Are you like many people who find themselves holding their breath or breathing very shallow?
However, do you notice that when you consciously breathe deeply that you feel better? Do you feel your body relax, your stress levels go down, and your body become more energized?
Deep breathing not only stimulates relaxation in your body but it directly activates important pathways that are primed to improve your health.
It boils down to this.
The nervous system is composed of two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight, stress response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest, and heal response).
These two branches are like a teeter-totter of opposing forces—if one branch is “up” or “on” the other branch is “down” or “off”.
If you’re like most people, your sympathetic state is “on” most of the time—triggered by stress, deadlines, chronic illness, financial worries, family concerns, and over-scheduled calendars.
In this state your body is flooded with stress hormones and inflammation, your detoxification and digestive systems slow to a near halt, and your immune system isn’t working at it’s best.
In other words, you’re promoting disease—not health—when you reside in the sympathetic state.
In order for your body to heal you must spend time in the “rest, digest, and heal” state.
This is especially important if you have an autoimmune or chronic disease as some of the most important mechanism for healing your body—optimal detoxification, digestion, and immunity—are most active during the parasympathetic state.
There are lots of things that induce this state in your body like: massage, yoga, laughter, good conversation, connecting with loved ones, a slow walk or a warm bath.
But one of the quickest and easiest ways to get there is by deep breathing.
And it’s one of the few physiological activities you can consciously control.
Think about this for a moment.
You have no conscious control over the majority of your bodily functions.
You can’t tell yourself to stop being stressed, to lower your blood pressure, to stop feeling anxious or to start healing, detoxifying and digesting properly (or any of the other things that will help your body heal).
But you have the ability to control your breathing which gives your body the instant message to start healing.
That’s pretty amazing, right?
You can always take a deep breath (or a few) and your body will respond favorably.
Here are 7 scientifically proven things that happen in your body as a result of deep breathing. You’ll notice that they’re all things that promote healing and wellness.
Take a few deep breaths and your…
- Blood Pressure and Heart http://www.mindanews.com/buy-paxil/ Rate will Decrease: About 30% of adults in the US have high blood pressure. New research suggests that just 30 seconds of deep breathing can significantly reduce blood pressure and heart rate both of which are essential for optimal wellness.
- Blood Sugar will Normalize: High blood sugar triggers inflammation and disease processes in the body. Studies suggest that stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system can reduce blood sugar levels and moderate insulin release.
- Energy and Metabolism with Increase: Metabolism, simply put, is how your body breaks down fuel to make energy—a process that requires oxygen. Deep breathing increases oxygen in your body optimizing this process resulting in increased energy and weight loss.
- Detoxification Rate Increases: Deep breathing facilitates the release of carbon dioxide (a waste product) from the lungs and it triggers the cells of the body to enter “clean-up” mode. Detoxification is a key component of wellness especially if you have autoimmune or chronic disease.
- Cortisol Levels Normalize: Elevated cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to adrenal fatigue, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain (especially around your waistline), insomnia, hormonal imbalances, and lowered immunity. Deep breathing directly counteracts the stress response in your body.
- Digestion and Absorption Become Optimized: Food is the most powerful medicine you can put in your body. But, it’s only powerful if you’re able to digest and absorb what you eat. And, this only occurs optimally when your body is in the parasympathetic state.
- Pain Levels Go Down: Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system through deep breathing has been shown to reduce pain perception in those who suffer with chronic pain like fibromyalgia.
Some Final Thoughts…
Deep breathing can instantly change what’s happening in your body.
If you suffer with chronic health issues, the more you are in parasympathetic or “healing mode” the more likely you are to induce healing pathways in your body.
Within a few seconds of some deep belly breaths, your body receives the message that it can relax. Stress and cortisol levels go down and you begin to optimize digestion, detoxification and your immunity.
It’s easy to get started.
Several times a day, take just a few minutes to take several deep belly breaths. Inhale through your nose 4-5 seconds, hold your breath for 6-7 seconds, and exhale through your mouth for 8-9 seconds.
Set alarms on your phone or put up reminder notes to “breathe” in places you’ll visit frequently throughout the day.
What’s your take?
Do you include deep breathing exercises as part of your healing and wellness protocols? Any advice or tips for those just get started?
I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.
Want to learn more about how functional medicine can help you feel better? Check out my FREE Email Series, 7 Keys to Reversing Autoimmune Conditions, you’ll learn:
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