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Abdominal Breathing

Abdominal Breathing

Your diaphragm, a vital muscle that allows you to breathe, may be strengthened via the practice of diaphragmatic breathing. This type of breathing is also known as abdominal breathing or belly breathing.


The advantages of diaphragmatic breathing are numerous and extend to your entire body. It serves as the foundation for practically all relaxation and meditation practices, which may help you manage your stress, lower your blood pressure, and maintain other vital biological functions.


Patients with GI issues are taught this easy approach to help them manage stress brought on by their symptoms.


It is useful to urge the body to calm down by concentrating on the breath. When using diaphragmatic breathing, the abdomen moves for each breath, expanding during inhalation and contracting with exhalation, rather than the chest. It helps to deliberately focus on each breath to divert attention and calm the mind.


Benefits of Abdominal Breathing:


Learning diaphragmatic breathing has several benefits. 

The method helps by:


  •    Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  •    Reduces tension in the muscles
  •    Boosts blood oxygenation
  •    Warmth for the hands and feet 
  •    Boosts motivation and energy
  •    Enhances focus
  •    Bolsters the immune system
  •    Lowers stress hormones
  •    The body's relaxation reaction is triggered
  •    The stress response is reversed.
  •    Easy to use, doesn't cost anything, and doesn't require any medicine


By gently massaging internal organs including the stomach and intestines while the diaphragm is activated, abdominal discomfort, urgency, bloating, and constipation can be lessened. You might think of the parasympathetic system as the body's relaxation response or the "rest and digest" state. When you breathe diaphragmatically, you are supporting the stimulation of the parasympathetic system. Certain GI-related circumstances can benefit from diaphragmatic breathing:


  1.    Diarrhoea: Diaphragmatic breathing may help relax the digestive system and lessen panicky situations with diarrhoea and urgency.
  2.    Constipation: Diaphragmatic breathing may be used to relax and massage the system when sitting on the toilet and attempting to pass a bowel movement. A more thorough bowel movement might be the outcome.


Conditions Improved by Abdominal Breathing:


Several illnesses that have symptoms that have an impact on breathing can be helped by diaphragmatic breathing, including:


  •    Anxiety
  •    Asthma
  •    COPD
  •    Stress


Even though some conditions can benefit from the use of diaphragmatic breathing, this shouldn't be the primary strategy. This approach can be used in conjunction with other treatments that your doctor has suggested.


Performing Abdominal Breathing Exercises:


  • Choose a comfy spot to sit or lie. Keep your eyes closed.
  • Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Moving should be done using the bottom hand. The lower hand should move first, and the top hand must follow suit.
  • For around 4 seconds, inhale through the nose while feeling your belly grow. The first few times you breathe in, you might feel a little strain.)
  • 2 seconds should be spent holding your breath.
  • For around 6 seconds, softly and steadily exhale through your lips. The mouth should be relaxed.
  • Repeat 5 to 15 times.


It is typical to experience some unease or lightheadedness after practicing diaphragmatic breathing for the first time. If you begin to feel dizzy, breathe more rapidly. Allow yourself some time to settle after a session of diaphragmatic breathing; do not get up too soon.


Although it takes practice, diaphragmatic breathing is a fantastic technique for relaxation. As you get better at it, you'll soon be able to perform it while standing, walking, or even driving with your eyes open.


Risks and Research:


On its own, diaphragmatic breathing isn't always beneficial. Deep breathing is frequently most successful as a treatment when paired with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or hypnosis, according to research on ANS-related disorders including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


If you have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or other related mental health issues, deep breathing exercises may not always be beneficial.


The multiple worries or anxieties that go along with GAD can linger for up to several months or years, and they may feel difficult to control. If deep breathing techniques don't seem to be helping, stress may increase as a result.


The best method for assisting someone in coping with anxiety or other mental health issues is typically a technique like CBT.

Dr. Durga Prasad
Paediatric Care
Meet The Doctor
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