Diaphragmatic breathing, all the information

All information on thediaphragmatic breathing: what it is, benefitsand exercises to learn it better.

Everyone has heard of it at least once, therediaphragmatic breathingis recommended for those who doapnea, to those who practice I sing, to those who learn to play a wind musical instrument (transverse flute, piccolo, clarinet ...) but also to practice yoga at home, in relaxation exercises and exercises to relieve the load of stress and anxiety. In short, diaphragmatic breathing seems to be the panacea for many ills ... but what is the diaphragm? Let's start with this.

Diaphragmatic breathing: what it is

Thediaphragmorthoracic diaphragmit is a muscle that delimits the thoracic cavity from the abdominal one: it is an important onerespiratory muscle.

Whenbreathe inyou operate an expansion of the thoracic cavity and lungs, with this expansion you get the call of air in the airways. This expansion is determined both by the inspiratory muscles (which raise the chest) and by the contraction of the diaphragm (which by lowering the diaphragmatic dome increases the volume available to the lungs, allowing for better inspiration).

To understand better what is the diaphragmiswhat is diaphragmatic breathing, you can imagine this muscle as a dome placed under the lungs. This "dome" widens (during exhalation) and compresses the lungs to allow air to escape and "shrinks" during inspiration to allow an increase in the amount of air inhaled.

Thoracic breathing and diaphragmatic breathing

The human being uses too often, and improperly, thechest breathing. In chest breathing the diaphragm muscle stops.

To better understand this concept, I return to the exampleimaginativeof the "dome". With thechest breathingthe dome (the diaphragm muscle) remains fixed, motionless, so the lungs will not expand in the lower part but will only grow (during inspiration) in the upper part of the chest with the relative raising of the chest. In this condition, the heart rate increases.

For the position of the diaphragm (just below the lungs) thediaphragmatic breathingcan be described asa belly breathingbecause it allows the volumetric increase of the lungs in the lower part.

Indiaphragmatic breathingthe chest is calm, firm and only the lower part expandslungs. Why thediaphragmatic breathingis recommended for those who practiceapnea, singing, yoga or relaxation techniques? Because the lower part of the lungs has a greater volumetric capacity than the lung portion used in thechest breathing.

Diaphragmatic breathing and anxiety

Why thediaphragmatic breathingseems to be too neglected by those who suffer from anxiety? Simply because thoracic breathing is the one used by our body in moments of alertness, strong stress and worry. Several signal molecules come into play that keep the body in a state of alert. Therediaphragmatic breathingis thatoriginal for man, infants, in fact, when they breathe they do so "from the belly" and not from the chest. Growing up, environmental and endogenous factors alter the way we breathe, these alterations can also have an impact on posture and assist the appearance of mental and physical pathologies.

Theredeep diaphragmatic breathingpredisposes the body to a sense of well-being, calm and tranquility. It lowers the heart rate and maximizes the effectiveness of the oxygen introduced into the lungs (which is why it is also useful for those whoapneaor sing!).

How to breathe with the diaphragm

It is not enough to dodiaphragmatic breathing exercisesforlearn to breathe with the diaphragm. The reason? Movements, your posture, emotions, imagination ... can affect your breathing, so before doingdiaphragmatic breathing exercisesyou should learn to prepare yourself for this type of breathing.

Closed shoulders, taut neck, curved back ... these are all limiting factors that will not help you at all in lung expansion and do not allow you to use the diaphragm muscle. A preliminary visit to the posturologist can help you a lot. If you are sure you have all the necessary pre-requisites abreathe with the diaphragm, you can start the exercises.

How to breathe with the diaphragm?

Know that the lungs have a potential capacity of 5.5 - 6 liters of air. To doapneaare enough to keep you a long time underwater (although a lot depends on the depth reached), or to make you keep a note longer while singing ... The problem is that we only use 600 - 700 cm3 of the total capacity and, with thediaphragmatic breathingwe can expand 7 or 8 times our lungs than we do with uncontrolled breathing.

To breathe with the diaphragm:

  • Take care of your position. Relax your cervical muscles and maintain good posture.
  • Don't wear pants or underwear that can constrict your abdominal area. The abdomen must be able to expand without any impediment.
  • Inhale through the nostrils.
  • Breathe out completely, drawing out as much air as possible.

To inhale andbreathe with the diaphragm, relax the stomach muscles and push the diaphragm down. When you inspire the "dome is lowered" (the diaphragm muscle by contracting allows a volumetric increase in the lungs and deep breathing).

Recommended reading: to improve thediaphragmatic breathingI recommend reading an in-depth book onrespiratory gymnastics. The book offers you a good number ofdiaphragmatic breathing exercises, useful in every area of ​​life. The book can be bought on Amazon at a price of 11.90 euros with free shipping costs, you will notice that it is "a little dated" (in fact it is a manual published for the first time in 1998), however it is still very current. I want to clarify that I have no connection with the author or the publishing house, so feel free to choose the book you want ... I recommended this only because it is very complete, starting from theory (lung anatomy and physiology of the diaphragm muscle) up to propose practical exercises that will allow you to introduce diaphragmatic breathing into any area of ​​your life.

For all the information, I refer you to the Amazon page of the book: Therapy and respiratory gymnastics.

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Video: Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique (July 2021).