Breathing. It’s not sexy. It’s super subtle. Everyone does it every day. But we need to do it better. Optimal respiration can help us to calm the central nervous system and manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia better.
So many people do it incorrectly. Not breathing fully, chest or mouth breathing and more.
Correct breathing is vital so that we can take the benefits it offers.
- Saves energy
- Improves energy
- Reduces pain and tension
- Helps us activate the “rest and digest” mode or the parasympathetic nervous system
- Improves digestion
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces heart rate
- Decreases stress
- Improves cognitive function
It can help respiratory issues, back and chest pain
“One of the benefits of breathing deeply is that it helps to release tension in the diaphragm and primary breathing muscles, relieving many long-term respiratory issues such as asthma and breathlessness. It opens up the chest, releasing tension from the intercostal muscles and around the scapula, erector spinae and trapezius muscles, allowing for a more relaxed posture.” From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply
It helps us activate the parasympathetic nervous system and helps us to calm down
Just a few deep breaths can help us to relax and calm down. Even if we have been anxious, scared or in pain. It is the quickest tool in our arsenal to respond to stress. Please note I am not saying it can cure anxiety or depression – I am saying it can help (as an adjunct to treatment with your medical team).
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It improves the cardiovascular system
“Deep diaphragmatic breathing tones, massages and increases circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs. In one study of heart attack patients, 100% of the patients were chest breathers whose breathing involved very little diaphragm or belly expansion. Another study found that patients who survived a heart attack and who adopted an exercise regime and breath training afterward experienced a 50% reduction in their risk factor of another heart attack over the following 5 years.”From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply
What does this mean for fibromyalgia?
All of the benefits that optimal respiration offers us are essential for people with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. We need to save energy, get more energy, reduce pain and tension, activate the rest and digest mode and all of the rest of the benefits mentioned earlier.
It is also easy to learn. And practice. Below we will talk about what breathing well is and my easiest recommendation for breathing. I have a couple of breathing practices for you on YouTube. But you will get a whole heap of breathing support in Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio. Starting with Breathing 101 module, continuing with pretty much every single yoga and meditation practice focusing on the breath. Breath is central to yoga.
So what is breathing well?
Using your nose and not your mouth, filling your abdomen and not your chest. Taking the time to focus on it each day. Focusing on it is actually the simplest meditation you can do!
What is my easiest recommendation for breathing?
Inhale for four, pause for two, out for six. Adapting the numbers to what works for you, focusing on making the exhale slightly longer than the inhale. For example inhale for three, pause for two, out for four.
In the video below I share this simple practice