The Benefits of Breath Awareness

Breathing is not something that we think about or focus on, and it often goes unnoticed. When most of us think of “deep breathing” we think of the amount of air we breathe in. The key to deep breathing is actually not the amount of air we take in, but the use of our diaphragm vs. our chest.

Chest breathing can make us feel constricted, tight, and anxious. Deep breathing, also known as belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, allows for more oxygen to enter our bodies, subsequently improving our well-being. More oxygen in our bodies, means more carbon dioxide being expelled, and more toxins being released from our bodies. Aside from detoxing and improving our immune system, practicing deep breathing regularly can:

  • Increase your energy

  • Improve digestion

  • Relieve muscle tension

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Slow down the appearance of aging

  • Improve sleep quality

  • Relieve stress and anxiety

The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique is a popular exercise that is effective at reducing stress by regulating your breathing and activating your parasympathetic nervous system. In doing so, it regulates our fight-or-flight response and helps calm us. To do this technique, sit upright in a comfortable position or lay down if you’re trying to induce sleep. Then, in one breathing cycle you will:

  1. Slightly part your lips and while making a whooshing sound, completely exhale out your mouth

  2. Close your mouth and silently inhale through your nose, while counting to four in your head.

  3. Hold your breath for seven seconds.

  4. Exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

  5. Repeat for a total of four breath cycles.

BREATHE.gif

Regularly practicing deep breathing exercises is also extremely important during massages. Controlling your breathing and relaxing your mind during your massage will lead your body to do the same, resulting in a deeper sense of relaxation. By taking deep breaths during your massage, you’ll be switching from your fight-or-flight response to your parasympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system will lower pain reception in the body, promote toxin release, and increase blood supply to stiff muscles, making sure you get the most out of your massage.

Although breathing is mostly involuntary, we only breathe properly when our body is functioning properly. Our back and chest muscles relax and contract during our breathing cycle and may tighten or become stiff when we experience stress or anxiety. This can affect our breathing, making it more shallow and resulting in a limited amount of oxygen in our bodies, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, and nausea. Body massages can help alleviate stiffness in our back and chest, improving the function of our respiratory system. Breathing deeply during your massage will also help strengthen your primary breathing muscles, further providing a more effective resistance to stress.

By being conscious of your breathing, you’ll be able to manage your stress and anxiety more efficiently. It may take practice, but by making focused, deep breathing part of your daily routine, your massages will be more effective, giving you a more relaxed, quality lifestyle.

Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

Knots and How To Manage Them

We all have experienced the discomfort of having knots throughout our body, but what are they actually and how do we get rid of them?

Our bodies are comprised of hundreds of muscles, overlapping one another, and are prone to becoming hard and painful due to:

  • A sedentary lifestyle

  • Injury or overuse

  • Poor posture

Our muscles are constantly contracting whether we’re moving and even just sitting! Knots form when the muscles contract, tighten, and do not release on their own. This is what causes discomfort, sensitivity, and even pain.

Body massages increase circulation and improve blood flow, which makes massage therapy extremely effective at releasing tense muscles and relieving the pain. During your body massage, the therapist will manipulate and apply pressure to the muscles, encouraging them to release. Massages also cause our soothing hormones, known as endorphins, to release and reduce anxiety and stress.  

Although foot reflexology does not directly manipulate tight muscles, massaging the dozens of pressure points on the feet can result in a state of total body relaxation. This can help relax the muscles and bring ease to the discomfort, while also reducing stress.

Releasing stubborn knots can take multiple massage sessions. There are, however, a couple things you can do at home to treat your muscle tightness and prevent more from developing!

  • Stretch routinely. Stretching the locked muscle can help release the tension and prevent future knots from developing by increasing your flexibility.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise improves mobility and increases blood supply to the muscles.

  • Rest as needed. Taking a break from activities that are causing the knots or increasing your pain can prevent them from becoming worse.

Stubborn knots are the inevitable product of our busy lifestyles. Knowing what causes them and how to treat them can improve your ability to perform and prevent unnecessary stress. For more information on how our services can help with your muscle tension, go to: https://serenityzen.com/service-overview/

Sylvan Esso - Signal