Abdominal Breathing is also called Diaphragmatic Breathing or Belly Breathing. In this post, we take a look at what it means when we practice a deliberate Abdominal Breathing technique.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that Abdominal Breathing is not something extraordinary, but already part of our normal, effortless breathing pattern, the type of breathing that is called Eupnea.
Now, deliberately performing the Abdominal Breathing technique involves intentionally contracting the diaphragm (the muscle located horizontally between the thoracic cavity and abdominal cavity) while inhaling air slowly and deeply through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth.
With Abdominal Breathing the diaphragm contracts, air will enter the lungs, and the abdominal region expands. The muscles of the chest will do less work compared to normal, relaxed breathing patterns, shallow breathing, and/or so-called Chest Breathing.
Abdominal Breathing is considered a deeper form of breathing. It allows practitioner taking normal and full breaths, relax, lower pulse rate and blood pressure, while maximizing the amount of oxygen that enters into the bloodstream. It can be practiced lying down or sitting up.
Consciously carrying out Abdominal Breathing techniques may be used to counteract or interrupt shallow breathing, to strengthen the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, to decrease breathing efforts and energy needs, to calm down in stressful situations, as a technique in certain types of Breathwork and in meditation practices, or as a tool in specific bodywork modalities, such as in Yoga, Reusi Dat Ton, Tai Chi, among others.
It may also be used therapeutically to alleviate certain health issues, such as headaches, anxiety, depression, menstrual cramps, and intestinal and/or stomach issues. Moreover, those who experience problems with the chest region or lungs may benefit of practicing Abdominal Breathing to increase oxygen intake.
On the Internet, you can find lots of examples of how to practice deliberate Abdominal Breathing. For instance, just take a look at:
- WikiHow – How to Do Abdominal Breathing
- University of Georgia – Department of Psychology
- University of Saskatchewan