The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing is meant to help you use the diaphragm correctly while breathing. This breathing technique offers several benefits to your body including reducing your blood pressure and heart rate and improving relaxation.
The diaphragm is the most efficient muscle for breathing. It’s a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of your lungs. Your abdominal muscles help move the diaphragm and give you more power to empty your lungs.
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Diaphragmatic breathing helps you use your diaphragm correctly while breathing to:
During diaphragmatic breathing, you consciously use your diaphragm to take deep breaths. When you breathe normally, you don’t use your lungs to their full capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to use your lungs at 100% capacity to increase lung efficiency.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also known as:
Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may prevent the diaphragm from working effectively.
Your lungs rise and fall naturally, but when you have COPD, air often becomes trapped in your lungs. This pushes down on your diaphragm. Your neck and chest muscles must then assume an increased share of the work of breathing. Conditions like COPD can leave your diaphragm weakened and flattened, causing it to work less efficiently.
Diaphragmatic breathing offers several benefits to your body including:
Diaphragmatic breathing can help several conditions that cause symptoms that affect how you breathe including:
Diaphragmatic breathing can help treat certain conditions, but it shouldn’t be the only treatment. You can use this technique along with other treatments recommended by your healthcare provider.
When you first learn the diaphragmatic breathing technique, it may be easier for you to follow the instructions lying down.
As you gain more practice, you can try the diaphragmatic breathing technique while sitting in a chair.
To perform this exercise while sitting in a chair:
Yes, practicing diaphragmatic breathing makes it easier. You may notice it takes an increased effort to use your diaphragm correctly. At first, you'll probably get tired while doing this exercise. But keep at it, because with continued practice diaphragmatic breathing will become automatic.
At first, practice this exercise for five to 10 minutes about three to four times per day. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise, and perhaps even increase the effort of the exercise by placing a book on your abdomen.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
As with learning anything new, the first few times you practice diaphragmatic breathing, it may be difficult. Take a couple of minutes each day to practice this new skill, which offers many benefits to your overall health and can help you relax. If you have a condition like COPD, asthma or anxiety, talk to your provider about diaphragmatic breathing to see if it’s right for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/30/2022.
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