Sat 19 Jm2 1435 - 19 April 2014
200628

Breathing exercises to heal the chemical imbalance in the brain

I am suffering from extreme OCD and chemical imbalance. I regularly consult with the doctor . Along with the medicine he strongly recommended me some breathing exercises. For example inhale air from one nostril and exhale from other and like that. It is something like breathing exercises done by hindu saints. I wanted to know that, is it permissible for me to do these exercises as an exercise and not relate it with spirituality or any form of worship.

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly: interest in treating disease by means of relaxation and breathing exercises only became common among the people after the spread of neuro-linguistic programming and self-development courses. We have previously highlighted the idolatrous foundations on which “vital energy”, “energy meridians” and “out-of-body experiences” and so on are based. 

What further strengthens the doubts and concerns about such matters is what is mentioned in the question about how these practices are usually done by some Hindu clerics or “holy men”. 

For more information please see the answers to questions no. 108996 and 180412

Secondly: 

If it turns out that there is some proven medical benefit in breathing in this manner, and that it has a clear physical effect on the body, which doctors know from their experience and research, then there is nothing wrong with the sick person breathing in the manner described and using this as a remedy, especially if this is a way to treat his disease. 

But if the doctor is advising that without knowing of any physical benefits based on experience, or he does not know how this kind of breathing affects the body or how it benefits the person who does it, then it is not permissible, because it comes under the heading of imitating the disbelievers without being certain of any beneficial effect. 

Shaykh Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh (may Allah preserve him) said: 

The one who describes something as a means without any scientific or shar‘i evidence and becomes attached to it is committing minor shirk. 

There are some means that lead to results and others that do not. 

If the means leads to scientifically-proven results, in the sense that it is something that people know, then we have to see whether Islam allows it or not. 

If Islam allows it, then it is permissible to use it,. 

If Islam does not allow it, but it is still proven to be effective, such as treating disease with haraam things, in this case we say that it is not permissible. 

The third case is that in which there is no shar‘i or scientific evidence for it. In this case, pinning one’s hopes on it is a form of minor shirk. End quote. 

Kutub Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh, 37/127.

And Allah knows best.

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