Breathing retraining benefit’s women’s blood pressure and mental well-being during COVID-19 responses

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Winzar, Claire
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Applied Sciences (Wellness and Rehabilitation)
Southern Institute of Technology (SIT)
Trezise, Joanne
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
women's health
blood pressure
breathing dysfunction
breathing exercises
mental health
cardiovascular disease
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
Winzar, C. (2022). Breathing retraining benefit’s women’s blood pressure and mental well-being during COVID-19 responses. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Health Sciences (Wellness and Rehabilitation)). Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), New Zealand.
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 1. To assess twenty female volunteers' recall, implementation, and maintenance of healthy lifestyle behavior recommendations 2. To measure the incidence of symptoms and signs of DB in eleven female volunteers 3. To evaluate whether breathing retraining (brief education and paced breathing intervention for four weeks) modifies DB symptoms/signs, BP, HRV, psychological stress, and mental well-being measure 4. To determine if participants think breathing retraining is feasible to support their physical and mental well-being self-efficacy ABSTRACT Raised blood pressure (BP) is the greatest contributor to women’s cardiovascular disease and death. While the link between night-time dysfunctional breathing (DB) and BP is known, the incidence of daytime DB and its contribution to health concerns in the general population is unclear. This study aimed to assess the relationship between daytime DB and mental and physical health. DB, BP, heart rate variability, and mental well-being were assessed in eleven women (age 47.8±12 years; weight  81.5±18.4 kg; height 167.9±7.3 cm; BMI 29.1±7.6 kg/m2) before and after a four-week breathing retraining intervention. An interview collected participant thoughts to gauge the benefits, difficulties, and feasibility of breathing retraining. Non-parametric and thematic analyses were employed. Following the intervention, overall DB reduced by 54.5%. Statistically significant changes were observed in the self-evaluation of breathing (p = 0.005) and Nijmegen questionnaires (p = 0.003), STOPBANG (p = 0.014), systolic BP (p < 0.05 ), perceived stress (p = 0.007), and well-being (p = 0.009). Targeted breathing retraining has the potential to mitigate stress-related mental/physical illness during unpredictable and persistent life stressors. All participants stated they would continue with paced breathing
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