BBPT Health Tip: Diaphragmatic Breathing

just-breathe-in-cloudsFiona McMahon DPT, PT

WE LOVE DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING! We do, we really do and we hope you will too. What is diaphragmatic breathing you ask? Diaphragmatic breathing is a form of deep breathing where you breath deeply into your stomach. As you breath in, you will actually see your belly extend and get bigger, and as you breath out, your belly will return to it’s old spot. It’s not like our typical breathing patterns where we breath from the chest; it is a much more deep and deliberate breath.

Why We love Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing accomplishes a lot in the body. First of all, it supplies the body with a large dose of oxygen, which is pretty obvious, but it is a much more robust breath than a simple chest breath.

Diaphragmatic breathing also works wonders on the tissues of both the abdomen and the pelvic floor. By taking a big diaphragmatic breath in, the diaphragm lowers and provides a gentle stretch to the tissues and organs of the belly as well as the pelvic floor. As you breath in you are actually providing a nice stretch to the pelvic floor.

Deep breaths can also calm down the nervous system and allow you to better relax. When you are more relaxed your body can attend to the day to day tasks such as digestion and healing. It really is amazing what some deep breaths can do.

How to breathe diaphragmatically

Start off by putting one hand on your chest, at about the area of your breastbone. Place the other hand on your stomach. You can do diaphragmatic breathing just about anywhere, so get in a position that is comfortable for you. Start by slowly breathing in. In order to tell if you are using your diaphragm, you should feel the hand on your stomach move more than the hand on your chest. As you breath in, bring your awareness to your ribs and feel them expand out to the side and back.  Finish by slowly breathing out. The out breather should be longer than the inhale. It is really that easy.

How does one actually use diaphragmatic breathing?

Really you can use it in anyway you need too. Some people find it tremendously helpful to do 10 diaphragmatic breaths every hour, while others employ deep breathing techniques in times of stress or pain. The important thing about diaphragmatic breathing, or any exercise for that matter is consistency. Try to at least get in 20 deep breaths a day.

Celebrate Good Times

By Riva Preil

Wednesday night, the Beyond Basics team celebrated a monumental occasion- the release of Amy Stein’s new patient self-care  DVD entitled Healing Pelvic and Abdominal Pain!  In this new 2 hour home program for patients and guide for practitioners, Amy provides an explanation of pelvic and abdominal pain as well as self-care strategies (including massages and stretches).

The DVD is appropriate for patients with vulvodynia, endometriosis, non-bacterial prostatitis, pudendal neuralgia, pelvic pain, coccyx pain, interstitial cystitis, and bladder and or bowel dysfunction. The video provides information for men, women and children.

Amy also educates viewers on the proper performance of pelvic floor relaxation techniques, including diaphragmatic breathing, stretching, and dilator usage.  Bonus material includes behavioral modification suggestions.

The DVD is available for purchase at: ($49.95, free shipping).  It is included as a bonus for all out of town patients.

The release of this amazing DVD is an exciting opportunity for us to SHARE KNOWLEDGE about pelvic floor health. Too many individuals suffer in silence, and many are not aware their pelvic floor muscles may be the root of their symptoms and/or pain.  Heck, many people don’t even know what their pelvic floor IS to begin with!  Thanks to Amy and her new innovative DVD (as well as her book, Heal Pelvic Pain), the word is spreading and information is more accessible than ever before. That is truly reason to celebrate, and celebrate we did…in grand style!  A special thank you to Karen, Alexa, Yarissa, and Arianna for planning such a fabulous launch party!

Photo by Elyssa Goodman