Take A Deep Breath! You'll Be Surprised To Know How Breathing Slowly Calms You Down

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Try it. Breathe slowly and smoothly. A pervasive sense of calm descends. Now breathe rapidly and frenetically. Tension mounts. Why? It’s a question that has never been answered by science, until now. In a new study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found out what causes this to happen. Let's learn more about the effects of breathing heavily and slowly.

When somebody wants to calm down, people advise them to breathe slowly and smoothly.


But why? It’s a question that has never been answered by science, until now. In a new study, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and their colleagues have identified a handful of nerve cells in the brainstem that connect breathing to states of mind.

We all know that breathing is an automatic act.


And this is the spinal bulb, which is one of the earliest developed parts of our brain that governs automatic behavior. However, breathing is an automatic function, a body function that we can arrange and manipulate at any time. Mark Krasnow, Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford University, who is at the head of his work, says that slow breathing is a miraculous advice for complementary medicine.

However, the cause of this effect created when we take deep breaths wasn't fully known.


In the same way that tension mounts when we breathe rapidly and frenetically, the part of the brain that controls breathing was actually discovered in the mice by the neurobiologist Jack Feldman twenty-five years ago, but little was known about it then. With the new study, it was revealed that our breathing exercises were controlled by 3,000 neurons in our spinal cord bulb.

Later on, 3,000 neurons were genetically examined.


And it was seen that these neurons were divided into 65 subgroups. According to Krasnoy Yackle, one of Krasnow's students, one of these subclasses, including about 200 neurons, triggered deep breathing in mice. When these neurons were activated, the mice began to breathe deeply, and when passive they went back to normal breathing.

And when these neurons were activated, the mice calmed down at the same time.

Moreover, Yackle found that these neurons extend from the spinal cord bulb to the locus coeruleus, the center of the brain's stimulation, which controls feelings such as stress, excitement, fear, panic, and vigilance. This part of the brain has a great importance in terms of mood because it is the part that tells the rest of the brain to be alert or calm.

Krasnow said about the results of the research that,


"We now know that the part of our brain that controls our breathing also determines the upper-level functions of the brain, and from this finding we can show how and in what way the division changes all the other parts of the brain."

In short, the advice given to those who want to relax was correct after all.


The result of the research shows that taking slow, deep breaths indeed has a relaxing effect on us. Even though it is difficult to live by thinking and controlling our breathing at any moment in everyday life, we can make great use of controlling our breathing for a while when we want to relax.

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