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Just Breathe

PROHealth
3/1/2013

We all do this every day, sometimes up to 30,000 times, but we never really pay much attention to it.  How do you breathe?  What kind of breather are you?  Not sure?  Check it out now.  Are you breathing in and out through your mouth or your nose?  Is your breath somewhat shallow or are you breathing full breaths into your belly? The simple technique of diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is an excellent way to help you manage your pain and relax.

Without even being aware of it, most of us are chest-breathers, taking-in quick, shallow sips of air instead of breathing deeply into the lower parts of our lungs.  When people are in pain, they often breathe very shallowly (chest-breathing) or even hold their breath. These are our body’s protective reactions to pain and stress, but instead of calming us, chest breathing can increase the levels of pain that we experience. Studies have shown that slower, fuller, diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing, can significantly reduce the sensations of pain and the negative effects of stress.

How do you achieve this? It’s really quite simple.  It’s just a matter of becoming aware of your breathing patterns and taking a couple of minutes each day to practice belly breathing.

Here’s how you can get started...

1. Sit or lay down and take a moment to get comfortable. 

2. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth for a couple of minutes.
3. Place your left hand on your belly and your right on your chest.
4. Inhale deeply and gently into your lower lungs, expanding your belly (your left hand should rise).  Exhale completely through your mouth.  Watch your left hand rise and fall as you continue this cycle for a few minutes. This is diaphragmatic breathing.

With practice, belly breathing should be smooth, comfortable and natural.  Add-in this simple technique daily and reap many health benefits.  Beyond pain management, the FDA now recognizes breath training as treatment in relieving anxiety, hypertension, chronic fatigue, and more. So take a few minutes before jumping out of bed in the morning to focus on belly breathing and enter each day with a sense of focus and renewed energy.

 

Watch our video to learn more about our clinical philosophy, ProEx for Life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btNIepz5j-s).

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