Breath Clues: Part II
Becoming aware of HOW you breathe is important both as a health clue and an (inexpensive and valuable!) wellness tool.
Did you take the quick quiz on the graphic? If not, take a moment to do so!
Statistically, chronic shallow (mouth, neck, and upper chest) breathing is the most common type of breathing in Westernized cultures. This type of breathing perpetuates stress and anxiety, activates the "fight or flight" (sympathetic response), and suppresses the immune system.
Conversely, diaphragmatic (deep belly) breathing balances the nervous system, supports heart health, improves circulation, promotes lymphatic drainage, reduces stress, calms the mind, and brings the body back into a more homeostatic state.
Do you notice how some people remain calm, cool, and collected while others become a tightly wound spring with every stressor? The ability to pivot from "fight or flight" to "rest and digest" is incredibly important to health outcomes! ( Pharmacist tip: Learning to do this is helpful in keeping you away from the pharmacy!)
The longest nerve in the body is called the 👉vagus nerve 👈. It runs from the brain thru the lungs and on to the gut, and affects every organ and body system it comes in contact with along the way ..... stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, heart, lungs, and the immune, endocrine, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems. In other words, the vagal nerve pathway is kind of a big deal! 😍
High vagal tone is incredibly important to overall health and wellbeing..... really, it's a use it or lose it situation. Low vagal tone is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, GI disorders, and depression. Diaphragmatic breathing increases vagal tone!
If deep belly breathing is not something you do on the regular (ie: it's become second nature to you), Here are a few tips and tricks:
👉 Start with just 2 minutes several times a day.
1. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage, so you can feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
2. Inhale deeply thru your nose for the count of 6-8 seconds (or 4-5 seconds if that's too much).... allowing your belly to expand. Try to fill your lungs with air. NOTE! The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
3. Slowly exhale through your nose for the count of 6-8 (or 4-5) drawing your belly button in and down as your abdomen moves inward.
4. As you breathe inward deeply, envision oxygen flowing inward and recharging your body. As you exhale, envision all the stress and tension leaving your body.
5. Practice this for 2-3 minutes at a time (20-30 breath cycles). Graduate to 5 minutes as you are able!
Scientifically noted benefits of diaphragmatic breathing can be further enhanced when you pair your breathing practice with Young Living essential oils known for their supportive roles in health and wellness goals:
🌿Want to improve mood? Pair your practice with Citrus Fresh eo blend!
🌿 Looking for better concentration? Try Brain Power or Frankincense!
🌿 Looking to better manage pain? (Yes, deep breathing helps with this too!) Add in PanAway or Deep Relief
🌿 Wanting to lower your blood pressure (Yep, deep breathing exercises does this too!)..... support happy vascular system breathing practices with Joy, Aroma Life, Ylang Ylang, or Lavender.
🌿Lowering blood sugar (amazing what regular deep breathing may do! Consider deep inhalations of Coriander, Melissa, or Christmas Spirit!
🌿 Improve your sleep. Pair pre bedtime deep breathing with a diffuser loaded with Cedarwood, Orange, and Lavender!
🌿 Use as a tool in your weight loss journey. Have you tried Grapefruit essential oil or Thieves on the bottom of the feet?
🌿 Strengthen the pelvic floor muscle (which will also improve bladder and bowel elimination function!). Consider pairing with Clary Sage, Cypress, or (Digize 👈 for colon support).
🌿Better lymphatic flow?.... You'll love Lemon essential oil (both regular and vitality!)!
Noticing how you are breathing, and then making corrections as needed is a simple, but VIP wellness tool and health clue! Just as diaphragmatic breathing is helpful, chronic shallow breathing will exacerbate many health problems, and over time, may also contribute to lung infections and lung diseases.
Just breathe...... deeply!
www.goodmedicine.info (👈 if you'd like to know more about additional breathing practices or the oils mentioned above, let's chat!)
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!