What are the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing?

What are the muscles of respiration?

There are several respiratory muscles. They are detailed below.

The diaphragm muscle

THE diaphragm is a muscle dome shape that separates the rib cage from the abdomen. The diaphragm is the main muscle of respiration. It is therefore essential to stimulate it to maintain its mobility and optimize good ventilation of the lungs”, warns Clementine Joachimcertified sophrologist.

How does the diaphragm work?

“On inspiration, the diaphragm lowers to allow air to enter to the bottom of the lungs. This explains the belly swelling when inhaling : the diaphragm presses on the viscera, so the belly swellsdetails the sophrologist. On exhalation, the diaphragm rises to push the air towards the exit: the belly deflates. »

Other breathing muscles

Apart from the main muscle that is the diaphragm, we also find:

  • the intercostal muscles which are located between the ribs. They control, with the diaphragm, the volume of the rib cage allowing to modify the shape during the inspiratory and expiratory movements;
  • neck muscles : these are the scalene muscles which participate in breathing, during inspiration;
  • the abdominal muscles : these are the muscles that contract to expel the air.

What are the different types of breathing?

“Schematically, breathing consists of three “stages”, from top to bottom:

  • there apical breathing (between the upper chest and the collarbones),
  • there chest breathing,
  • and diaphragmatic breathing which is also called abdominal breathing. This last “floor” of breathing is essential and yet, we do not think enough about activating it in everyday life. regrets Clémentine Joachim, certified sophrologist.

Why breathe through the diaphragm?

The benefits of diaphragmatic breathing are many. Clémentine Joachim, certified sophrologist details them below.

  • She activates the parasympathetic systemsource of recovery.
  • It regulates the heart rate. This is thanks, in particular, to the activation of the parasympathetic system which slows down the rhythm and reduces blood pressure.
  • She promotes cell oxygenation and disposal of gaseous waste.
  • She stimulates the secretion of endorphins, thus providing a feeling of well-being. Endorphins have an anxiolytic and natural relaxing action.
  • It reduces stress.
  • It leads to a decrease in anxiety.
  • It decreases anxiety.
  • She preserves the flexibility of the diaphragm and therefore keeps the respiratory system in good condition.

Clémentine Joachim, sophrologist: Diaphragmatic breathing is a tool to be used without moderation to promote recovery, manage stress and relax.

So let’s use, let’s abuse this abdominal breathing!

How to do diaphragmatic breathing?

Clémentine Joachim, certified sophrologist offers two sophrology exercises that stimulate diaphragmatic breathing. To practice without moderation!

Exercise n°1: body heating

starting position : standing or sitting: place one hand on the lower abdomen below the navel, and the other hand on the lower back. Close eyes.

Instructions : inhale deeply through the nose, inflating the belly. Feel the belly pushing the hand forward (it is the diaphragm which lowers to let the air enter to the bottom of the lungs). Exhale very slowly, blowing out through your mouth and drawing your navel in towards your spine. Feel the deflating belly (it is the diaphragm which rises to repel air and promote the elimination of gaseous waste). Take a natural breath and observe the sensations: the belly can be more flexible, because it unravels little by little. The heartbeat slows down. Repeat this exercise at least 3 times in a row.

This repetition will allow you to feel the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing gradually spread.

Tip 1 : This exercise aims to stimulate diaphragmatic breathing. It should therefore be dissociated from chest breathing. On inspiration through the nose, focus all of your attention on the belly, which expands without inflating the ribs at the same time. The rib cage must remain static to work the flexibility of the diaphragm and the abdomen, and not that of the ribs.

Tip 2 : you can also practice this exercise lying down, it is often easier to start. In this case, place both hands on the lower abdomen. Once you are comfortable in this practice lying down, try standing or sitting.

Whether it is practiced standing or sitting, placing one hand on the lower abdomen and the other hand on the lower back promotes the perception of abdominal movements: the gap between the two hands widens on inspiration when the belly swells, and shrinks on exhalation when the belly deflates. But you can also practice with both hands on the lower abdomen.

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Exercise n°2: the nauli

starting position : standing, eyes closed.

Attention: the nauli is practiced with reverse breathing : we start by exhaling through the mouth before inhaling through the nose.

Instructions : Exhale while blowing through your mouth while leaning slightly forward. Once all the air in the lungs has expired, support yourself with your hands on your knees (to help relax your abdomen) and hold your breath, with your lungs empty. During this breath retention time, inflate and deflate the belly several times in a row (which stimulates the diaphragm and helps maintain its flexibility and mobility). Gradually straighten up while inhaling through your nose. Once back standing in the initial position, keep your eyes closed and observe the sensations: even more flexibility in the stomach, the movements of the abdomen intensify and the flexibility of the diaphragm is guaranteed. Repeat this exercise at least 3 times.


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These abdominal breathing exercises can be done daily in the morning before leaving for work or in the evening when coming home to relax.

With regular practice, the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing will quickly be felt. We try ?

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