Breathing diaphragmatic, breathing abdominal and breathing deep are synonyms.
They indicate a particular way of breathing that you can carry out at will following the instructions I will give you shortly.
Diaphragmatic breathing, as you will see later, acts extremely on the body and mind beneficial and rapid.
The way you normally breathe also determines yours longevity.
A thirty-year study has shown how the values associated with breathing (respiratory function) conditions the lifespan1.
Fortunately, respiratory habits and lung health are also to a large extent under your control. You can make minor changes to the way you breathe and with these you gain greater well-being.
In this age of perpetual stress breathing is often tendentially thoracic. For this reason it must be corrected, bringing it down further, into the abdominal area. Otherwise you will be irreparably held in a condition of anxiety and stress.
You can do this by reactivating a breathing muscle (maybe a little dormant) called diaphragm. The diaphragm makes abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing possible.
The turning point happens when you start doing pay attention to your breath. There is a moment in which you can become a little more conscious as an unconscious person, and from there you can progress progressively.
If you start paying attention to your reactions, the way you walk, the way you breathe, you are already in a state of meditation. That is, meditation is born in this way, starting from a certain one "remote" observation of you same.
I remember when once a kid ...
I had just read one of the first books on yoga I had bought.
The author said to pay attention to how to hold arms while walking. In particular, he said that he turned his forearms forward and turned his shoulders backwards during normal walking.
This helps keep the open chest and avoids the formation of the shoulders hunched forward (physical attitude that leads to sadness!).
I remember these moments of attention to oneself (to the position of the arms as I walked) as the beginning of habit at theself-observation which in this way I had undertaken.
If you pay the same kind of attention to the breath, formidable things can happen.
- effects of breathing on the mind they are so powerful that for thousands of years it has been used by mystics and spiritual seekers all over the world as a means of calming the mind and accessing "beyond" (beyond the mind).
But even before going beyond the mind, the attention to the breath and the right breathing technique can anchor you more to the present time.
This leads you to greater calm and effectiveness in everyday life. If you start controlling your breath you can really start to manage your emotional and psychic life better.
You will no longer be the prey to instinctive and counterproductive emotional reactions. Instead you can start being proactive rather than reactive. Instead of reacting, you begin to decide what you can do constructively at a given time.
This will help you better overcome possible moments of crisis that we all have to face periodically in life.
This is the power of a calm mind, to which appropriate breath control can give you access.
- 1 DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING: YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR RESPIRATORY SCHEME
- 1.1 DIAFRAMATIC AND THORACIC BREATHING: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES AND WHAT EFFECTS
- 1.2 SIDE EFFECTS OF THORACIC BREATHING
- 1.3 ABDOMINAL BREATHING: HOW TO PASS FROM THORACIC BREATHING TO A DIAGRAMATIC BREATHING
- 1.4 DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING: TWO METHODS TO UNLOCK THE DIAPHRAGM AND START TO BREATHE WITH THE ABDOMEN
- 1.5 METHOD #1: DISTESI WITH A BOOK ON THE BELLY
- 1.6 DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING IN THE LIFE OF EVERY DAY
- 1.7 BENEFITS OF DIAPHRAMATIC BREATHING
- 1.8 BENEFIT #1: GREATER OXYGENATION
- 1.9 BENEFIT #2: DETOXIFYING EFFECT
- 1.10 BENEFIT #3: GREATER RELAXATION
- 1.11 CONCLUSIONS
DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING: YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR RESPIRATORY SCHEME
Some research shows that certain respiratory patterns (patterns) can be carried with them even during sonno unconscious2.
During the waking phase, when the breath can be directly controlled, you can decide to improve its efficiency by controlling certain variables.
The power is in your hands. Or rather, in your conscious attention.
Check your breath, then check your mind (reducing anxiety and stress) and check the body, which will become calm but energetic in response to a relaxed mind.
DIAFRAMATIC AND THORACIC BREATHING: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES AND WHAT EFFECTS
Specifically, what are the differences between diaphragmatic and thoracic breathing?
You can appreciate it directly with this example...
You know when you do some ramps of stairs, maybe with shopping bags in your hands? here, in this situation your breathing becomes almost completely thoracic.
Start by breathing with the upper part of the torso: rib cage, collarbones and shoulders. This is a completely normal, automatic and healthy process (if you are physically struggling).
In rest condition the diaphragmatic breathing it is predominant.
It is called "diaphragmatic" because the muscle is called diaphragm, located at the base of the lungs, lowers the lungs and amplifies the capacity of the chest cavity.
It is like a kind of bellows that lowering causes the lungs to take in air from the outside.
