Diaphragmatic breathing has a number of benefits, but is often underutilized in our daily lives. From a physiological standpoint slow, deep, deliberate breathing allows us to intake more oxygen which then creates for more efficient gas exchange within our bodies. It also stimulates a relaxation response and inhibits that “fight or flight” stress response. In doing so on a more consistent basis you can calm anxiety which in the long term can help prevent stress related conditions such as heart disease, digestive disorders, depression, sleep disorders and more. This can be of particular help when it comes to dealing with chronic pain as it is well known that both stress and chronic pain are closely intertwined. By being able to tap into that relaxation response and relieving stress you can reduce the likelihood of flare ups. This kind of breathing can also strengthen a lot of our core musculature and pelvic floor muscles. Not to mention it helps improve posture as in order to successfully perform diaphoretic breathing one must sit/stand tall.
To perform diaphragmatic breathing, you must first sit or stand tall with good posture. Be sure to relax your shoulders and facial muscles before beginning. When ready, slowly and deeply breath into your nose. If you are doing this correctly you will notice that your stomach will push forward as you inhale. Next breathe out through your mouth. You want exhalation (breathing out) to last twice as long as inhalation (breathing in). So, for instance, if you breathe in for two seconds, breathe out for four seconds, etc. Practice this for a few minutes to get into a good rhythm until you get the hang of it. This kind of breathing can be used periodically throughout the day especially in the presence of stress and for women during childbirth. At Amity Physical Therapy we can further teach you the proper technique for diaphragmatic breathing allowing you to take advantage of its numerous health benefits.
Nathan Lindsley PTA is a graduate of the Mercyhurst University PTA Program in Erie, Pennsylvania. Previously, he graduated with a BS Degree from Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA where he played varsity baseball and was voted Scholar Athlete of the Year. At Amity Physical Therapy Nate specializes in manual therapy techniques, neuromuscular reeducation and therapeutic exercise in order to individualize patient treatment. Amity Physical Therapy was founded fourteen years ago by Michael Dow MSPT and CEO/Clinical Director. The practice has three offices in Woodbridge, Hamden and Branford. Nate Lindsley can be reached at 203-389-4593 or visit amitypt.com.