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December 07, 2004

One More Alternative.

Brain Respiration anyone? The latest and greatest treatment for, well, it appears to be for curing children of being children, has all the usual buzz words attatched:

"Brain Respiration (BR) is a revolutionary holistic training system that enables participants to awaken and use 100% of their brain potential." But that doesn't explain much, so perhaps it is best to describe BR in terms of the benefits: improved concentration, better stress management, enhanced creativity and self-confidence, character development, harmonious social relationships, and better information processing skills. And how is all this achieved? From my morning of BR training with Dr Paul Sumner (a neuroscientist), I ascertained that it is about awakening energy channels through exercises not too dissimilar from chi kung.

Gosh, really? Holistic and similar to chi kung? Must be a blinder then.

The first exercise I did was to slap my "dantien" (the point in Chinese medicine located just below the navel) while shouting: "Ha! Ha! Ha!" That's not a laughing "hahaha" but more of a loud breath expulsion. And there was lots more slapping to follow. I slapped my entire body, rhythmically, up and down my arms, legs and torso. Paul said it would unlock my blocked meridians (the same meridians recognised by acupuncture). In the room next door, my children, Juliette and Liam, were performing a similar routine. The whole family met again for the last hour of the session and took turns giving each other foot, tummy, and head massages. I savoured the moment, whale music and all.

I can see how this would work wonderfully. Seriously, really. A modern parent doing an hour of physical activity with the children, quite remarkable isn’t it, that the children would respond well to this?
I shouldn’t mock too much as there has actually been an attempt to measure the physical effects:

One study showed that after just an hour of BR practice, the experimental subjects had significantly lower levels of stress hormones - cortisol, noerpinephrine, b-endorphin and cathecholamine - than the control group.

Just amazing! Western science would never have come up with this idea not would they? Excercise reduces stress hormones. Wow, hold the press and alert the media!
A slightly cynical thought would be to test those same hormones between two groups....one that did the BR shtick, the other that ran around the playground.
Here’s the heart of the system:

The children's BR programme consists of three parts: wake-up gym, energy focusing and brain building. wake-up gym is a stretching routine that is designed to stimulate the body's meridian system (this is done for five to 10 minutes). Energy focusing teaches children to concentrate energy in their hands, then move that energy to different parts of their body. Brain building consists of activities that get the children to use both the left and right sides of their brains, that is, both the rational and creative aspects of the mind.

and, of course, the mandatory call for it to be used more and paid for by the State:

At a time when even the World Health Organisation has berated Britain for its "worryingly high levels" of behavioural problems among children, perhaps a dose of Brain Respiration in British schools wouldn't go amiss.

There are some who would call me a curmudgeon, reactionary even, so I do wonder whether there is a home grown alternative to this routine?. Before hurling yet more epithets at me think a little about what this technique seems to show. Children can be encouraged to be less rambunctious, concentrate more, think better, via a series of physical then mental exercises. Mmmh. I think I’ve heard of that before, back in the mists of our island heritage. Ah, yes, that’s it. So, my proposal for the start of the school day:
15 minutes of gym and 30 of trigonometry. That should sort the little buggers out.

December 7, 2004 in Health Care | Permalink


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» The Brain.....It's Breathing! from The LLama Butchers
Tim Worstall picks up on a goofy new holistic method for getting the kiddies to calm down, Brain Respiration. It would appear that someone has made the earth-shattering rediscovery that kids need regular physical activity to help them focus mentally.... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 7, 2004 6:09:38 PM


Hey, this sounds very similar to the technique favored by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of the "Art of Living" course fame. I am very obliquely aware of this SSRS guy because it is all the rage in India. They do this "Ha, ha, ha" breathing as part of their routine.

Posted by: Atanu Dey | Dec 8, 2004 10:05:11 AM