What is Pranic Breathing
Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try closing one nostril at a time with your two front fingers and repeating the pattern using counts of eight. You are practicing prana, or, breathing. Pranic healing and pranic breathing practices use the breath to create calm and enhance the mind body connection. Much of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation focuses on the breath. Breathing helps reduce stress, increases oxygen flow, and focuses the mind. Research has found that nasal breathing specifically helps the brain in an impactful way.
Mindful reports on the study conducted by Northwestern Medicine. Smell, or the “olfactory” signal, is hugely influential on the brain. Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful memory recall triggers, which is why just smelling drugs and alcohol can trigger cravings in a recovering addict or alcoholic. There is a specific region of the brain where smell operates, called the “olfactory cortex”, or, the “smell cortex”.
This area of the brain takes what comes in through our noses (in terms of smell, that is) and then communicates with other areas of the brain. Smell can elicit emotions and cause us to feel certain feelings. For example, when we smell something reminiscent of a childhood memory, we might feel comforted and warm.
When we smell something reminiscent of something painful, like trauma, we might feel the physiological symptoms of panic. Either good response or bad response, both emotions and memories are called to the forefront when smells is activated.
The amygdala is the emotional processing center for the brain which receives some of its signals from the olfactory cortex. Memory as well as emotions are run through the hippocampus which is also activated by the olfactory cortex.
How Does Breathing Affect Recovery
So how does the nose, smell, and breathing play into recovery? “Our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains,” the article eloquently describes, “directly affecting electrical signals that communicate with memory and emotional processing centers.” Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can include a lot of moments where neither emotions nor memory are processing in a helpful way.
Turning to the breath, specifical nasal inhalation, can help override these difficult emotions by communicating with the very parts of the brain responsible for regulating them.
Pranic healing is one of the many alternative treatment methods offered at Lakehouse Recovery Center. We believe that recovery needs to be a matter of healing mind, body, and spirit. Our residential treatment programs are designed to promote wellness, encourage development, and demonstrate how fun life can be in recovery. For more information, call us today at 877.762.3707.