by Peter Deadman
One common feature of traditional practices such as yoga, tai chi, qigong etc. is their emphasis on slow, deep, lower abdominal breathing, with extraordinary claims made about its powerful effects.
For example Yuan Hao in 15th century China simply said, “A day and a night of regulated breathing can [reverse] twenty years of chronic illness.”
What is special about breathing is that (like the heartbeat or digestion) it is an autonomic function – in other words we can spend the entire day quite unaware of our breath which carries on perfectly well without our attention.…