I have always had a moderate attack of dizzyness and nausea when standing up from a squatting or bent-over position. But recently it is more severe and happens more frequently. My doctors are unimpressed, and uninterested. They only have a name for it, and offer no comment other than to say that I get up too fast. I don't think I get up faster than anyone else, but I don't see anyone else wincing and grabbing for support.
Yesterday, I put 2 and 2 together and got 11.
My research reminded me that this condition is called "orthostatic hypotension". But I hadn't noticed before what the proposed mechanism is: autonomic nervous system dysregulation. The ANS controls all sorts of stuff from heart rate to temperature to blood pressure. Ah hah, the dizzyness is due to failure of the ANS to adjust blood pressure fast enough to account for changes in position, resulting in temporary inadequate bloodflow to the brain. And I know my ANS got the crap beat out of it by chemotherapy, as evidenced by other lasting symptoms. That would explain why it is worse now.
So the question arises, how can I cause my blood pressure to adjust with appropriate speed?
One of my yoga instructors cautions that some people become dizzy while doing the kundalini breathing pattern called "Rapid breath of Fire". No one seems to have suggested it as a *cure* for dizzyness. But my instructor also contends that Fire Breath increases blood flow to the brain. And furthermore, my biofeedback therapist asserted that I can control my ANS through deliberate breathing techniques. Ah hah. Possible cure?
I had no other reason to think that this might work for me, but I was getting a bit desperate. Some days it seems like I spend more of my time in a dizzy spell and recovering from it than not. That's a pretty horrible way to feel all day. So I was willing to try anything.
I start Fire Breath either as soon as I squat or bend over, or a couple of seconds before I stand up, and continue until I'm fully upright.
I did this the last two days, repeatedly, and it worked every time I stood up. Seriously, I've already almost forgotten what it feels like to be dizzy.
Here is a 2-minute youtube video of Fire Breathing demonstrated by Sarah Kline, the instructor from whom I learned this technique:
(Sarah always says to breathe through the nose while doing this. However, I used to be congested all the time, so I had no choice but to breathe through my mouth. It seems to me to work the same either way.)
This technique might only work on immediate cases. Or, for all I know, I've already cured myself permanently. The last two days I've avoided standing up without doing Rapid Breath of Fire because being nauseated and dizzy are two of my least favorite feelings. But, as I said, I'm already beginning to forget how awful it has been, and I'm just reckless enough to experiment.