If the eleven pipers want to pipe for very long, they need to have their breathing down. Deep breathing has many benefits and can help with relaxation and stress relief. It can also help with temporary pain management.
What is breathing?
Luckily, we don’t have to think about breathing, it happens automatically. When you breathe in, you are taking in oxygen, which is important to many body processes. When you breathe out you are exhaling carbon dioxide. Sometimes we hold our breath and we are reminded to breathe. I’m sure you have heard a fitness instructor say, “Don’t forget to breathe.” It sounds silly, but many people hold their breath for short periods while exercising.
Deep Breathing (aka Abdominal Breathing)
Deep breathing is something most of us need to do consciously. If you’ve done yoga, you have probably experienced this type of instruction: breathe in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. If you don’t have experience with this, it is also suggested that you put one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. You want your belly to expand and contract, not your chest.
Relaxation and Pain Management
Because most people need to concentrate to do deep breathing, taking 5-10 minutes a day is a good way to help you relax. If you are concentrating on the breathing, you don’t think about other things. However, oxygen being pulled deeper in to your body helps it physically relax.
Deep breathing can help with pain management. It won’t make the pain go away, but it helps reduce intensity. I used it when I had kidney stones and most recently helped my son calm down in the ER when he dislocated his shoulder. Of course, both of us were still experiencing significant pain, but it helped to take the deep breaths instead of the short-shallow breaths. This isn’t just an anecdotal treatment; research indicates that it helps too.
How to do Deep Breathing
You can do this standing, sitting or lying down and maintaining good posture. Stand with your feet hip distance or sit with your feet flat on the ground. Close your eyes.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen and feel where you breath is going. Is your chest rising? Your belly? A bit of both?
- Inhale through your nose to the count of 5. Fill your lungs completely with air. You should feel you abdomen expanding mostly and your chest a little.
- Hold the breath for about 2-3 seconds.
- Exhale completely through your mouth to the count of 5 (or the same count your inhale), relaxing your body.
- Repeat…for 5-10 minutes.
Do this at least once a day. You can do it almost anywhere too (except when you are driving). I do it when my husband it driving!