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Diaphragmatic breathing for pain and anxiety

Diaphragmatic breathing is a type of relaxing breathing that uses the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle located below the ribs and above the stomach. With this type of breathing, the diaphragm causes the stomach, instead of the chest, to rise and fall. When the lungs fill with air, the diaphragm presses down and the stomach rises (moves forward).

When the lungs empty of air, the diaphragm rises again and the stomach falls (moves inward). The result is slow, even and deep breathing.

Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing

• Reduces pain

• Helps with heart rate

• Reduces anxiety

• Reduces muscle tension

• Reduces stress

• Makes breathing slower


How to do diaphragmatic breathing

1. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie on your back with a pillow under your head. Make sure your back is supported.

2. Place one of your hands on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

3. Inhale slowly through your nose. Count to 2. As you inhale, your abdomen should push against your hand. The chest should remain still.

4. Exhale slowly with your lips together (almost closed). Count to 4. As you breathe out, you should feel your stomach sink.

5. Note that when you inhale you count to 2 and that when you exhale you count to

4. This helps you keep your breathing slow and even.

6. Practice this breathing technique for 5 to 10 minutes at first. Try to do it 2 to 4 times a day. Then increase the amount of time and frequency.

Start this exercise by lying on your back. Then do it sitting down. Also try doing it standing up and, lastly, while doing some activity.

As you become more comfortable with this exercise, you can use this type of

breathing in the following situations:

• Climbing stairs

• Take long walks

• Get a shower

• Carry or lift objects

• Do exercise

• Carry out daily activities

With gratitude,

Gabriela Ana

Holistic Health Coach


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