Autonomic Breathing Test| Majid Ali MD


The Autonomic Breathing Test (ABT) is a standardized test which we use in our practice to assess the functions of the autonomic nervous system, as well as to monitor the efficacy of our program of self-regulation. It has the following four characteristics:

  •  it is simple to perform
  •  the results obtained are objective and quantitative
  •  it provides clear metrics for measuring the effects of self-regulatory measures
  •  it is easy to teach

The Development of the Autonomic Breathing Test

We overbreathe to breathlessness—and sicken ourselves in many ways. Rapid and shallow breathing—”subclinical hyperventilation” seems an appropriate designation for it—is the mark of our time. It steadily disrupts oxygen homeostasis. Since the core issues in the health/dis-ease/disease continuum are oxygen signaling and oxygen-driven cellular energetics and most of the mechanisms of disruption are mediated by the autonomic nervous system, it seemed appropriate to base the test on the mode of breathing and select autonomic parameters—the heart rate and blood pressure —as quantitative metrics. The next issue was to standardize the training methodology and select the periods of breathing for optimal yield. This was done by testing the effects of various time periods, carefully considering the factors of simplicity, feasibility in a clinical setting, availability of staff, and the clinical usefulness of the data obtained. The previously described method of Beginner Limbic Breathing 1 was modified, designated as “Feather Breathing,” (described in the next section) and selected for training in slow breathing. Tables 1 and 2 show the steps for performing the test and recording the results respectively.

Feather Breathing

Feather Breathing is the term used for a simple form of Limbic Breathing.  Its focus is purely on effortlessly prolonged exhalation.  With Feather Breathing , one:

Imagines that there is a thin feather almost touching the nostrils

Breathes out through the nostrils so slowly as not to move the delicate feather

Exhales for as long as comfortably possible

Completely ignores the mode and duration of breathing in – exhalation after a gentle prolonged inspiration is always good and the concerns of breathing through one or the other nostril or the mouth  are not relevant in Feather Breathing.

Does not allow the mind to compete with simple mechanics of Feather Breathing

After initial training, slides in and out of Feather Breathing at work or home without conscious effort

The primary strength of Limbic Breathing is the prevention and/or reversal of the adverse effects of subliminal hyperventilation.  Feather Breathing dramatically improves oxygen transport and functionalities in times of stress and autonomic disequilibrium.

Please see our article Limbic Healthy Breathing

Tycho Breathing for Controlling Hyperventilation from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

Breathing Slowly for Healing Part One Majid Ali MD from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

Breathing Slowly for Healing Part Two Majid Ali MD from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

Educate Your Emotions With Limbic Slow Breathing Majid Ali MD from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

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