Diaphragmatic breathing: exercise, benefits and uses


  • Diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that makes full use of your lung capacity.
  • The benefits of diaphragmatic breathing include reducing stress, improving sleep, and lowering your heart rate.
  • To begin with, you should practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises once or twice a day.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference for more tips.

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a breathing technique that helps you take longer, slower, and deeper breaths using the diaphragm.

Your body is designed to breathe deeply with your diaphragm, but people get rid of the habit and instead breathes more through the chest. But when you breathe through your chest, breathing becomes more shallow, which can increase tension and anxiety

“During diaphragmatic breathing, the abdomen or abdomen should expand and contract, while the chest and shoulders should remain fairly stable,” says Megan Reel, Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor of the Department of Clinical Psychology named after Michigan Health University

Here are the potential benefits of diaphragmatic breathing and how to practice it.

Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is more efficient than chest breathing, so you are not only using less energy To breathe, you also get more oxygen with deeper breathing.

Some of the benefits include:

1. Reduction stress and anxiety

Diaphragmatic breathing activates your nervus vaguswhich triggers your parasympathetic nervous system or your body’s response to relaxation. Therefore, the technique can calm you down when you are stressed or anxious.

In fact, 2019 overview found that in people over 18, diaphragmatic breathing lowers stress hormone levels, blood pressure, and self-reported stress levels.

2. Improving sleep

Diaphragmatic breathing can also help you fall asleep. In fact, by 2021 study nurses in China have found that diaphragmatic breathing improves sleep quality and reduces anxiety. The researchers used the Sleep Quality Index, the Anxiety Scale, and the Before and After Depression Scale to assess the effects of this technique.


3. How to deal with pain and discomfort

Diaphragmatic breathing also lowers stress hormone levels. cortisol, which has impact on physical pain… Because it lowers cortisol levels, it can help manage pain and discomfort from a variety of conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dyspnea, and various digestive conditions.

Other benefits include:

How to practice diaphragmatic breathing

When you first start diaphragmatic breathing, Michelle Hoffman, board certified yoga therapist at the Mayo Clinic Health System, recommends lying down. While you can do this while sitting, improper posture while sitting can make it difficult to breathe properly, she says.

If you feel dizzy while practicing, you can speed up your breathing. “The goal is for your inhalation to be slightly shorter than the exhalation,” says Riehl.

This practice can be uncomfortable at first because it is different from how you normally breathe, Riehl says. But after a week or so of constant practice, it will become more natural.

Diaphragmatic breathing may be difficult for people who have difficulty breathing through the nose, but in this case, you should consult your doctor to find out what is causing the problem and get proper treatment.

Insider’s conclusion

Diaphragmatic breathing is how we should naturally breathe, but many people take shallow breaths using their chest muscles. Therefore, practice diaphragmatic breathing until it becomes second nature to you. Once you get used to diaphragmatic breathing, you can do it in any conditions when you need it.

“When you really feel some stress or anxiety, you can take two minutes and just close your eyes and practice diaphragmatic breathing. It can calm the body and calm the nerves, ”says Riehl.

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