- Kristin McNealus, DPT, MBA
Let's Try Breathing
Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain still. Then let the air out in a long, slow exhale and feel the belly deflate like a balloon.
When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down. As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair.
The diaphragm sits as a dome into your rib cage, and contracts by flattening out. This makes more room available in the lungs for air to flow in. This movement of the diaphragm massages our parasympathetic system, turning on our “rest and digest” system. This calms down that overactive sympathetic system. This slows our heart rate, and helps us digest food more efficiently.