But when thephysical activity the middle and upper part of the chest also takes the place of rest in the process of forfeiting the air.
Under physical stress the need oxygen increases, so the body also works the rib cage, the clavicles and the shoulders. This further increases the expansion of the lungs that pump in and out a greater volume of air per unit of time.
While diaphragmatic breathing is produced by the diaphragm, thoracic breathing is produced by different muscles including muscles intercostal and adjacent muscles at shoulders, neck, collarbones and back.
In summary, during more or less intense physical exercise the thoracic breathing is more efficient, on the contrary, in resting condition is diaphragmatic breathing to be more efficient.
The problem arises because of a condition of stress tends to automatically establish thoracic breathing even when at rest, which in turn it keeps us in a state of stress.
We must break this vicious circle!
SIDE EFFECTS OF THORACIC BREATHING
Thoracic breathing is not implicitly wrong.
It plays its role of oxygenation perfectly when physical activity becomes more intense. When the body needs a sprint of energy, chest breathing does its job well.
But generally use the chest it is not the most efficient way to breathe.
Thoracic breathing, which pushes air into the upper part of the lungs, is less efficient because of the upper portion of the lungs in turn it is less efficient in the exchange of oxygen and CO2.
This is due to the fact that due to the effect of force of gravity the blood surrounding the lung tissue tends to concentrate in the lower part of the lungs.
Some authors (researchers) declare that the sick people have a tendency to breathe more with the chest than healthy people3.
The healthy response to thoracic breathing is the diaphragmatic breathing.
Diaphragmatic breathing, typical of moments of rest, unlike thoracic, is slow, deep and more calming to the mind. This leads to think of its beneficial effects even in the long term.
So here's how you can improve your breathing ...
ABDOMINAL BREATHING: HOW TO PASS FROM THORACIC BREATHING TO A DIAGRAMATIC BREATHING
The switch to switch from thoracic respiratory mode to diaphragmatic or abdominal mode is thecaution.
The respiratory system has this extraordinary characteristic of being both involuntary and voluntary. When you do not check it, it proceeds automatically, when you check it it follows what you tell it to do (within the physiological limits).
So to switch from chest mode to abdominal breathing you need to turn your attention and place it on your breath. Then you have to follow the instructions illustrated in these simple methods ...
DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING: TWO METHODS TO UNLOCK THE DIAPHRAGM AND START TO BREATHE WITH THE ABDOMEN
To get all the calming benefits of diaphragmatic breathing you have to start using the diaphragm! sometimes you really need to to unlock this muscle that perhaps is "dormant" due to its prolonged inactivity.
So how do you wake up the diaphragm?
Here are two useful and simple techniques to put into practice (I personally prefer the first).
METHOD #1: DISTESI WITH A BOOK ON THE BELLY
In the first exercise, to learn to breathe with the abdomen, relax on the floor (on a mat or a blanket). Avoid the sofa or bed.
Take 2-3 books medium-sized and resting on the abdomen. Now, focus on the breath to change it as I indicate below:
1) During each inspiration you should be able to lift the books on your abdomen a few inches. Then during theexpiration the books will return down to the initial position.
2) You don't have to lift the rib cage during inspiration. The work of expanding the lungs in this exercise is all at the expense of the diaphragm. The work of the diaphragm is expressed in the lifting of the books that you hold on the abdomen. If you are doing the exercise correctly you will only breathe from the belly, while the rib cage will remain almost immobile.
To appropriately adjust the diaphragmatic breathing pattern in a stable manner it will be appropriate repeat this exercise for a few days (3-5 minutes every time).
METHOD #2: ERETTI WITH A BELT THAT WRAPS THE CHEST
In this exercise to learn to breathe with the abdomen you are standing with one or even two belts fastened fairly tight at chest level.
The belts fastened on the chest serve to inhibit thoracic breathing and allow the release of the abdominal one.
A belt is sufficient in most cases, but for the most desperate cases of diaphragm blockage they can be useful two belts (one laced under the armpits and the other in the middle of the chest).
With two belts it is almost impossible to use the chest to breathe. At that point, one starts (forcibly) using the diaphragm to recall the air inside the lungs.
You can do this exercise for a few minutes repeated throughout the day. At the same time you can also decide to keep the belt fastened for one or more hours during the day in order to strengthen the abdominal breathing habit.
DIAFRAMATIC BREATHING IN THE LIFE OF EVERY DAY
Each of these exercises serves to establish a new habit: establish a diaphragmatic breathing at rest.
Occasionally observed in any situation and ask yourself: "How am I breathing now? … Am I breathing using the abdomen or the chest?"
