Breathing exercises are simple, safe, and easy to do self-management tools for the relief of a multitude of digestive issues, and studies have shown that regular practice brings major benefits for overall digestive health.
There are several breathing techniques, and here are 2 that you can try:
Diaphragmatic Breathing (deep belly breathing) is a simple and effective technique, using the stomach rather than the chest with each breath cycle – expanding while inhaling, and contracting while exhaling.
For busy and distracted minds, it is also useful to count while inhaling and exhaling, paying full attention to each breath.
Activating the diaphragm creates a gentle massaging action to the structures of the entire digestive system including the intestines, which can help with the relief of abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and urgency and more….
Diaphragmatic Breathing facilitates the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest state) which can help further with specific GI related symptoms.
1. Make yourself comfortable either sitting on a chair with spine erect, or lying down
2. Place one hand on your abdomen, and the other on your chest
3. Inhale through your nose for the count of 4 (4 seconds), feeling the abdomen expand, while the chest and the hand on your chest remaining still
4. Pause/hold the breath for a count of 2, and exhale through slightly pursed but relaxed lips (gently and without force) for the count of 6
5. Repeat this pattern for minimum of 5 minutes, which can be built up to 10minutes.
Breathing visualisation has the same physiological benefits as the diaphragmatic breathing but requires and tests greater focus and is excellent for overthinking minds. Despite it being a little more challenging, the results are worth it, as it brings overall calm and sense of wellbeing.