The vast majority of theses in this collection are open access and freely available. There are a small number of theses that have access restricted to the WWU campus. For off-campus access to a thesis labeled "Campus Only Access," please log in here with your WWU universal ID, or talk to your librarian about requesting the restricted thesis through interlibrary loan.

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Human Development

First Advisor

Brilla, Lorraine R., 1955-

Second Advisor

McLaughlin, Wren

Third Advisor

Li, Ying, 1975-


This study evaluated the effect of a six-week deep slow breathing (DSB) program on pain, physical function, and heart rate variability (HRV) in subjects with lower extremity joint pain. Twenty subjects were assigned into training (n=10) and control (n=10) groups. The training group participated in a six-week DSB program consisting of weekly training sessions and at-home breathing exercises. DSB exercises focused on prolonging the exhalation and the pause following exhalation. The Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) was used to assess pain and physical function and HRV data were obtained pre- and post-intervention. Results revealed no significant interactions between group and time for any of the variables. There was no significant main effect for group, but there was a significant main effect (p < 0.025) and a large effect size for time on both pain (training pre 148 ± 94, post 84 ± 89; control pre 123 ± 87, post 92 ± 73; group ηp2 = 0.003, time ηp2 = 0.454) and physical function (training pre 434 ± 268, post 276 ± 287; control pre 482 ± 346, post 338 ± 274; group ηp2 = 0.010, time ηp2 = 0.506). There were no significant main effects (p > 0.017) for group and time on LF power (training pre 179.30 ± 562.1 ms2, post 9.82 ± 28.84 ms2; control pre 32.08 ± 66.55 ms2, post 0.74 ± 0.73 ms2; group ηp2 = 0.039, time ηp2 = 0.061), HF power (training pre 14.04 ± 39.76 ms2, post 7.02 ± 19.24 ms2; control pre 7.43 ± 9.99 ms2, post 1.50 ± 1.87 ms2; group ηp2 = 0.039, time ηp2 = 0.039), and LF/HF ratio (training pre 5.64 ± 10.03, post 2.13 ± 3.72; control pre 2.38 ± 3.79, post 0.97 ± 0.69; group ηp2 = 0.036, time ηp2 = 0.169). Results indicated that the six-week DSB program was not sufficient to alleviate pain or improve physical function in subjects with lower extremity joint pain. As this is the first study to examine the use of DSB for lower extremity joint pain and dysfunction, further research is needed to investigate the efficacy and applicability of DSB.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Osteoarthritis; Osteoarthritis--Alternative treatment; Breathing exercises--Therapeutic use; Pain--Treatment




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons