I know the magic of diaphragmatic breathing. But sometimes, I get complacent.
Today I was reminded of how magical and powerful it is for the body.
As you may know, I’m in the perimenopause stage of my life, and I’ve’ had an uptick in headaches (due to hormonal fluctuations). I am not a pill popper, not even supplements. I prefer powder. Not saying I don’t’ and won’t’ take a pill if necessary. I don’t’ like swallowing them.
Anyway, I digress. Today, a sudden headache came on, and it was worse than any I’ve’ ever felt. Truthfully, I was also stressing earlier about something I had no control over. The headache was so intense I grabbed my COVID bag (yes, I have one). Just as I was about to pop off the lid and take two Tylenol, I said to myself, “Dixie, what are you doing, girl? Use your breath.”
So, I dove into a 4-7-8 diaphragmatic breathing technique, and after five rounds, like freaking magic, the headache was gone. Of course, all headaches don’t stem from hormonal imbalance. But this one did. I’ve’ come to know the feeling quite well. Though it was more intense than in the past, breathing deep and diaphragmatically eased the ache.
Simply put, diaphragmatic breathing shifts the body from operating in sympathetic/flight or fight mode to parasympathetic/rest, repair, and digest mode.
I must say this before I sign off, this is not medical advice for anyone. It’s my experience. You are welcome to try it. Know your body, get your annual checkups, always talk to your caregiver about symptoms you’re’ experiencing, and get diagnostics when necessary. Trust me. I’ve gotten head scans, x-rays, and other diagnostics, to rule out anything life-threatening. And still, you never know.
How To Do The 4-7-8 diaphragmatic breathing technique:
- Place your tongue to the roof of the mouth, just behind the top of your front teeth
- Keep your lips parted
- Relax your entire body, including your face
- Inhale through the nose for a count of four
- Hold the breath for a count of seven
- Exhale through the nose for a count of eight.
Repeat the breaths three to five times, and you can do them anywhere, sitting, driving on your bed, at the desk, etc.