British city workers are using breathing techniques practised by monks to cope with the credit crisis in the hope that the exercises will help them reduce stress levels.
The professionals are taking up the centuries-old breathing techniques used by monks, shown to lower both stress and blood pressure.
AdvertisementAfter experts found that Gregorian chanting could promote a sense of well-being and help people to cope with pressure, a course was set up to teach its rhythmic breathing techniques.
Demand for the course among City professionals has doubled in the past six months as the crisis in the financial markets has deepened.
"Research shows that the regular breathing associated with chanting can have a significant and positive physiological impact," the Telegraph quoted Dr Alan Watkins, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Imperial College London, as saying.
"Communal singing and the simplicity of the melodies seem to have a powerful effect on reducing blood pressure and therefore stress," he said.
Dr Watkins, who also runs a company that helps executives perform better in stressful conditions, said the training helped create a more coherent pattern in the heart rate.
"When times are tough, as they have been recently, people tend to suffer increased stress," he said.
"We have found that teaching individuals to control their breathing generates more positive emotional states and they can connect better with those around them.
"Communal singing and the simplicity of the melodies seem to have a powerful effect on reducing blood pressure and therefore stress," he added.