Chances are at some point in your life, most likely several times, someone has told you to stop and take a deep breath. It might just seem like a saying, but this is an actual technique that has been around for thousands of years.
Around four thousand years ago, people in India created a method of controlled deep breathing that was used to improve their lives and better manage stress. Exercises were later added to this to form and became what is known as “yoga” today. This slow, deep, controlled breathing is what is at the heart of the relaxation process.
While ancient people knew the benefits of this controlled breathing, modern science has only recently begun to examine these benefits and prove them through scientific studies. This has allowed us to understand the link between breathing, body, and mind and its benefits upon the brain and blood chemistry.
During physically or emotionally stressful times, hormones are released into the blood stream that triggers our “flight or fight response”. These hormones cause increased heart rates, blood pressure, breathing rates, and muscle tension. These effects can be counteracted by activating other areas of the brain through a relaxation response.
Deep breathing is at the center of the relaxation response. While this breathing can help during times of stress, regular practice over time can have lasting effects on improving overall health. Some of these benefits include:
- Reduction of mental and physical fatigue
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases the supply of oxygen to the heart
- Increases the supply of blood and nutrients to muscles and bones
- Strengthens the immune system
- Wrinkles are decreased due to improved circulation and blood flow
- Strength and flexibility of joints increased.
We encourage you to practice deep breathing, and incorporate it into your everyday live. The benefits are numerous, and it doesn’t cost you a thing!