We’re going to give some thought to breathing, which is so instinctual, that we don’t think about it. However, breathing is not only a necessity; it can help us relax and manage pain.
Here’s what happens when we breathe:
- Muscles contract
- Diaphragm expands
- Low pressure is in the lungs, high pressure is outside
- Air goes into the lungs through the mouth/nose and then through the trachea
- Air passes into the bronchi
- Air passes through the bronchioles
- Air passes to the alveoli and gas exchange occurs
- Muscles relax
- Diaphragm contracts
- Pressure increases in the lungs
- Air is breathed out
We take this system very much for granted, but if it were to fail, we would give anything to breathe again. Indeed, most people would lose consciousness after not being able to breathe for two minutes; brain death usually occurs four or five minutes after cessation of this process.
It’s no surprise that breathing is essential to life. But is that its only purpose, to sustain our existence? No. Breathing consciously is a powerful tool for relaxation, and through relaxation, pain management. Breathing therapy has been used successfully in managing chronic low back pain. So, how do we breathe consciously? Try this (an oldie, but a goodie).
How’d that go? Let me know in the comments!