The influence of breathing on the central nervous system, 2018

Topics: diaphragm, breathing, phrenic nerve, vagus nerve, neural oscillation

Authors: Bruno Bordoni, Shahin Purgol, Annalisa Bizzarri, Maddalena Modica, Bruno Morabito


The functions of the diaphragm do not stop locally in its anatomy but affect the whole body system. The respiratory rhythm, directly and indirectly, affects the central nervous system (CNS). This article describes and reviews these influences, containing, for the first time, information on this subject in a single text. The ability of breath to move the brain mass and determine patterns of neural oscillation will be discussed. The role of the diaphragm in influencing motor expression and its effect on intracranial blood shifts in respiratory activity will also be discussed. It is known that the diaphragm can have multiple uses in improving the symptomatological picture of chronic diseases, but there is no current, concrete data on the effects that the rehabilitative training or manual approaches could have on the patient; in particular, on his/her cognitive and cerebral aspects in general.

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