What if simply changing how you're breathing could have a major impact on your pelvic health? Diaphragmatic (or belly) breathing is an important tool for the nervous system and pelvic floor. It's been shown to reduce stress, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, improve core muscle stability, and actually help the pelvic floor relax!
The opposite - what many of us do daily - is shallow chest breathing. This is a signal to our body there may be danger afoot. The nervous system amplifies and our stress levels increase, getting ready to fight or flee. Diaphragmatic breathing reverses this impulse and lets the body know it's safe to relax!
Diaphragmatic Breathing (n): deep, slow breaths that engage the diaphragm and expand the belly
Start practicing diaphragmatic breathing today for improved pelvic health! Start with just two minutes and see how your body feels! One of the best things about diaphragmatic breathing is it actually allows the pelvic floor to expand and relax.
Who are We at PelvicSanity?
At PelvicSanity, it's our mission to support patients with pelvic pain and pelvic floor symptoms, regardless of where you live. We can help with:
How to Practice Diaphragmatic (Belly) Breathing for Pelvic Health
Rest one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. Use your hands to feel the movements of your body as you breath.
Inhale slowly and gently, allowing the stomach to rise. Keep your chest relaxed and still and draw breath into your belly.
Exhale slowly and gently, allowing the air to quietly escape without forcing it out. Notice your belly slowly lower to its starting position
That's it! Start by practicing for two minutes and see how your body feels. You can do these breathing exercise throughout the day. Try it at red lights, set an alarm on your phone, or practice before bed!
Frequently Asked Questions about Diaphragmatic Breathing
What position should I practice belly breathing for pelvic health in?
Begin by practicing laying on your back with your legs bent or supported. As you get used to the feeling of the belly expanding you can begin to practice in sitting, standing or other positions!
Should I breathe through my nose or mouth?
Inhale through your nose if possible. You may exhale through either your nose or mouth.
How long and often should I practice diaphragmatic breathing?
We all begin life breathing naturally through our diaphragm but many of us have lost the skill over time. There's no limit to how often you can practice, and because we breath all day long there are almost infinite opportunities to practice.
This is also great to do in conjunction with pelvic health stretches, meditation or other physical activities.
Here's a great Video Intro to Belly Breathing for more info! video introduction to belly breathing.
Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.