According to the Harvard Medical School Mental Health Newsletter, “Proper breathing goes by many names. You may have heard it called diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, or belly breathing. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and you will notice that your lower belly rises. The ability to breathe so deeply and powerfully is not limited to a select few. This skill is inborn but often lies dormant. Reawakening it allows you to tap one of your body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms.”
How about rejuvenating your day with 2 minutes of some simple, yet effective breathing techniques?* I often incorporated breathing into my occupational therapy visits with patients of all ages and for me too, in between things. See which one you like and let me know, k? Take care, Julie, O.T.
- Pursed-lip breathing. Inhale through your nose like you are smelling flowers and blow out of your mouth like you are blowing out candles.
- Diaphragmatic breathing. Lie on your back. Place a book on your stomach and make it rise and fall with each breath. Or, sit or stand in front of a mirror and breathe in with expansion of the abdomen.
- Lower rib breathing. Place your hands on either side of the lower section of the rib cage. Breathe in and out. Provide light resistance with your hands when breathing out. Release when breathing in to allow the ribs to expand more.
- Triangular breathing. While keeping your mouth open the whole time, breathe in deeply for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds then breathe out slow and long through pursed-lips for 10 seconds.
- Breathing with relaxation techniques. Practice breathing techniques in a relaxing environment while listening to instrumental music or nature sounds on tape, CD, or IPOD. Or, tense (7-10 seconds) and relax (20-40 seconds) various muscle groups. Or use visualization of a specific place to allow for a “time out” or chance to refocus while breathing.
Techniques 1,2,3, & 5 are from ”Breathing retraining and relaxation techniques for clients with pulmonary disease,” by Joyce Ford & Faye H. Weaver, June 19, 2000, OT Practice, pp. 33-34.
*Please check our Disclaimer before beginning any breathing or exercise program.