An Online Zine for Cancer Patients and Professionals
Breathing For Pain Relief
Francine Manuel, RPT, Isadora Rosenbaum, MA, Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD
Breathing properly is a key factor in all exercise programs. By itself, breathing is a good exercise. Its benefits are twofold: therapeutic and relaxing. Breathing exercises can be used to improve the habits of those who breathe lightly, expanding only the upper chest. They are also a good way to rest between exercises. Urge your patient to let go of all the muscles in his neck and shoulders and fill his lungs all the way. This will break the cycle of shallow tension breathing.
- Breathing Guidelines:
- Breathe in through your nose and blow out through your mouth, if this is comfortable for you (this will avoid drying out the throat and mouth). If you can only breathe in through your mouth, go ahead, but keep a glass of water handy.
Never hold your breath while doing an exercise. This will exert pressure on your heart and could even cause you to faint. Either blow out or in while performing any of the exercises.
You will want to be sure that you are breathing with the lower part of your lungs as well as the upper to increase your lung capacity. To do this,
- a. Place a hand on your stomach.
- b. If you are using your diaphragm and correctly expanding your lungs, your hand will rise as you breathe in and fall as you blow out.
Reprinted by permission