This procedure, developed by Dr. Rudolf Marx, uses the display of an ideal respiration curve to help the client acquire an efficient and correct style of breathing.
The program first analyses the client’s breathing pattern. It uses this to calculate an ideal respiration curve, allocating 30% of the time to inhalation, 60% to exhalation and 10% to a pause in breathing. Heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tone increase during inhalation and decrease during exhalation. When the exhalation phase is emphasized, as it is in the ideal curve, there is a reduction in the effect of the sympathetic nervous system and hence in the general level of activity.
The client attempts to match his breathing to the curve. To improve the effectiveness of training the properties of the curve can be modified, for example with regard to frequency, steepness and the percentage contributions of inhalation and exhalation.
After at the most five training sessions the client is usually able to reproduce the more beneficial breathing pattern, even without feedback.
The chart shows that breathing (blue) has changed to fit the displayed ideal respiration curve. The rise in hand temperature (red) and the fall in skin conductance (yellow) demonstrate the relaxing effect of the breathing exercises.
Another good indicator of relaxation is the extent of the link between heart rate and breathing (respiratory sinus arrhythmia - RSA). RSA involves the pulse rate (orange) increasing during inhalation and decreasing during exhalation.