Consultation

Face-to-face consultation: breathing rate & peak flow

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include professional physical health checks. One of these checks of your rate of breathing and how fast you can breathe out.

Why do we do this?

Both increased and decreased breathing (respiration) rate can be a sign that there may be something wrong in the body. Our rate of breathing can increase or decrease due to a heart or respiratory condition, fever, infection or dehydration, whereas our breathing can be slowed down by drinking too much alcohol, a head injury or some medicines for pain such as codeine or morphine.

Measuring how fast you can breathe out (peak flow) gives a better understanding of what’s going on in your lungs if you have any issues with breathing. It can help to see how open your airways are.

What happens?

To measure your breathing (respiration) rate, your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will simply observe how many times you breathe in and out in one minute. One full breath in and full breath out counts as one respiration.

To measure your peak flow, you may be asked to take a deep breath in and blow as fast as you can into a small, hand-held plastic tube called a peak flow meter. The measurement taken is called your peak flow.

The lungs are the organs that receive oxygen that we breathe in through our nose and mouth. According to Ayurveda, the lungs are an important site of kapha dosha, the force in the body which is governed by the elements of water and earth. According to Ayurveda, most disorders of the respiratory system are a result of imbalanced kapha dosha. To see how well your lungs work you may also ask you to breathe into a peak flow meter (a white plastic tube)

What do the results mean?

The normal respiration rate for an adult is about 12-18 breaths per minute. If your rate of breathing is lower or higher than this, your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will talk with you about this and may suggest that you also inform your GP.

Your peak flow score – also known as your peak expiratory flow (PEF) – will be displayed on the side of your peak flow meter. This is given in litres of air breathed out per minute (l/min).

What's considered a normal score depends on your age, height and gender. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will inform you of what would be considered a normal score for you and may suggest that you also inform your GP.

Based on these checks, particular Manasa Ayurveda therapies may be suggested for you such as certain herbs, therapies and breath control (pranayama) exercises.

Face-to-face consultation: taking your blood pressure

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Our Manasa Ayurveda consultations are undertaken by registered healthcare professionals and as well as using traditional Ayurvedic methods also include conventional physical health checks. One of these checks is of blood pressure.

Why do we do this?

We measure blood pressure so we can see how well this part of your circulatory system is working. Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will measure your blood pressure during your consultation and during therapy sessions where monitoring is helpful.

A blood pressure that is too low can lead to fainting and falls, whereas a high blood pressure, if untreated for long periods may cause problems such as kidney damage or stroke. We usually cannot tell if our blood pressure is too high as there are no obvious signs and symptoms. The only way we know is by measuring it.

What happens?

We measure blood pressure by hand (manually) for the most accurate readings:

  • We will ask you to sit down with your arm supported on a table. Sometimes we will check your blood pressure laying down or standing up.

  • A cuff is placed on your upper arm.

  • The cuff is tightened and you will feel tightening.

  • The air is then slowly let out of the cuff.

  • Your Manasa Ayurveda therapist will then place a stethoscope on your arm just below the cuff and listen to your pulse whilst the air is being let out.

  • It is best to do this three times to get the most accurate reading.

  • The therapist will tell you the result and write it down on a chart.

What do the results mean?

  • Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Ideally blood pressure should be lower than 120/80 mmHg.

  • The first number is called the systolic blood pressure. It is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.

  • According to Ayurvedic principles a systolic blood pressure of less than 95mmHg may be associated with vāta, whereas a systolic blood pressure of over 130mmHg may be associated with pitta.

  • The second number is called the diastolic blood pressure and is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

  • From your blood pressure, your pulse pressure (PP) can be calculated (systolic – diastolic) and this is pressure is known as bala (force) according to ancient Ayurvedic understanding.

We can make helpful suggestions to help you manage high or low blood pressure using an Ayurvedic approach, including diet, exercise, sleep and meditation practices and may also recommend that you inform your GP so that they also remain informed of your health condition.