other question #8665



Henrik, a 22 year old male from the Internet asks on December 31, 2011,

Q:

Some people like to stand on their head or hands so they can get a lot of blood in their heads. Is this good practise and what happens in their heads when they do so?

viewed 4748 times

the answer

Sarah Chow answered on January 13, 2012, A:

By standing on one’s head or hands, gravity takes over and blood starts to rush to the head. This creates a large amount of pressure in the brain and eyes that could cause blood vessels to burst. Therefore, those who suffer from cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, strokes, brain diseases, brain injuries or any type of eye problem should not attempt standing on their hands or head as this may worsen their condition.

However, yoga enthusiasts claim standing on one’s head is beneficial.  In fact, the yoga position Sirsasana, where the individual rests on their forearms and the top of their head with their legs sticking straight up in the air, is considered to be the king of all yoga poses. The position is supposed to bring pure oxygen and nutrients to your brain via the blood. This is thought to improve thinking, clarity, concentration and memory. It also stimulates and provides fresh blood to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, which are considered the masters of all glands, as they regulate the function of the other glands in the body. 

The pituitary gland is responsible for stimulating the sex organs, regulating water retention, and therefore regulating blood pressure. The pituitary also makes endorphin which relieves pain and alters mood. 

The hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system, the one responsible for hormones. It ultimately controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue and sleep cycles. Therefore by standing on one’s head one can get a euphoric feeling as these glands are responsible for stimulating the “pleasure” organs of the body.

Experts suggest that beginner head-standers start at 2 minutes daily and gradually build up to 30 minutes without exceeding 45 minutes. Longer times can turn the benefits of the head stand into a serious health condition.

 
Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.
(required)
(required if you would like a response)
Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.
If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to science.ca.