Simple breathing techniques can be key to transforming the mind-body conversation, positively shifting cardiopulmonary functioning, while also ‘talking’ with the nervous system, which is a crucial component of the conversation based on the principle that respiration evokes a particular state of mind and serves as a direct link to the nervous system (1). Unless we are facing a major threat, we want out of the stressful sympathetic nervous system (SNS) dominance, and we want to ease into soothing calm of parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The nervous system is part of the ‘chat room’ that includes, and communicates with, the immune, and endocrine (hormones) systems, and ultimately cellular outcomes (even our DNA and gene functioning is participating in the conversation (1a). Simple, intentional breathing techniques can interrupt the stress response, and set off a whole host of positive mind-body changes. The following are some examples of breathing techniques that can be used separately, or pulled-together and used as one simple, effective technique with very little time and no cost.
As a bonus, by focusing our attention on our breathing, we have reduced ‘mind chatter,’ which often times includes worry and fear when dealing with illness or stressful life circumstances.
By using breathing techniques that help us switch from Sympathetic Nervous System (Stress) dominance to Parasympathetic Nervous System (calming/healing) dominance, we have simultaneously helped elicit the ‘relaxation response’, which is ‘talking’ with all our other systems and can positively affect our perception of pain, our immune functioning, sleep cycles, our ability to cope (1), and a host of other benefits that extend beyond patient care to self-care, and even more, such as teaching it to your children to prepare for injections, or other things that frighten them, as it helps them focus and become calmer. I’ve been teaching my own children these techniques from the age of two, to cope with everything from childhood hurts, to asthma, to making better free throws in basketball
For patient care, teaching simple and intentional breathing techniques take a minimum of time, and can be used independently by patients, family members and caregivers, to manage stress, anxiety, pain, agitation, and a host of other conditions – such as nausea, or constipation – and only take a few minutes to re-enforce during visits by the healthcare team.
Small Ways to > BIG Change
If you’d like to hear Mayling talk about this subject, go to: http://beyondtheordinary.net/mayling.shtml to listen to a free, 1 hr archive on this subject related and others, just scroll down her guest page to her guest spot for Nov 14, 2005, and simply click on the “Listen Now” speaker box
Article 2007 written by Mayling, RN, HN-BC Board Certified Holistic Nurse, Executive Director for Holistic Education & Program Development, Brightest Blessings Creations, Network Leader for the American Holistic Nurses Association, and President of The Center for Nursing Advocacy, Los Angeles Chapter. Permission to use article is granted only with notification, and use of author name, title, and reference to www.BrightestBlessingsCreations.com. For permission email: Ask@BrightestBlessingsCreations.com