Stress is an inevitable part of life, and everyone experiences it at some point. While it's normal to feel stressed, chronic stress can have adverse effects on our mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage stress, and one effective method is through breathwork. Breathwork is a simple yet powerful technique that involves intentional breathing patterns to improve our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this blog, we'll explore different types of breathwork, the benefits, and how they can help manage stress!

Let’s begin with a few different breathwork techniques:

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing: This is also known as belly breathing. This is likely the most common form of breathwork and is practiced in various forms of meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices. It involves deep breathing into the belly, expanding the diaphragm, and filling the lungs with air.
  1. Box Breathing: This technique has gained popularity in recent years and is commonly used in military training and mindfulness practices. It involves inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and holding for a count of four before repeating the cycle.
  1. Alternate Nostril Breathing: This is a yogic breathing technique that is commonly practiced in yoga and meditation practices. It involves using the fingers to alternately close one nostril and then the other as you inhale and exhale.
  1. Kapalabhati: This is a yogic breathing technique that involves short, sharp exhales followed by passive inhales. It is said to help clear the sinuses, stimulate the nervous system, and improve focus. While not as commonly practiced as the previous techniques mentioned, it is still a popular practice in yoga and meditation communities.

**Note: Kapalabhati may not be suitable for patients with epilepsy, stroke, or migraines. Also, patients who are pregnant, dealing with heart ailments or severe spine-related back problems should also avoid this technique. 


Now that you’ve learned about a few different breathwork techniques, here are a few ways breathwork can help with stress:

  1. Calms the Nervous System: When we're stressed or anxious, our nervous system can become overstimulated, leading to feelings of panic, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. Breathwork can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for our "rest and digest" response. This can help to slow down the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and promote relaxation.
  1. Increases Mindfulness: Breathwork can help to bring your focus and attention to the present moment, which can be beneficial for managing stress and anxiety. By focusing on the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the body, you can cultivate a sense of mindfulness and reduce the impact of stressful thoughts.
  1. Improves Breathing Patterns: When we're stressed or anxious, we tend to take shallow, rapid breaths, which can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety. Breathwork can help to improve breathing patterns by encouraging slower, deeper breaths. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, as well as improve overall lung function.
  1. Releases Tension: Breathwork can also help to release tension and tightness in the body, which can be a physical manifestation of stress and anxiety. Deep breathing exercises can help to loosen up the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back, reducing feelings of tension and promoting relaxation.


Overall, breathwork can be a helpful tool for managing stress and anxiety. It's important to note that while breathwork can be a beneficial practice, it may not be a substitute for professional medical or mental health treatment. If you're experiencing severe or chronic anxiety or stress, it's important to seek support from a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Shane Jeffers has also created a video on these techniques and their benefits. You can watch it below!