Certain specific breathing exercises have a positive effect on kids with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), found psychologists in Russia. They help in increasing their attention span, reducing hyperactivity, and delaying the onset of tiredness.
The study whose results were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, tested the effects of the said exercises on various behavioural aspects of 16 kids with ADHD aged 6-7. In addition to breathing exercises, psychologists used body-oriented techniques exercises with polar states ‘tension-relaxation’.
Head of the Laboratory of Brain and Neurocognitive Development at Ural Federal University Sergey Kiselev informed that the part of the brain that is responsible for the regulation of brain activity – the reticular formation – is deficient in children with ADHD. “We used a special breathing exercise based on the development of diaphragmatic rhythmic deep breathing – belly breathing. Such breathing helps to better supply the brain with oxygen and helps the reticular formation to better cope with its role,” he added.
He further explained that when the reticular formation receives sufficient amounts of oxygen, it begins to better regulate the child’s state of activity. The exercises were seen to have both immediate and long-term effects on the kids. After practising the breathing technique for a year, the children were found to have automated their breathing in accordance with the exercises, supplying more oxygen to their brains. This seemingly small change was found to have a profound effect on the psyche and overall wellbeing of the child.