Managing stress is not easy, so deep breathing can be a helpful addition to alleviate chronic health conditions. While deep breathing is recommended, it is a complementary therapy.....CONTINUE READING
Using deep breathing can empower you to reduce stress and enhance your focus as it has a lot of benefits.
Deep Breathing Can Signal Your Body to Relax
When you’re stressed, your body activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to symptoms like rapid breathing, increased heart rate, irritability, high blood pressure, anxiety, and muscle tension. This is part of the fight-or-flight response. Deep breathing, on the other hand, counteracts the sympathetic nervous system.
It involves softening your abdomen, using your diaphragm, and taking a deep breath to fill your lungs with air. This slows down your heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and relaxes your muscles.
Taking a deep breath also stimulates the vagus nervous system, which runs from the brainstem to the abdomen and is a key part of the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” functions.
Deep breathing is a daily practice, similar to exercise or meditation, and yields the most benefits. Even a minute can significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate for anxious individuals, but regular practice helps your body become more responsive.
So, if you’re ready to try deep breathing, dig deeper below to see various health benefits for several conditions.
1. Lower Blood Pressure:
Deep breathing can reduce blood pressure by 30 points or more for people experiencing anxiety, but the benefits are temporary. Consistency and regular practice are essential for lasting improvements.
2. Improve Quality of Life in People With Asthma and COPD:
Breathing exercises can help individuals with lung conditions like asthma and COPD. Diaphragmatic breathing, which engages the diaphragm, can enhance lung function and quality of life for those with mild to moderate asthma. It is also taught in COPD rehabilitation programs.
3. Help Manage Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety:
Chronic stress, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, can disrupt normal breathing and contribute to mental health issues. Mindful breathing exercises can rebalance the breath system, improving thoughts and feelings. In a study, belly breath training reduced stress hormone levels and enhanced sustained attention.
4. Reduce Tension to Help With Headaches:
Deep breathing can help relax and reduce muscle tension, which may alleviate headaches. Practising regularly and at the onset of a headache can be useful when combined with other treatments.
5. Relieve Some Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):
Deep breathing can benefit digestion by relieving tension in the digestive tract. It may help with symptoms of IBS, such as GERD, constipation, diarrhoea, and urgency. A study found that diaphragmatic breathing and muscle relaxation improved IBS symptoms and quality of life.
6. Reduce the Number and Severity of Hot Flashes:
Paced breathing, with deep and slow breaths, may reduce hot flashes, a symptom of menopause. It can also be helpful for hot flashes caused by cancer treatments, serving as a nonhormonal remedy.