Can a slight change in the way we breathe to relieve us of daily stress, and to substantially improve the quality of our lives? Yes, experts say.
The method of diaphragmatic breathing is one of the simplest techniques that helps reduce daily stress and improve the symptoms of various diseases.1 This is a technique that can be applied very easily at any time, wherever we are.
Diaphragmatic breathing is called the breathing that is done by contraction of the diaphragm, the muscle located between the stomach cavity and the chest cavity. When we breathe in the diaphragmatic breath, the air that enters the lung makes our belly «inflated». For this reason, we often call it abdominal breathing. 1
Many investigations have tested the effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing. So we know that its benefits include: 2,3 Physical and spiritual relaxation.
• Better management of the stressful events of everyday life
• Better cardiopulmonary function
• Reduction of blood pressure
• Improvement of migraine
• Improvement of respiratory function in patients with Chronic Obstruction
Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
• Reduce fatigue, anxiety and asthma symptoms in suffering children
• Improving physical strength and performance in physical activity.
• Increase creativity, self-control and self-concentration.
The opposite is the so-called thoracic breath, which extends to the chest. Today, we know that thoracic breathing disrupts the balance in oxygen and oxygen levels, mainly using thoracic breathing.
Thus, diaphragmatic breathing is considered to be much better for our health and well-being than thoracic. 1 Unfortunately, most adults tend to use thoracic breathing
To find out how you use breathing in your everyday life, you can do the following exercise: sit comfortably, placing a palm on the chest and the other on the abdomen. Take some breaths in the way you do without effort. Observe which of the two palms is moving more intensely: in the diaphragmatic breathing, the palm that is placed on the abdomen is lifted more from the palm of the chest with each inhalation.
Fortunately, it is possible to train ourselves to breathe properly. All you need to reap the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is to learn how to perform it properly by an appropriately trained specialist. With daily practice, diaphragmatic breathing can become our second nature and run spontaneously!
1. Benson, H., & Klipper, M. Z. (1992). The relaxation response. New York:.Harper Collins.
2. Esch T., Fricchione, G. L., & Stefano G.B., (2003). The therapeutic use of the relaxation response in stress-related diseases. MedSciMonit9, 23-34.
3. Varvogli, L., & Darviri, C. (2011). Stress management techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Ηealth Science Journal 5(2): 74-89.