Some science behind the scenes


A pneumograph or respiratory strain gauge uses a flexible sensor band that is placed around the chest, abdomen, or both. The strain gauge method can provide feedback about the relative expansion/contraction of the chest and abdomen, and can measure respiration rate (the number of breaths per minute).

Clinically, biofeedback therapists use pneumograph biofeedback with patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders, asthma, chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD), essential hypertension, panic attacks, and stress.  Clinically it is thus used to detect and correct so called ‘dysfunctional breathing’, for example

  • clavicular breathing  - breathing that primarily relies on the external intercostals and the accessory muscles of respiration to inflate the lungs
  • reverse breathing  - breathing where the abdomen expands during exhalation and contracts during inhalation
  • thoracic breathing  - shallow breathing that primarily relies on the external intercostals to inflate the lungs
  • apnea  - suspension of breathing

 Thus it can be used to help with lung diseases , anxiety and stress.

From the point of view of spiritual experience, however, it can help with determining whether the controlled breathing techniques are being correctly employed – so for example is the person using diaphragmatic breathing or not, is the breath being held or not, has the shallowness of breathing increased, has the person increased or decreased the rate of breathing?

The specific numbers often do not matter, it is the relative numbers that matter more.