All of our concerns so far have been with how the nervous system influence breathing. These are all widely recognized. What is not as well-known is tha different methods of breathing can affect the autonomic nervous system an* have an impact on the functions we ordinarily consider to be under unconscion control. Abnormal breathing patterns can stimulate autonomic reactions asst dated with panic attacks, and poor breathing habits in emphysema patient produce anxiety and chronic overstimulation of the sympathetic nervou system. By contrast, quiet breathing influences the autonomic circuits thai slow the heartbeat and reduce blood pressure, producing calm and a sense of stability. Our ability to control respiration consciously gives us access to autonomic function that no other system of the body can boast.
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