Please share any evidence base that you use to validate your breathing or relaxation techniques, body to brain.

Well I have started tweeting, so I searched Twitter for ‘Parasympathetic Nervous System’. I found many words and wild statements about what it does, but there was zero evidence for any of it in the links available through the tweets. I look forward to being proved wrong and discovering some scientific tweets as well in the future.

For a few decades last century I taught about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in my Stress Management seminars. But this century I have been searching for evidence that I actually was stimulating the Parasympathetic with diaphragm breathing and relaxation like I claimed.

And then in 2012 I heard about John Sollers, a senior lecturer in Health Psycology at Auckland University who specialised in this area. . He introduced me to a body of research about brain to body parasympathetic nervous system outflow. I have put some references at the end of this blog. Plus he guided me through a small research project, measuring the Parasympathetic outflow of 5 clients over 4 months before and after a clinical session with me

AND I was blown away to find that there was an increased parasympathetic outflow after the body to brain relaxation and breathing I taught. When my clients were very going through stressful times and hadn’t practised there was only a negligible increase, but the positive results at other times gave me the confidence that it was the right time to write my book. Rest: a Science and an Art



Thayer, J.F.T., Lane, R.D., (2000). ‘A model of neurovisceral integration in emotion regulation and dysregulation’ in Journal of Affective Disorders , 61, pp201-216.


Thayer, J.F.T., Lane, R.D., (2009). ‘Claude Bernard and the heart-brain connection: Further laboration of a model of neurovisceral integration’ in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews , 33, pp81-88.


Thayer, J.F.T., Ahs, F., Fredrikson, M., Sollers III, J.J., Wager, T.D., (2012). ‘A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: Implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health’ in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, pp747-756.


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