Deep breathing is not a new practice; however, it has recently become a popular addition to many daily routines. When researching “Deep breathing,” you are sure to find many positive and negative statements regarding the practice. Some common deep breathing myths are that an increase of carbon dioxide from the air will harm you, that deep breathing will overwork your lungs, or that deep breathing will increase your high when smoking marijuana. That last myth might be surprising for smokers, but the “better high” you receive is nothing more than lightheadedness from oxygen deprivation; here, you can read more on this myth.
Deep breathing is actually known to have many positive benefits, so keep reading to find out how the practice can improve your mind, body, and overall health.
1. Releases Muscle Tension and pain
Deep breathing improves blood circulation, which helps oxygen circulate through the blood. When your blood oxygen levels rise, inflammation decreases, resulting in muscle tension and pain relief.
2. Fight or flight mode
The Sympathetic nervous system becomes activated with deep breaths; this is the system that ignites our fight or flight mode. This fight or flight reaction is good to have activated when you are in a situation that requires high alert and fast thinking.
3. Boosts energy
When fight or flight mode is activated, you also feel a surge of energy because of the adrenaline and cortisol released from the sympathetic system.
4. Strengthens the immune system
Although the science of this claim is still unknown, many people find that adding deep breathing to your daily routine improves their immune system. The theory is that deep breathing relaxes your body and allows for a better immune response.
5. Promotes better sleep
Deep breathing before bed has been shown to promote a better night’s sleep. Because these breathing practices relax the mind and body, reduce muscle tension, and regulate heart rates, falling asleep is easier, and sleep quality is better.
6. Regulates heart rate
If you have a high heart rate, deep breathing can help because an increase in oxygen dilates blood vessels and regulates blood flow.
7. Balances oxygen levels
You may be surprised to find out that most people do not hold a stable breathing rhythm. However, if you pay attention to your breathing pattern, you will see that you often hold your breath while concentrating. These irregular breathing patterns send signals to the brain that you are in distress. Deep breathing balances your oxygen levels back to where they should be.
8. Helps anxiety
When oxygen flow to the brain increases, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, promoting a calm state. In addition, many mental health professionals suggest deep breathing to counteract any incoming feelings of anxiety.
9. Improves concentration
Deep breathing has been shown to improve attention span, critical thinking, and sensory processing. This improvement is caused by the blood flow and oxygen regulation that occurs in the prefrontal cortex when taking deep breaths.
10. Improves mood
Deep breathing activates the pituitary gland.; the pituitary gland is the part of the body that controls endorphin release. Endorphins are the “happy hormones,” and the increase of endorphins through deep breathing will result in an improved mood.
11. Helps your skin
Because deep breathing increases blood flow and oxygen levels, your collagen levels also increase, directly impacting skin elasticity and health.
12. Release harmful toxins
Breathing is the body’s natural way of releasing toxins; By practicing deep breathing, your body can discrete up to %70 of the harmful toxins in your body.
13. Core muscle and spinal stability
When you take deep breaths, your body contracts the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and core muscles. If practicing deep breathing correctly while working out, you create a natural rhythm for your body to follow, resulting in a more stable and safe routine.
14. Better tolerate intense workouts
Deep breathing can help you tolerate exercise if your workouts are intense because it lowers blood pressure, allows oxygen to circulate to the muscles, and keeps you relaxed. Unfortunately, people often have an unconscious habit of holding their breath while lifting weights or doing strenuous work; this habit can cause you to feel light-headed.
15. Helps digestion
Deep breathing also provides oxygen to the digestive tract. This increase of oxygen can help to eliminate gas, bloating, and discomfort. Additionally, these deep breaths cause your ribs, diaphragm, and stomach to expand and contract, allowing for better digestion and flow of foods and gasses.
There are many different deep breathing techniques and exercises that you can learn. Depending on what benefits you need, whether it’s anxiety, muscle pain, or blood pressure, you can decide which techniques are best for you. You can learn more about these techniques here in this article.