Deep breathing relieves stress and pelvic floor issues

In Blog by Bev Kosuljandic

The average adult takes 17,000 to 23,000 breaths per day – yet most of us do it poorly. Well enough to keep ourselves upright, but not well enough to reap the major health benefits that come with deep breathing. It’s an automatic process that we don’t pay much attention to until we’re doing something strenuous or have health issues.

By occasionally checking in with your body throughout the day, you can learn to breathe more effectively. If you can cue yourself to take 2 to 3 deep breaths every hour, you can lower your stress levels, relax your muscles, increase your energy, and become more clear-headed. It’s like an instant “refresh” button!

Mindful deep breathing is a habit like any other, and I suggest to my clients when they are trying to adopt a new habit that they wear their watch on their right wrist, rather than their left, to cue themselves to remember the desired behaviour – in this case, to take a deep breath.

Practice deep breathing with this simple tip.

“Do I breathe with my belly or not?”—it’s a question we all get at Jericho Physio. Proper deep breathing is like anything else, it takes practice.

Since your lungs are in your chest, I get you to start there. As your ability improves you can expand, taking deeper breaths that go from your chest to your belly.

As you’re learning, it helps to imagine that you have a nose on the back of your head. Use it to breathe down into your back. This technique will help you find the expansion in your lower chest before you start expanding your abdomen. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

Core breathing can strengthen your pelvic floor.

If you have done Yoga, Pilates or Feldenkrais classes, you have been taught several different breathing techniques. A recent class I took at Open Door Yoga introduced me to core breathing, which taught me to relax my pelvic floor on the inhale and engage it (do a kegel squeeze) on the exhale. Totally counterintuitive and very effective!

We also learned counted breath/hold techniques and hypopressive breathing, which is being used more and more for people with pelvic floor issues. This technique really mobilizes the contents of the pelvis and connects it to the diaphragm very well – as well as strengthening your abdominal muscles.

I have been using these techniques with clients who have pelvic floor issues with great results. It really helps everyone connect their chest and breath to their low back and pelvis with greater balance and awareness.

Interested in learning more? To make an appointment with Bev, please call our office at 604-228-1474, or use our online request form.