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Deep Breathing may help Dry Eyes

An article in The Ocular Surfaceoutlines details of research conducted at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan. The study involved twenty Japanese women ranging in age from 20 to 54 and examined the effects that deep breathing had on tear secretions. Knowing that the parasympathetic system directs the lacrimal glands to produce tears, researchers wanted to see if abdominal breathing would help to improve the flow of tears. Abdominal breathing has been found to help restore autonomic control and the technique involves slowly inhaling air through the nose, pausing briefly and then slowly exhaling. For this study, the participants had two visits to the research lab. One visit just had the participants breathe normally and then the other visit utilized the deep breathing. The participants inhaled slowly for four seconds and then exhaled for six. Researchers measured tear volume before and after the sessions and then at 15 minutes and 30 minutes after. Within 15 minutes of the abdominal breathing session, tear volume had increased almost 48% compared to the volume of tears prior to the session. Normal breathing sessions did not see any increase in tear volume and there was no increase in tear volume immediately following or 30 minutes after the abdominal breathing. Whether or not there is a long-term benefit of abdominal breathing remains to be seen.*

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