Breathe - Pain 2 Possibilities


Breathing is something that we often take for granted day in and day out. As a matter of fact, when I ran a Wellness centre for big Pharma, I would often joke with the employees that they should learn how to breathe. To which they quickly replied…I already know how to breathe. Ever wonder what’s actually going on in there when you take a deep breath? Simply put, it looks like this:
1) lung ventilation:
This is the initiation of external respiration through which inhaling and exhaling occur.
2) gas exchange:
O2 (oxygen) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) pass through the surface of the lungs.
3) gas transfer:
This is the transport of O2 from the lungs (through that inhale) and to the tissues, and of CO2 back to the lungs (for that deep exhale).
Go ahead. . . take another deep breath. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. And this is where all good things begin!
Paying attention to our breathing serves many, many benefits. Breath increases energy, calms the nervous system by slowing down the fight or flight response, improves our respiratory system and all the muscles that support it (think Diaphragm, the intercostals between the ribs, into the shoulders and spine), improves our cardiovascular and digestive systems and can slow a busy mind. One of my favourite functions of deep breathing is in the management of pain. I could go on but this is a great start.
One of the simplest ways I can pass along to practice deep, rhythmic breathing is ‘four corner breathing’. Visualize if you will, the outline of a book. As you follow your eyes along the top edge of the book take a slow, deep breath in. When your eyes turn the corner and follow the book’s edge down, hold your breath. When your eyes turn the corner again to follow the bottom edge, breathe out slowly and completely. Hold you breath one last time while your eyes follow the outside of the book up to the start point. This is great for kids and grown ups alike!

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