Exploring The Different Health Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Exploring The Different Health Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing

Deep breathing, otherwise known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a vital exercise that we need to incorporate in our daily lives, and yet most of us are not doing it right. Pause and start paying close attention to your breathing. Do you notice something moving? If not, it’s probably because most of us are taking shallow breaths. It is ideal for taking long and deep breaths as it can benefit your health and well-being.
You’re probably wondering, how exactly do we breathe properly? Let’s read more about how diaphragmatic breathing affects your overall health, how to get going, and what science says about it.
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What Is Diaphragmatic Breathing?

The diaphragm muscle located at the base of the lungs. As an individual inhales, their diaphragm expands and travels downwards, providing room for the lungs to expand and fill with oxygen. As an individual exhales, the diaphragm relaxes and moves outward, helping to push the gas out of the lungs.
Diaphragmatic breathing, otherwise known as belly breathing, requires the full engagement of the abdominal muscles, stomach, and diaphragm while breathing. This means consciously pushing the diaphragm down with every windward breath. In this way, diaphragmatic breathing aids the lungs to fill more effectively.
Breathing is a natural process that typically happens without conscious awareness. Nevertheless, the average breath appears to be shallow and does not require much of the diaphragm. During diaphragmatic breathing, an individual intentionally stimulates his diaphragm to take deeper breaths. An individual may observe the rising and falling of his stomach. You can experience a stretching or expanding sensation in the stomach, rather than solely in their shoulders or chest.
Diaphragmatic breathing requires actively inhaling good air and exhaling the bad. Deep breathing practice can be performed by absolutely anybody, anytime, at any moment. Deep breathing exercises should be repeated throughout the day or if you feel stressed, anxious, or tired.

What Are The Different Types of Diaphragmatic Breathing?

The most common diaphragmatic breathing instructions are achieved by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

Diaphragm Breathing Basics

Here’s the primary method of diaphragmatic breathing:
  1. Sit in a relaxed posture or lie flat on your bed, the floor, or any comfortable, flat surface.
  2. Relax your shoulders.
  3. Put your hand on your chest and your stomach.
  4. Exhale for approximately two seconds through your nose. You will experience the air passing from your nostrils to your abdomen, allowing your stomach to expand. During this form of breathing, make sure your stomach spreads forward while your chest stays reasonably still.
  5. Purse your mouth (as though you’re drinking through a straw), push your stomach gently, then exhale steadily for about two seconds.
  6. Follow this breathing pattern several times to get the best results.

Rib-Stretch Breathing

The rib stretch is another helpful deep breathing exercise. Here’s how to do it:
  1. Stand up straight and extend or arch your back.
  2. Exhale until you can’t do it anymore.
  3. Inhale gradually and slowly, take in as much oxygen as you can until you can no longer breathe.
  4. Keep the air in for 10 seconds.
  5. Exhale slowly through the mouth. You can do this with pursed lips or normally.

Numbered Breathing

Numbered breathing is an excellent technique to regulate your breathing habits. Here’s how you should manage this:
  1. Stand up straight and close your eyes.
  2. Inhale oxygen deeply until you can’t take any more oxygen.
  3. Exhale until you have emptied your lungs of air.
  4. Repeat the first step while keeping your eyes closed!
  5. Contain the oxygen in your lungs a few seconds, and then exhale it all out.
  6. Inhale again while picturing the number 2.
  7. Hold your breath while counting silently to 3, then let it all out again.
  8. Repeat these steps until you’ve reached 8. Feel free to count higher if you feel comfortable.

What Are The Benefits Of Diaphragmatic Breathing?

Diaphragmatic Breathing Provides Relaxation

Your natural condition is to breathe deeply and be relaxed. Diaphragmatic breathing relaxes the mind and body. A deep breath is the best way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system that helps you feel comfortable and relaxed. Stress is the root of most diseases, and almost everyone is living a busy and stressful life, which is usually accompanied by shallow breathing. The sympathetic nervous system is activated when we feel anxiety or stress and emits adrenaline and cortisol. The parasympathetic nervous system that neutralizes this and the fastest way for the two systems to communicate is breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing can turn the switch from high to low alarm in just seconds. As you breathe deeply in and out, you will notice a change in your emotions. You will find calm as you breathe deeply and release any tensions as you breathe out. According to studies, people who experience an anxiety attack noticed a change in their emotions. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing Detoxifies the Body

Our bodies are structured to let go of 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. The body needs to expel the natural toxic waste found in the carbon dioxide, which comes from the body’s metabolic processes consistently and regularly. These toxins can be removed by exercising diaphragmatic breathing techniques. But, because of shallow breathing, our lungs are compromised, which makes the other detoxification system in the body assume control and have to work harder to remove the toxic waste. This overload can result in a weakened body, which can lead to illness.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Relieves Pain

Research has shown that our instant, unconscious response when we feel pain is to hold our breath. Remember that taking a deep breath and breathing into the pain will help relieve it. Diaphragmatic breathing activates endorphins that act as the body’s natural pain killer.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Increases Endorphins

Deep breathing oxygen can boost the development of neurochemical production in the brain and release more chemicals that regulate pain and elevate the mood.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Improves Posture

