The average adult will breathe at a pace of around 12 breaths per minute.
Each and every one of these breaths can have a positive ripple effect on all the systems of the body.
Slowing our breathing rate decreases stress and lowers blood pressure.
The diaphragm massages the stomach, intestine and colon over 10,000 times a day.Full breaths = healthy digestive system and can improve symptoms like IBS. Diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the ‘rest and digest’ mode, which helps the nutrients in the food be absorbed more efficiently.
Controlled yogic breathing slows the breath rate, activating the hypothalamus, which prohibits stress-producing hormones(cortisol & adrenaline) from being released into the body. Consequently the body feels safe and relaxed.
Integumentary System (skin/hair):
Evidence shows that deep diaphragmatic breathing improves tissue functioning, and controls glucose levels, which effects the ageing of cells. Deep breaths = glowing skin.
Healthy, conscious breath holding (if you are using a full diaphragmatic breath) can increase neutrophil granulocytes, which are the white blood cells vital for fighting off infection and disease.
70% of all toxins leave the body via the lungs and shallow breathing can lead to lymphatic congestion. The lymphatic system relies on the muscular movement of the diaphragm to move things out of the body.
Active breath practices help strengthen and condition the muscles, by sending more oxygen, or vital energy to them. Shallow breathing can cause a lack of oxygen in the muscles and this creates physical tension in the body. A regular breath practice can release tension in the intercostal, diaphragm and core muscles, naturally allowing for a deeper,fuller and healthier breath.
We can go from a sympathetic to para sympathetic state in just a few breaths. Slow, full breaths also stimulate the vagus nerve. The longest cranial nerve in the body (‘vagus’ stems from the word vagabond) and this wandering nerve, guides the body back into a calm and relaxed state. Research shows that an extended exhalation (if using a full diaphragmatic breath) releases a shot of ‘Vagastoff’ (vagus substance) into the body, which acts like a natural tranquiliser.
A full deep breath engages the pelvic diaphragm and will increase blood flow to the ovaries and testes.
The only system of the body that is both voluntary and involuntary, practicing conscious breath techniques will allow us to reap all the benefits of this magical system, which is the gateway to the production of energy and life itself.
A full diaphragmatic breath relies on a healthy posture. And vice versa.
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