As life rushes by for us all, today I want to talk about an essential health skill, which we can never be reminded of too often.

Just like water, breathing is one of those absolute basics, which we so often take for granted. But done effectively, it can make a world of difference to your health.

We all know that taking a deep breath can help us feel calmer in times of stress or overwhelm.

But did you know that, owing to the location and anatomy of the diaphragm, our deep breaths have many far-reaching effects on our health and wellbeing, which go way beyond just getting more oxygen in, and feeling calmer?

As the diaphragm sits snugly between our heart and lungs above, and our liver and digestive system below, its rhythmic motions up and down during breathing are vital for the healthy function of all those organs and the systems they support.

And so, using the full range of the diaphragm during diaphragmatic (deep) breathing helps improve the circulation and health of your lungs, heart, digestive system, kidneys, and large parts of your immune system.

In our clinic, we often see people with tight diaphragms, which is usually observed as shallow breathing – only the upper portion of the chest rises with each breath.

This can be the result of long hours of sitting, tight joints and muscles in the chest and back, stress and anxiety, or illness such as coughs, colds and flu. In recent years, wearing face masks has also become a common factor.


What can you do?

Keep it simple. Take just 3 deep breaths, through the nose and all the way down into your abdomen, at least 3 times a day.

To make this part of your daily life, identify 3 regular cues during your day, and take deep breaths whenever you’re in these situations. 3 is the minimum – more is better!

Example cues can be:

– First thing in the morning, before getting out of bed

– While the kettle is boiling

– While feeding your baby

– Walking back from the school run

– Waiting for the train / bus / traffic lights

– While drinking your tea or coffee

– At the end of a regular work call

– Last thing at night, before going to sleep

Just 3 of those ‘deep breath pit stops’ every day will make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. If you can do more, that’s even better.

And if you really want to get in some regular deep breathing and relaxation, and look after your body on a whole other level, your best bet would be to join a class!

We have numerous contacts locally for Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation classes, so if you’re thinking of joining and looking for a recommendation, please speak to us and we can make suggestions based on your needs and preferences.

Talk to Us:

If there’s anything you’d like to discuss with our Osteopaths, you can make an appointment now for a FREE 15-minute telephone or in-person consultation here

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