Breathing is something that all humans do in order to stay alive. It is not an activity that the individual takes up because it will improve their health – it is just something they do automatically. Most humans will take breathing for granted and it is not something they need to think too much about. Throughout the ages it has been found that deliberately changing the pattern of breathing can have beneficial effects. It is through experimentations over the centuries that breathing exercises have evolved.
There are some great benefits to be enjoyed when people regularly engage in breathing exercises such as:
* These individuals get to enjoy deep states of relaxation.
* It means that people can unwind at the end of a stressful day.
* It increases their ability to handle stressful events.
* It is likely to mean that the individual will avoid stress related illness.
* It causes people to experience a high sense of well-being.
* It helps people to sleep better at night.
* It allows the individual to calm their mind during times of high emotion.
* It includes techniques that can be used anywhere and anytime.
* There is no need to join a relaxation breathing group or buy any equipment.
* These breathing exercise are a gentle introduction to the world of meditation.
* These techniques can increase energy levels.
* Prevents lactic acid from building up in the muscle. This may alleviate symptoms of muscle ache.
* They lead to an improved ability to think clearly
* It can help with heart palpitations
* Relaxation techniques can be beneficial at helping people cope with pain.
* It lowers pulse rate and blood pressure
* It is a good technique for people who are troubled by headaches
* Encourages a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
There are a number of medical conditions where the symptoms may be eased by using breathing exercises including:
* Anxiety conditions
* High blood pressure
* Stress related conditions
* Panic attacks
* Chronic pain
* Chronic fatigue syndrome
* Certain skin conditions including eczema
* Addiction withdrawals
Breathing exercise can be of particularly benefit to those people who are trying to escape an addiction. These techniques are useful because:
* Early recovery is often referred to as an emotional rollercoaster and people can feel as if their minds have gone out of control. These breathing exercises can help the individual regain some control over their emotions.
* It is often said that mediation is a wonderful tool for people in recovery. The problem is that in early recovery most individuals do not have much concentration, and these breathing exercises are more appropriate.
* During the first few months of recovery the individual may be faced with powerful thoughts of craving. These relaxation techniques can help them avoid rushing into a decision that they later regret.
* These techniques can be of benefit to people who are dealing with withdrawal symptoms.
* People in early recovery may have to deal with a great deal of anxiety. These breathing techniques can help with this.
* Insomnia can be one of the withdrawal symptoms that are the most persistent. By practicing these breathing techniques the individual will find it easier to get to sleep at night.
There are many different types of breathing exercises including:
* Alternate Nostril Breathing is said to be good for people who are dealing with a great deal of anxiety and stress. It involves breathing through alternate nostrils during each breath cycle.
* Abdominal breathing is where people focus on the stomach area when breathing instead of their chest. This leads to fuller breaths and feelings of relaxation.
* The Lion’s breath is where exhale through and open mouth and with their tongue protruding. The individual makes a noise as the breath leaves their body, and this technique is said to improve circulation as well as help with relaxation.
* Ujjayi Breath is a technique where people take long deep breaths that cause a vibration noise in the back of the throat. It is said to promote relaxation and help to prevent insomnia.
Those who practice yoga may be introduced to many different types of breathing techniques and each of these will have particular benefits.
There are some simple breathing exercises that people can pick up easily and begin benefiting from right away. Those people who own an iPhone or iPad will also be able to download apps that can help them learn breathing exercises. The most popular apps of this kind at the moment include:
The breathing zone app is recommended by the Harvard Medical School. It includes a breath analyzer so that the device is able to suggest the most appropriate breathing program for each individual. The app includes an animated guide that gives instructions for the techniques. It also includes timed sessions that can be set for 5 to 30 minutes. This app can be purchased for $2.99.
Breathe2Relax is a completely free app that teaches diaphragmatic breathing (abdominal breathing). It includes timed programs and relaxation music in the background. There is also a video that explains who everything works. Those who prefer can set the device so that they are given audio prompts.
Breathe2Relax is also available for free in the Android Market for those who are using this type of device.