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What is Diaphragmatic Breathing and why is it so important?

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

You may have heard the term “diaphragmatic breathing” or “belly breathing” and likely even have it on your exercise program if you are already a patient here at Restorative Physical Therapy. But what exactly is diaphragmatic breathing, and what does it do for you?

Your diaphragm is a very important component of your respiratory system, as it helps monitor the pressure in your chest and abdominal cavity within your body. It is a dome-shaped muscle right in/under the lowest ribs that contains special cutouts for your organs such as your liver, aorta, esophagus, etc. that expands and contracts during respiration. When inhaling, your diaphragm actively descends, and passively returns to resting when exhaling normally.

According to a Healthline article last medically reviewed in November of 2021, benefits of diaphragmatic breathing are, but not limited to:

  • Relaxation, lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol.

  • Lowers heart rate.

  • Helps lower blood pressure.

  • Helps cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Helps improve core muscle stability.

  • Helps improve your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.

  • It lowers chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.

  • It slows your rate of breathing so that your body expends less energy.

There are a variety of ways to perform diaphragmatic breathing, many techniques as to how to breathe, so it is important to ask about your breathing form. If you have any questions about your diaphragm breathing form or how to get started with diaphragmatic breathing, feel free to inquire at Restorative Physical Therapy for additional information!


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