Slow diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, is an effective relaxation technique that has a number of beneficial effects on both our physical and psychological health. There are a number of subtly different methods of slow belly breathing such as coherent breathing and the buteyko breathing method. However, they are all based around the established benefits of slow and rhythmical abdominal breathing using the nostrils.
The stress response can be quickly and effectively reduced through simple breathing techniques. The method that we are going to focus on simply requires you to expand the stomach out as you inhale through the nose, and allow it to sink inwards as you exhale through the mouth. This places particular emphasis on the use of the diaphragm, which is our main breathing muscle. The diaphragm also influences our circulation, posture, co-ordination, metabolism and emotions.
Inhaling through the nose has a number of health benefits which include an increase in oxygen uptake, facilitating correct action of the diaphragm, protection against infection and promoting relaxation and digestion. Nasal breathing also has a direct effect on areas of the brain associated with movement, thought and emotions.
Watch the video below for a simple demonstration on how to box or square breath. Be sure to give it a try if you find yourself becoming tense, stressed or anxious. This really is a very simple and effective technique that will provide rapid results.
The attached document provides more in-depth information on the stress-reducing benefits of belly breathing, so be sure to add this to your ‘first-aid kit’ and use it as an effective stress-management tool.