Kapalabhati is one of the rapid breathing techniques, known as automatic inhalation technique. Kapal is the cranium. Bhati means light, splendour, perception or knowledge. This pranayama invigorates the entire brain and the centres responsible for subtle perception and insight. Kapalabhati is one of the six cleansing processes described in Hathayoga. Since it is a breathing exercise, therefore, it has found its place also in the book describing pranayamic exercises. Kapalabhati has a profound effect on various systems of the body making it suitable for modern day needs. This study was conducted to study the influence of kapalabhati pranayama on oxygen saturation and blood pressure.
Materials &Methods: 60 subjects satisfying the inclusion and exclusion criteria were recruited randomly to both the groups i.e. Kapalabhati (study group) and Normal breathing (control group).Subjects practiced respective practices for ten minutes. The assessment was done just before and immediately after the practices in both the groups.
Results: Our study showed that there was a significant increase in Diastolic Blood pressure [F(1,56)=10.15, p=0.02], SpO2 [F(1,56) =27.00,p≤0.001]suggesting sympathetic stimulation and a significant reduction in pulse rate[F(1,56)=5.573,p=0.022] in the yoga group following kapalabhati after adjusting for their baseline values, age and gender. There was no significant change observed in these parameters among the control group. [Systolic BP (p=0.089), Diastolic BP (p=.069), SpO2(p=0.097), pulse rate(p=0.87)].
Interpretation & Conclusion: Practice of kapalabhati pranayama increases diastolic BP and Oxygen saturation immediately in novices. Thus the practice exercises the diaphragm vigorously and enhances the better oxygenation. Further studies are required to understand the physiological changes followed by the practice of kapalbhati pranayama among Hypertensive patients.