What is diaphragmatic breathing?
Diaphragmatic breathing strengthens your diaphragm, which is an important muscle for deep breathing. There are many benefits to relearning how to breathe through your diaphragm. It is practiced in almost all meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Why Is it important?
When we are young, deep breaths were natural. As we age, life gets in the way and we forget to take the time to breathe deeply. Eventually, making our breaths become shallow and less fulfilling.
It is especially important for people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD affects 16 million American and is one of the leading cause of death in the US. Living with COPD makes breathing extremely difficult. COPD happens when air becomes trapped in the lungs, keeping the diaphragm pressed down, which weakens it. Diaphragmatic breathing can help strengthen the diaphragm, which will improve its efficiency.
Here’s How to Do it:
- Lie on your back on a flat surface, it can be your bed, with your knees bent.
- Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and into your lower belly. Be sure the hand on your chest is staying still and the hand under your rib cage on your belly is rising.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and let them fall as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your belly should lower to its original position.
Practice this for 10 minutes several times a day. If you have a desk job, you can also do this in a chair. Be sure your knees are bent and you are sitting with your back straight, head up and shoulders back.
At FCCI we know how important it is to have a 360-degree approach when it comes to heart health. Certain conditions require both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, which is why we also house two board certifies pulmonologists, Drs. Bruce Krieger and Irram Hamdani. If you would like to learn more about our pulmonology services at FCCI or schedule an appointment, click here:
Source: Harvard Health, Healthline, National Institutes of Heart, Lung and Blood Institute