This observation and question must become a healthy automatism that you need to maintain diaphragmatic breathing for as long as possible.
You will notice that during the moments of tension it is there that you will return to breathing with your chest and you will perceive the rigid abdomen.
At that point, realizing this tension, you will have to reverse the trend by immediately starting to breathe again with the abdomen: push your belly out a few centimeters with each inhalation and continue like this ...
Remember that you determine how your breathing pattern should be. Choose the abdominal / diaphragmatic pattern that gives you the calming effect you need to regain a clear thought and well-being of the mind.
BENEFITS OF DIAPHRAMATIC BREATHING
The body will respond promptly to the transition from thoracic breathing to a predominantly diaphragmatic one.
Le beneficial physiological responses that you will get from this change of respiratory habit (in normal rest condition) are above all the following two.
BENEFIT #1: GREATER OXYGENATION
Do you remember what I told you earlier about the force of gravity acting on blood?
The blood that surrounds the lungs tends to gravitate towards the lower part of the lungs. And where does diaphragmatic breathing work? right, right in the lower part of the lungs.
In this way breathing with the diaphragm brings the air you breathe in that area of the lungs which, thanks to the increased blood supply, is also more efficient in the exchange of oxygen.
Thanks to diaphragmatic breathing you will carry more oxygen to all organs interior.
One of the organs most sensitive to changes in oxygen is the brain, which if you provide it with an adequate supply of oxygen, will give you that feeling of well-being typical of a healthy nervous system.
BENEFIT #2: DETOXIFYING EFFECT
Diaphragmatic breathing seems to have a profound impact on the lymphatic system. The movement of the diaphragm in fact pushes the sap to move within the major lymphatic vessels3.
The movement of the lymph is associated with a healthy and beneficial detoxifying effect and keeping the immune system healthy.
The lymph nodes are in fact the immune stations distributed along the lymphatic vessels path. Facilitating the movement of the sap facilitates the spillage of slag.
It is as if diaphragmatic breathing effect a lymphatic drainage massage of all this important area of the lymphatic circuit that is located near the diaphragm.
On the contrary thoracic breathing causes a stagnation of the lymphatic circulation in numerous organs (stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, kidneys, intestine).
BENEFIT #3: GREATER RELAXATION
Thanks to diaphragmatic breathing, more slow and deep, you have the opportunity to make a more efficient (oxygen) exchange of oxygen.
When you do a slow and deep diaphragmatic breathing you allow the lungs to take more oxygen.
The higher concentration of oxygen you take in this way revitalizes all the internal organs that LIVE thanks to the oxygen you breathe.
When in a subsequent article I will deepen the yoga breathing we will see what are the techniques that take advantage of special pauses during inhalation and exhalation.
These special pauses of retention they allow an extraordinarily effective oxygen intake.
Have you ever seen those divers before a race of diving in apnea do yoga breathing exercises? An important part of those exercises consists precisely of diaphragmatic breathing together with pauses of retention.
In the mind-body relationship the cause produces an effect and the effect becomes the cause. The example of breathing is perfect to illustrate this particular cause-effect relationship.
If you are stressed, you begin to breathe almost always with your chest, even when at rest, when diaphragmatic breathing should predominate.
But it is also the thoracic breathing itself keep yourself in a state of stress. As soon as you have the mental readiness to change your breathing pattern, then you also change your mental state.
So what was the effect at the beginning, that is the way you breathe, becomes the cause, that is the way you feel.
The new relaxation condition achieved helps you maintain the healthy breathing pattern you have just conquered.
La diaphragmatic breathing in resting condition it is the correct and healthy way to breathe.
The stress of everyday life often leads us to trigger one thoracic breathing even in rest condition.
This thoracic breathing pattern maintains high levels of anxiety and stress. But you have control of your breathing pattern e you can modify it at will.
To change your breathing pattern you need to cultivate theattention to the breath. Also with the use of specific exercises (which I illustrated to you) you can easily return to breathe with the diaphragm in a few minutes.
Diaphragmatic breathing is the basis of a correct breathing that calm the mind e allows better elimination of waste through the sap.
The next step in refining the respiratory instrument is to use the retention pauses, which are masterfully implemented within the yoga breathing.
Stay tuned, I'll talk about it soon ...
What personal experience can you report on breathing and mental status? write a comment in the appropriate area at the bottom of the article and let me know your point of view!
See you soon,
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Sources and resources:
2. 'The control of breathing with reference to congenital central hypoventilation syndrome”By Frances Child and Jonathan Couriel
3. "Advanced Buteyko Breathing Exercises" by Artour Rakhimov (PhD)