Slow breathing, also referred to as “paced respiration” is a popular natural treatment for hot flashes. A hot flash is a passing sensation of intense warmth and sweating, common in women in their menopausal stage.
The North American Menopause Society together with countless physicians encourages menopausal women to practice the slow breathing technique at least twice a day for 10 to15 minutes at a time and also during the beginning of a hot flash.
The breathing technique involves taking around 6 to 8 long breaths per minute. It is commonly known as a method for easing anxiety and tension. Some people claim that it can also normalize the parts of the nervous system, regularizing the heart rate along with other fundamental functions of the body.
However, a recent clinical trial indicated that the breathing technique fails to alleviate hot flashes.
Despite the prevalent belief that the slow breathing technique can ease unpleasant symptoms of hot flashes, a study printed in the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicated that it found no positive results from the technique.
That is why the chief author of the study advices against looking into slow breathing as a potential remedy for hot flashes. Obviously, it’s best not to advise women to rely on such pointless treatments like slow breathing. It would only be a waste of time and would only prolong the suffering of the patients. In short, it only delays finding a treatment for the sufferer that actually works. This is according to the Indian University’s School of Nursing professor, Janet Carpenter.
Since the breathing technique fails to alleviate hot flashes, alternative medicine experts are looking at other treatments like herbs, supplements and a special diet. However, there is still no definitive study conducted regarding such treatments.
As stated by Janet Carpenter and her associates, the slow breathing approach came from past research which indicated that women can actually feel a degree of relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of hot flashes with a proper breathing technique. The problem with these studies is that they were poorly planned, not deliberated efficiently or conducted under unfeasible laboratory conditions.
This is the reason why Carpenter and her associates had conducted a randomized, precise and controlled trial. A number of participants in the study were assigned to perform the slow breathing technique in their everyday lives; some participants were instructed to continue with normal breathing and some to practice fake breathing technique.
The study involved 218 women wherein 88 were randomly assigned to do the slow breathing technique, 86 of them were requested to take rapid, shallow breathing and the remaining 44 were asked to act as they would ordinarily do whenever the onset of a hot flash. After 16 weeks, there was no significant difference amongst the three groups which is proof that the breathing technique fails to ease hot flashes.
As of now, similar studies are being conducted by other medical experts.