Diaphragmatic Breathing

To Breathe, Or Not To Breathe…That Is The Question!

“Just take a few deep breaths and everything will be ok”. Sound familiar? In many instances throughout our lives we are told this, or even reiterate this common practice subconsciously to ourselves during stressful times. So what is the method to this madness?

Believe it or not, there is actually a “correct” way to breathe that can provide optimal benefit both during times of high stress and absence of stress (if there is such a thing). Diaphragmatic breathing is a breathing technique that involves emphasizing using your diaphragm, a large breathing muscle below your lungs. Via many complex methods in our body that are initiated when participating in this form of breathing, this technique results in better breathing efficiency, lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels in our body, improving our mood and attention, and many more positive health benefits. See below for a step-by-step tutorial in this technique.

For more questions about diaphragmatic breathing, regarding the technique or the benefits it can have for you, please reach out to your physical therapist or occupational therapist at your local Advanced Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine!

Breath in through your nose so your stomach elevates while your chest remains still

Breath in through your nose so your stomach elevates while your chest remains still

Figure 2. Exhale through your mouth, allowing your stomach muscles relax; again your chest should remain still

Figure 2. Exhale through your mouth, allowing your stomach muscles relax; again your chest should remain still

References:

1)      Cleveland Clinic. (2016). Diaphragmatic Breathing. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/diaphragmatic-breathing

2)      Ma, X., Yue, Z.-Q., Gong, Z.-Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N.-Y., Shi, Y.-T., … Li, Y.-F. (2017). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults. Frontiers in Psychology8, 874.