The Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Have you heard of deep breathing? It is also known as diaphragmatic breathing. Many of us will have an idea about what it is and have tried it before, but many people say that it can still feel unnatural. Even though it may seem small and insignificant, breathing properly can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellbeing. 

Unfortunately, many people commonly shallow breathe (also known as chest breathing) which is linked to increasing anxiety, tension and stress. This is because we are not filling the lungs properly, leaving the lower lung oxygen deprived and as a result triggering our brain that we are short of breath and our stress response. It is because of this we don’t engage our diaphragm as much and also over use our shoulder and neck muscles which can lead to pain. These muscles are called accessory muscles and they aren’t designed for constant use – instead for short burst periods. Using these muscles also triggers that stress response and increases tension in our upper body. Instead we need to make a conscious effort to use diaphragmatic breathing. 

Diaphragmatic breathing uses our diaphragm for inhalation to open and spread the rib cage and easing everything back into place on exhalation. This is quite different to belly breathing, which is commonly associated with diaphragmatic breathing. Although belly breathing is a good introduction to how to breathe properly, it still uses accessory muscles in ways they aren’t designed for. Diaphragmatic breathing is hard to learn, but it allows our chest to fill completely with oxygen and give your body the most benefit of every breath.

By using diaphragmatic breathing, you are allowing your body a full oxygen supply which is necessary for overall positive health and wellbeing. This is because you are getting the most out of the oxygen trade with carbon dioxide that you expel. Your body is then able to transport more oxygen to the cells to promote recovery. These are the kinds of breaths you want to take to get your body to feel refreshed and relaxed. By engaging in proper diaphragmatic breathing you can also help to stabilise blood pressure and calm your heartbeat – essential for when your feeling stressed and anxious. 

The best way to try this at home is to:

  1. Lie down on your back with your knees bent on a flat surface in a comfortable place
  2. Place on hand flat on your chest and the other on your belly just below your rib cage.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the air fill your rib cage and belly. Your hand should slightly rise on your belly and your hand on your chest should remain still.
  4. Slowly exhale and your hand should return to the original position.

Diaphragmatic breathing can also help in your treatment sessions here at Health Place. So, come in to see us today to see how diaphragmatic breathing may be of benefit to you!

If you would like to book in with one of our therapists or have any questions about treatment, call us on (07) 3852 2434, email us on info@healthplace.com.au, or  Book Online