How to Breath Optimally: Diaphragmatic & Paradoxical Breathing

Are you Breathing Optimally?

Did you know that most people do not breathe properly? Many people utilize their chest muscles to breathe and not their abdomen. We come into the world as good breathers; all infants practice “Belly Breathing”. Over time, stress causes our muscles to tighten and our culture encourages that men and women constrict their stomach muscles which leads people to make shallow chest breathing feel normal. At Backs in Action Wellness Centre, located in East Vancouver near the Commercial Broadway Skytrain Hub, we want to help you get on the path to better breathing!

Paradoxical Breathing

  • This type of breathing is what many people commonly practice
  • The body goes through abnormal chest movements
    • When inhaling the chest moves inward
    • When exhaling the chest moves outward

Drawbacks of Paradoxical Breathing

  • Impairs the ability to effectively exhale
  • Limits the amount of oxygen inhaled

What is Diaphragmatic Breathing?

  • Also known as Belly Breathing
  • This type of breathing utilizes the diaphragm (a sheet of muscle at the bottom of the lung) to help push as much air out of your lungs as possible
  • Often preferred by runners over chest breathing because it allows them to completely fill their lungs
  • If you have ever done Yoga, this is the type of breathing that they recommend/encourage

Benefits of Belly Breathing

  • Exhale more Carbon Dioxide
  • Inhale more Oxygen
  • Lower or Stabilize Blood Pressure
  • Slows the heartbeat

How to Belly Breathe

  • Lie on your back with a book on your stomach
    • This will help you see your stomach rising and falling
    • Your chest should be relatively still throughout
  • As you inhale pretend to yawn
    • This will help you fill your lungs with oxygen
    • The book on your stomach should rise when inhaling
  • As you exhale pull your belly toward your spine
    • This will help you empty the air out of your lungs
    • The book on your stomach should fall when exhaling

More recommended health tips & guidelines:

Come into our East Vancouver Wellness Centre

Are you struggling to take proper deep breaths? Perhaps you need a spinal evaluation to check if your thoracic spine and/or ribs are functioning optimally. Everyone instinctively knows how to breathe but many do not do it properly!

Call 604-876-9977 for an appointment with our Commercial Drive Chiropractor or Massage Therapist to learn more about belly breathing and how you can finally get a deep breath of fresh air!

2915 Hebb Avenue Vancouver BC

Phone: 604-876-9977                Email: