Stress Reduction

By Sheila Yonemoto, P.T.

Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, specializing in integrative manual therapy, utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. Sheila also offers a Qigong “Chinese Energy” exercise class. Your first class is FREE. Call (626) 576-0591 for more information or visit www.yonemoto.com.

Stress Reduction

by Sheila Yonemoto, PT 

Consider the stress of our lives today. People have to deal with a global pandemic plus the day-to-day elements of survival, including providing for a family, and keeping afloat in the river of finances. Diaphragmatic breathing may be a key to easing tension in our daily routine. It’s simple to do and with daily practice can help you cope, and it does calm a tense body. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing: The diaphragm, a large muscle located below the lungs, separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. It is the major muscle responsible for bringing air into the lungs. With diaphragmatic breathing, the stomach goes in and out instead of the shoulders going up and down and the chest going in and out. This type of breathing sends a signal to the autonomic nervous system to go into rest mode.  

To learn diaphragmatic breathing, lie down and place your hands on your stomach or lower ribs. Fill your lungs with air with a relaxed breath and notice your stomach rising and/or ribs expanding. Keep your shoulders and neck muscles relaxed. Continue to breathe easily for 15 minutes and allow your body to sink into the bed or floor.   

If you become tense doing this type of breathing, stop. The purpose is to calm the body, not increase tension. Effort causes the autonomic nervous system to shut off the resting/restorative mode and turn on the “fight or flight” mode, making your body ready for action. Diaphragmatic breathing should be effortless.

Continue to practice this effortless deep breathing in more upright positions and with more potential distractions such as light, noise and movement.

The benefits of regularly doing diaphragmatic breathing include having a calmer nervous system and more relaxed muscles allowing for better blood flow into the muscles while also lowering your blood pressure and warming your hands. Isn’t it time for you to get off the edge of your seat and take a nice long breath of air?



Sep 2021


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