Breathing is second nature we all do it without a second thought. It’s our life force and the catalyst of all our metabolic processes and a secret weapon for your well-being. The action of inhaling and exhaling has such a massive impact on our overall health, yet many of us don’t do it properly. Think about your breath right now. Are your breaths long or short, deep or shallow, fast or slow? Chances are that you’re not breathing properly to maximise your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the lungs. Modern lifestyles don’t encourage proper breathing and we all tend to spend most of our time doubled up behind our computers, behind the wheel of our car or sitting incorrectly which doesn’t encourage you to take deep nourishing breaths which in turn lowers energy levels, cause anxiety, reduce blood flow, and constriction of the blood vessels in the brain and heart. Practising different breathing techniques daily will instantly improve your energy levels and improve your overall health. It’s very therapeutic emotionally, physically and spiritually too.
What is Breathwork?
Breathwork is a very therapeutic technique that utilises simple breathing techniques to help you enter into a state of consciousness where unconscious and previously repressed thoughts and emotions can more easily rise to the surface for integration. Life can throw so many curveballs and when we get hit with life changing situations we don’t have to necessarily turn to medication first but take a wholistic approach first.
How does it work?
It works by utilising simple controlled breathing in a very specific and conscious way. Focusing on your breath leads to a state of total relaxation. In this meditative state of mind, you are able to process old stress triggers and trauma.
Why is deep breathing good for you?
Taking time out for 5 mins or more to practise diaphragmatic/abdominal breathing or any other breathing techniques on daily basis is one of the best things you can do for your well-being. It gives you such a boost especially if it’s done before meditation on an empty stomach. It’s so easy anyone can do it.
Here are some benefits of deep breathing:-
Relaxes the Nervous system
Increases the oxygen and blood flow to the brain
Strengthens the immune system
Oxygenates your cells
Calms your emotions
Brings you into a state of being in the present
Builds endurance and strength
Improves core muscle stability
Lowers stress and anxiety
Helps you relax
Lowers blood pressure
Improves speed of recovery
Controls shortness of breath
Provides anti-inflammatory effects
Improves lung health
Improves your attention span
Supports addiction recovery
Heals trauma and wounds
Strengthens your intuition
Gain mental clarity
Detoxes the body
Boosts your energy/Cleanses and rejuvenates your channels of energy
Prepares you for meditation
Nourishes the body and brain
Helps balance the right and left brain hemispheres
Helps regulate the heating and cooling cycles within the body
Regulates the ultradian rhythm
Why is it important to breathe deep during a massage?
Massage Therapy is a great way to unwind and relax but sometimes, I have to remind some my clients to relax and breathe deeply during a massage treatment as they tend to breathe shallow or stop breathing because they may experience a slight discomfort in some part of their anatomy I’m treating which doesn’t help as it just holds the tension in place. The best thing to do is breathe through it. People tend to forget how powerful the breath really is as it can help manage pain. It sends messages to the brain to relax, which in turn decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and oxygenate the body. Increased oxygen improves circulation and brings nutrients to the tissues. When I apply pressure during a treatment on certain areas of the body where the client feels pain, breathing deeply or holding your breath will be the difference between experiencing relief or none at all. When you focus on your breathing it sends the brain into a state of mindfulness where you only focus on the present, allowing the mind to switch off for a much needed break. Deep breathing during massage doubles the amount of oxygen flowing to sore tissues, combined with the massage movements, immediately repairs damaged tissues and release the tension in overactive sore muscles.
When you breathe deep, you are breathing from the abdomen and letting the lungs and chest expand which in turn allows the muscles around the stomach and chest to relax and stretch. It also helps to strengthen the diaphragm and train the lungs to breathe deeper to maximise oxygenation.
So next time you go for a massage, breathe consciously and take deep and steady breaths. If you realise you have tension in certain areas of your body, just breathe you’ll experience a much better massage.