Bad posture is often directly linked with incorrect breathing. Try it yourself, and as you practice breathing oxygen deeply, watch how you naturally straighten up. Filling your lungs encourages you to straighten your spine and stand or sit taller.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Stimulates the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system in our body is a critical system that most of us are very unaware of. Our circulatory system relies on our heart to pump it, whereas our breathing relies on the lymphatic system to get it moving. The blood pumps oxygen and nutrients into the cells, and they excrete their waste back into the sea of lymphatic fluid that our cells are continually floating in until they consume what they need. The lymph fluid is responsible for cleansing the body of the contaminants from which the cells excrete, as well as from dead cells and other waste. Since breathing is what pushes the lymph fluid, shallow breathing can lead to a slow lymph system that is not correctly detoxifying. A deep breath helps get the blood to circulate correctly so that the body can function more efficiently.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Increases Cardiovascular Capacity

Deep breathing provides the same benefits of exercise and can enhance the benefits you get from exercise. Anaerobic exercise(strength training) uses glucose as energy, while aerobic exercise (cardio) uses fat as energy. By increasing our cardiovascular capacity from deep breathing, we can make it easier to do more cardio, which boosts our cardiovascular function and burns more fat cells.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Increases Energy

According to the American Medical Student Association, drawing oxygen further into the lungs significantly improves blood supply, since this is when the most extensive level of blood pressure happens. It boosts strength, energy, and enhances endurance. The higher oxygen content in the blood cleanses the body and all its cells of contaminants and pollutants, along with improved circulation, better sleep, stress reduction, and all that goes along with it naturally gives you a lot more energy.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Improves Digestion

The digestive system functions more efficiently if it has more oxygen. Deeper breathing often improves blood flow, promoting bowel activity in the gastrointestinal tract, and increasing overall digestion. Also, deeper breathing results in a calmer nervous system that, in turn, also improves optimal digestion.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Strengthens Significant Organs of the Body

Deep breathing makes the lungs work more effectively by expanding them. Therefore, this adds sufficient nutrients to the blood that is pumped to the heart so that the heart will not have to struggle too hard to provide oxygen to the tissues. Furthermore, with the lungs functioning a bit more to push out oxygen into the blood, it reduces the heart’s energy to pump it throughout the body. This improves your circulation and gives your heart a little bit of a break.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Regulates Weight

If you are underweight, extra oxygen will help to feed your cells and tissues. If you are overweight, it will help with weight loss. Additional fuel in the body tends to consume extra fat more effectively. When we are nervous, because most of us function in a relatively stressful environment every day, the body prefers to use glycogen instead of fat.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Improves Overall Health

Deep breathing cleanses our blood by eliminating carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen. Many diseases in the body begin with contaminated blood. Clean blood will wash cells and tissues to remove contaminants and waste so that inflammation and illness do not develop. The improved intake of oxygen from deep breathing also strengthens our nervous system, communicates with all areas of the body, and increases our general well-being.

What Usually Occurs During Diaphragmatic Breathing?

The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located at the bottom of your ribcage underneath your chest. The diaphragm and other respiratory muscles inside the lungs contract as you inhale and exhale blood. The diaphragm works most of the time during the inhalation part. During inhalation, your diaphragm contracts so that your lungs can expand into extra space and allow as much air as possible.
Intercostal muscles, otherwise known as the muscles between your ribs, boost your rib cage to provide room for more oxygen.
Muscles below your collarbone and neck often support these muscles when something makes it harder for you to breathe correctly; they also relate to how quickly and how much your ribs will shift to allow room for your lungs.
These muscles include:
  • Pectoralis Minor
  • Scalenes
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Serratus Anterior

Breathing and the Autonomic Nervous System

Breath is also part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It is a system that is responsible for essential body functions, such as:
  • The metabolic process that affects your weight
  • blood pressure
  • digestive processes
  • overall body temperature
  • how quickly you breathe
The autonomic nervous system has two major components: the parasympathetic and sympathetic divisions. Every division is assigned to different bodily functions.

The sympathetic division usually gets the mechanisms going, while the parasympathetic prevents them from occurring. And although sympathetic governs the fight-or-flight reaction, the parasympathetic division is in command of the day-to-day processes.

Although most autonomic nervous system functions are involuntary, you can regulate some of your autonomic nervous system processes by performing deep breathing exercises.

Taking deep breaths will help you actively control your ANS, which can have several benefits — especially by lowering your heart rate, controlling blood pressure, and helping you relax — all of which help decrease the amount of stress hormone cortisol released throughout your body.

Risks and research

Diaphragmatic breathing is not necessarily effective on its own. Studies on ANS-related conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome ( IBS) have demonstrated that deep breath is frequently the most successful remedy when paired with cognitive-behavioral therapy ( CBT) or hypnotherapy.

 Deep breathing exercises are not necessarily useful if you have a generalized anxiety disorder ( GAD) or other related mental health problems. GAD can continue for up to a few months or years, and the many anxieties or fears surrounding it can sound challenging to control. Deep breathing exercises can trigger more stress if they do not seem to function. Techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are typically a great approach to help someone deal with anxiety or other mental health problems.


Spend some time per day consciously breathing steadily and rhythmically, and taking the oxygen into the lungs. It’s an easy trick to get instantly energized and centered. Focus on getting your oxygen into your body. Imagine your lungs expanding with oxygen as you breathe.

Deep breathing exercises are beneficial to allow the body’s processes, systems, and organs to function correctly. Performing these exercises provides more oxygen into the body, which cleanses the blood and, in turn, benefits everything else.