Diaphragmatic breathing is a form of breathing exercise that helps you strengthen your diaphragm, which is a vital muscle for breathing. This breathing technique is also known as abdominal breathing or belly breathing. It has a slew of advantages that favour the entire body. Almost all meditation and relaxation methods are built on this foundation, which can help you relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and control other vital bodily functions. A big muscle that lies under the lungs is the diaphragm. It aids in the movement of air into and out of the lungs. Normal breathing is shallow and does not use the lungs' full capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing is a form of deep breathing that completely engages the diaphragm and improves lung performance.
The diaphragm is a large muscle at the base of the lungs that allows you to breathe. The diaphragm contracts and shifts downward when a person inhales, making room for the lungs to expand and fill with air. The diaphragm relaxes and shifts upward when an individual exhales, assisting in the movement of air out of the lungs. When breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, also known as "belly breathing," involves completely engaging the stomach, abdominal muscles, and diaphragm. With each inward breath, you must consciously pull the diaphragm down. In this way, diaphragmatic breathing aids in the effective filling of the lungs.
Breathing is a normal process that happens without deliberate effort most of the time. The typical breath, on the other hand, is shallow and does not fully engage the diaphragm. A individual engages their diaphragm consciously to take deeper breaths during diaphragmatic breathing. The rise and fall of a person's stomach can be noticeable. Instead of only their chest and shoulders, they may experience an expanding or stretching feeling in their stomach.
Diaphragmatic breathing benefits
- It aids relaxation by reducing the negative effects of the stress hormone cortisol on the body.
- It reduces the heart rate.
- It aids in the reduction of blood pressure
- It aids in the management of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD).
- It increases the flexibility of your core muscles.
- It enhances the body's ability to withstand strenuous exercise.
- It reduces the chances of hurting or exhausting the muscles
- It reduces the amount of energy expended by slowing down the breathing rate
What happens during Diaphragmatic breathing?
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped respiratory muscle that is located near the bottom of your ribcage, directly behind your chest. The diaphragm and other respiratory muscles around your lungs contract as you inhale and exhale air. During inhalation, the diaphragm does the most of the job. Your diaphragm contracts during inhalation, allowing your lungs to expand into the extra space to take in as much air as possible. Intercostal muscles, which are located between your ribs, lift your rib cage to assist your diaphragm in allowing enough air into your lungs. When something makes it difficult for you to breathe properly, muscles near your collarbone and neck assist these muscles; they all contribute to how easily and how much your ribs can move and make room for your lungs.
What Conditions Can It Help with?
Diaphragmatic breathing can help with a variety of ailments. The parts that follow will go into these in greater depth.
Stress and Anxiety
The stress hormone cortisol in the body is reduced by diaphragmatic breathing. As a result, it can aid in the relief of stress and anxiety symptoms.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to describe a group of lung diseases that affect a person's ability to breathe. The lungs' airways become weakened and inflamed in COPD, obstructing airflow in and out of the lungs. In addition, the diaphragm has a tendency to be weaker. When breathing, the body attempts to compensate for this weakness by engaging the muscles in the back, neck, and shoulders.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways become swollen and inflamed as a result of certain causes. This makes getting oxygen into and out of the lungs difficult. People with asthma who take drugs to manage their symptoms frequently have ongoing symptoms and a poor quality of life (QOL). People with chronic asthma can benefit from breathing exercises, according to the study's findings.
Breathing deeply into the stomach when fully engaging the diaphragm is known as diaphragmatic breathing. This strengthens the diaphragm and improves the efficiency of the lungs. It can also induce a state of calmness or relaxation. People with anxiety or respiratory conditions like COPD or asthma can benefit from diaphragmatic breathing as an add-on treatment. It is, however, ineffective as a stand-alone treatment for these conditions. An individual should discuss the risks and benefits of including diaphragmatic breathing in their treatment plan with their doctor.