Systema Breathing in Medical Research
by Yvan Cam, PhD
Systema is an incredible martial art that develops wonderful fighting skills. Another important part of Systema is its benefits for health. Breathing is an outstanding way to restore and heal the body and the psyche. Of course, every Systema practitioner knows about those benefits and already feels them. But feeling something and scientifically proving that it is a real fact are two different things.
Marlène About is a Systema practitioner since 2010. She became an instructor-in-training under Vladimir Vasiliev last year and since participates in teaching at Systema Toulouse ADDAM. She is also a medical doctor as of September. The subject of her thesis was chronic low back pain which is a major condition worldwide. This condition is very difficult to heal because it includes both a physical and a psychological component. Thus, her idea was to use Systema breathing as a therapy to heal it. Indeed, Systema breathing allows to physically act on the low back muscles but also, to calm down the psyche (inhale is for the psyche and exhale is for the body, as Vladimir said in “Breathing and Fear”).
We had three persons suffering from back pain in our Systema group and after a few months, the condition disappeared (not enough statistically of course). That’s why Marlene decided to propose this approach to the jury committee at the French Medical University. Without getting into scientific details here, she was able to convince her committee that breathing education through Systema approach is in theory scientifically valid to work on that condition. The committee validated her approach, giving her the title of medical doctor. They also proposed that the medical university of Toulouse, France help fund the research and publish a peer-reviewed scientific article on this topic.