video Blood Pressure Basics
· Preview Video Limbic Breathing
Feather Breathing is the term used for a simple form of Limbic Breathing in which the focus is purely on effortlessly prolonged exhalation. In Feather Breathing, one:
– Imagines that there is a thin feather almost touching the nostrils;
– Breathes out through the nostrils so slowly as to not move the delicate pringle of the feather;
– Exhales for as long as possible, but comfortably;
– Completely ignores the mode and duration of breathing in—exhalation after a gentle
prolonged inspiration is always good and the issues of breathing through one or the other nostril or mouth breathing are not relevant in Feather Breathing inspiration;
– Does not allow the mind to compete with simple mechanics of Feather Breathing; and
– After initial training, slides in and out of Feather Breathing at work and at home without conscious effort.
The primary strength of Limbic Breathing is the prevention and/or reversal of the adverse effects of subliminal hyperventilation on oxygen homeostasis. Feather Breathing dramatically improves oxygen transport and functionalities in times of stress and autonomic dysequilibrium.
The ABT Test Results Observed in 232 Patients
No attempt was made to select patients for this study. The Institute only draws chronically ill people with autoimmune, environmental, nutritional, degenerative, and neoplastic disorders. All 232 patients were included sequentially. This approach maximized the clinical relevance of the test as applied to integrative practices in which the focus is on caring for the whole person rather than on a disease. The data for all patients are presented in the table below.
Discussion of the Results
Not unexpectedly, some patients showed anomalous responses during the first application of the ABT, such that their post-instruction blood pressure and heart rate values were higher than the pre-instruction values. All 18 patients in this category (Group E) had serious and/or advanced disorders, including disseminated cancers and neurodegenerative disorders.
Comparative review of values obtained with regular patterns of breathing (pre-instruction) and Feather Breathing (post-instruction) of the subjects in Groups A-D shows remarkable consistency of a pattern of reduction in the values of lowered blood pressure and heart rate with Feather Breathing. Specifically, the average systolic pressure values were reduced by 19, 4, 19, and 12 mmHg for Groups A-D respectively. The corresponding values for the heart rate were 5, 11, 9, and 7.5 respectively.
Saving the Heart Energy
One feature of the ABT study data requires special note: the values for heartbeats saved per day (if the rate of breathing documented during Feather Breathing were to be maintained) were dramatic for Groups A-D (7,200 in A; 15,840 in B; 12,960 in C; and 11,420 in D). This proved to be the most telling part of the test for the patients. Cardiac beat is an energetically expensive proposition. Even subjects without medical background recognize the enormous significance of this finding. For some patients, the number of heartbeats saved with Feather Breathing exceeded 40,000 beats per day.
I close this essay by returning to the question of my cardiologist-friend:
“Don’t the effects of Limbic Breathing on blood pressure and the heart rate disappear as soon as the person stops?”
Every “Feather Breath” takes one along the path of understanding. Every feather breath loosens one’s tightened arteries and tight muscles. Every such breath provides physiological benefits. The more frequently one breathes limbically—walking, working, sitting at home, doing dishes in the kitchen—the deeper the beneficial physiological effects that normalize blood pressure. Hundreds of my patients with hypertension attest to my statements.
I refer the readers to my book Integrative Cardiology (2002), the sixth volume of The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine for a large body of additional information on this subject.