Self Care with Air

Breathing Tips


From the Healing Bridge Physical Therapy

Winter 2004 Newsletter


• Give ‘em room: With proper posture, your lungs have the space they need to expand and to deflate, and can function efficiently.


• Let it flow: We often hold our breath when we are performing a physical task (opening a jar), or when performing a mental task. (searching for the right word, awaiting a verbal reply from someone). Holding your breath increases muscle tension. Practice breathing through all the tasks that you do.


• Take 5: Slow diaphragmatic breathing can increase relaxation and circulation as well as decrease muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. Try counting to 5 while inhaling and to 10 while exhaling.


• Don’t break your neck: Breathing shallowly is inefficient, and uses your neck muscles, which may explain headaches, or back/neck tension!


• Keep it low: Bring your attention to your diaphragm muscle. As you inhale, the diaphragm pushes downward on your abdomen, causing expansion of your belly. When you exhale, it flattens. Utilize your diaphragm muscle, not your neck muscles.


• Wait-a-second: Stop and check in with your body every so often during the day. Take a deep slow breath. Then do it again – you’ll feel better!


• Beneficial intentions: Inhale through your nose slowly. Fill up your body with fresh clean air. Exhale even more slowly through your mouth, removing toxins. This is the most beneficial relaxation breath.


• Get some support: Put your feet flat on the floor, or release your weight to the chair or bed. Let your shoulders, neck and face relax. Now take a deep breath, fill ‘er up! It’s FREE!