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Unlock the Secret of Relaxation Breathing, and Learn to Relax
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ
Tuesday, April 2, 2024


Breathing has an additional benefit, and taking advantage of it can contribute to whole-body and mental health.

Photo by William Randles on Unsplash

Each breath we take carries life and extends our lives, but breathing, although automatic, has other potential benefits and is something we can do for free.

Deep breathing, also known as relaxation breathing, is a technique that involves taking slow, deep breaths to activate the body's relaxation response. Researchers have discovered that this technique significantly benefits the body and the psyche. These effects include alterations in the chemical composition of the blood and reductions in anxiety and mood disorders.

Relaxation breathing is simple, and we usually take a deep breath through the nose, allowing the diaphragm to expand to its total capacity. Then, we gently exhale through the mouth. This breathing method stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.

This breathing then affects the parasympathetic nerve system, which is accountable for the body's “rest and digest” response. The activation reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension and contributes to the development of a state of calm and relaxation.

The vagus nerve is an important part of the parasympathetic nervous system and plays a role in relaxation. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which sets off a chain reaction of physiological reactions that promote relaxation.

This breathing also activates neurotransmitters known as endorphins, which function as natural painkillers and mood boosters. Deep breathing can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are involved in pain relief. In addition to providing a sense of well-being and relaxation, endorphins are thought to be effective in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

But there’s even more good news about this technique. By influencing the concentrations of particular molecules in the bloodstream, relaxation breathing is one of the most important ways in which it has an effect on the body. In the human body, carbon dioxide (CO2) has multiple functions, including blood pH regulation, respiratory drive, and an impact on hemoglobin's oxygen affinity.

Several studies have demonstrated that deep breathing can increase the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream and decrease the amount of carbon dioxide. This change in blood gases has the potential to benefit the body in various ways.

The emotional tiredness and depersonalization that are brought on by job burnout were found to be alleviated by breathing exercises that were performed for a period of one day. An intervention with 30 sessions, each lasting for five minutes, has the potential to significantly reduce the anxiety levels of pregnant women experiencing premature labor. Another study found that pregnant women who performed breathing activities three times per day during a three-day intervention research project experienced similar benefits for anxiety.

Researchers discovered several other benefits in additional studies of deep breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing in one study served as evidence of a significant group-by-time interaction impact on sustained attention. The BIG (breathing intervention group) demonstrated considerably higher sustained attention following training compared to the baseline measurement. After training, the BIG group had a considerably lower cortisol level than the other group, showing a significant interaction impact between the group and the time in the diaphragmatic breathing condition on cortisol levels. The effects and conditions of cortisol levels are well-known to be related to emotional states.

Research conducted in psychology has demonstrated that the practice of breathing is an effective non-pharmacological intervention for the enhancement of emotions. The practice of breathing, therefore, according to decades of research in psychology, shows that it reduces feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.

In clinical settings, breathing exercises are frequently utilized for the treatment of mental health conditions. These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), motion disorders, phobias, and other stress-related emotional disorders.

One additional thought here. Although some indicate that relaxation breathing should be combined with yoga exercises, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, relaxation, breathing alone, may reap the benefits we seek.

The practice of voluntary breathing exercises, which could be a contributing factor to the reported rise in good health, can also improve one's general sense of control over our internal state. We can make a distinction between this and mindfulness meditation, where the practitioner does not exert control over the rhythm of their breath when practicing.

It has been found that high levels of anxiety and activity in a portion of the brain called the anterior insula are associated with a diminished sensation of control. Respiration, a necessary physiological system that operates without conscious thinking but can be easily managed with a modicum of attention, is at the forefront of this control mechanism because respiration is something that can be controlled.

In summary, the primary mechanisms by which relaxation breathing exerts its effects on the body's biology are the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, improved oxygenation, stimulation of the vagus nerve, and release of endorphins. Incorporating workouts that involve deep breathing into your daily routine allows you to take advantage of these biological mechanisms, which can help you relax, reduce stress, and enhance your overall health and well-being.

Can relaxation breathing be used widely? The evidence suggests that it is helpful in many situations, with many emotional disorders, and in maintaining our health.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

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Attribution of this material is appreciated.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Title: Licensed Psychologist
Group: Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Dateline: Tenafly, NJ United States
Cell Phone: 201-417-1827
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