You may not think about the important role your lungs play in your overall health, but the fact is they impact everything we do. Our lungs control our breathing, which is how we bring oxygen into our bodies, which sustains our life. Too often, we don’t think about how to improve breathing or safeguard our lung health until we experience difficulties.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to improve breathing with massage and other techniques that aim to increase lung capacity and health. These simple exercises and techniques may help keep your lungs healthy and enhance your overall well being.
Methods for How to Improve Breathing
Learning how to improve your breathing can help strengthen your lungs and enhance your health. More than just life-sustaining breath, knowing how to improve breathing can also help with athletic performance, bodily healing, and reducing the risk of some major health problems such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (commonly referred to as COPD), or other respiratory illnesses.
A few simple methods you can use for how to improve breathing include:
- Simple breathing techniques
- Getting a massage
- Staying active
- Improving your posture
- Staying hydrated
Techniques and Exercises to Improve Breathing
First up in our exploration of how to improve breathing with massage and other techniques comes breathing exercises. Breathing exercises have been shown to be an effective method for increasing lung capacity and strength, which allows you to breathe more easily as a result.
Three easy and common breathing exercises for you to try at home are:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Pursed lips breathing
- Morning breathing exercise
Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique
This technique is also often referred to as “belly breathing,” and engages the diaphragm. Using diaphragmatic breathing techniques is a common exercise for improving breathing in individuals with COPD but is helpful for everyone as it strengthens the diaphragm, which is your primary breathing muscle.
According to the COPD Foundation, follow these steps to practice diaphragmatic breathing:
- Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
- Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
- Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air fill your abdomen and moving your stomach out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does doing this exercise.
- Breathe out for two seconds through your lips while pressing against your abdomen.
- Repeat as needed.
Pursed Lips Breathing
Pursed lips breathing is meant to help improve breathing ability by keeping your airways open longer, reducing the work of breathing. It’s meant to strengthen your lungs as part of how to improve breathing and increase the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The steps for the pursed lips breathing exercise are:
- Breathe in slowly through your nose.
- Purse your lips as if you were pouting or about to blow on something.
- Breathe out as slowly as possible through your pursed lips. Ideally, this should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe the air in.
- Repeat as needed.
Morning Breathing Exercise
Last, though certainly not least on our list of exercises you can do for how to improve your breathing is a morning breathing exercise. This breathing exercise may not only help improve breathing but also help treat muscle tension throughout your day, as well. The steps for this breathing exercise are:
- Stand up straight then bend forward at the waist.
- Bend your knees slightly, letting your arms hang loosely and close to the floor.
- Breathe in slowly and deeply as you return to a standing position by slowly rolling your body up (lifting your head last).
- Breathe out slowly as you return to your original position.
- Stretch your muscles some.
- Repeat as needed.
How to Improve Breathing by Getting a Massage
Getting a massage is more than just a relaxing experience, it may also be useful for how to improve breathing, as well. Studies have shown that massage may result in deeper, more fulfilling breaths, especially in those experiencing anxiety or symptoms of COPD. Different types of massage may also work to loosen up muscle groups associated with breathing, which allows you to breathe more easily and break up muscle tension.
For example, getting a massage for anxiety and stress relief helps improve breathing as your body de-stresses. When we experience stress, we often subconsciously tense up. These contracted muscle groups shorten our ability to breathe, which may result in exacerbating feelings of stress and anxiety by being short of breath. Getting a massage helps loosen those muscles and increases lung capacity.
If scheduling regular massage therapist appointments doesn’t fit your busy schedule, there are alternatives you might consider like luxury massage chairs. The evolution of massage chairs have effectively eliminated any difference between using a massage chair vs human massage. Even choosing between a 3D vs 4D massage chair won’t keep you from experiencing the benefits of massage therapy at home for improving breathing ability.
Other massage chair features such as heat therapy, chromotherapy, and calf massage can help deepen your relaxation even further, helping muscle groups untense. Other massage chair health benefits like better blood circulation may also be helpful for how to improve breathing as it increases the efficiency at which oxygen is transported throughout the body. Better blood flow lets the heart work less hard and increases lung function naturally.
Whether you’re having regular massage therapist appointments or experiencing the benefits of owning a massage chair at home, there’s no denying their potential effectiveness for how to improve your breathing and increase lung health.
Staying Active to Improve Breathing
Another simple method for how to improve breathing is to stay active. The American Lung Association recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise at least 5 days a week to maximize lung health. Physical activity not only increases lung capacity, making it easier to breathe, but also may help prevent some illnesses such as heart disease.
These exercises don’t have to be incredibly strenuous. Going for a brisk walk can be just as effective as those playing sports or doing an intense workout. The goal of your exercise should be to elevate your heart rate for a period of time, which helps improve heart health naturally, as well.
As with any changes to your health routine, speak to a medical professional before you begin to ensure you’re able to do so safely.
How to Improve Breathing with Better Posture
It stands to reason that your posture will have a direct impact on how you’re able to breathe. Studies have shown that neck and head posture can have an immediate effect on your ability to breathe. When learning how to improve breathing, start by practicing good posture. This means standing up straight as well as having an ergonomic workspace for an office. While it might seem tedious at first, after a few days your good posture habits will become second nature and you can reap the benefits!
Staying Hydrated to Improve Breathing
Last, though not least, in our exploration of how to improve breathing with massage and other techniques is to simply stay hydrated. This is such an easy lifestyle adjustment to make that there’s no reason not to do it. Whether you realize it or not, getting enough water into your system is just as important for your lungs as it is the rest of your body. Drinking enough water helps keep mucosal linings in the lungs thin, which helps your breathing.
Note: When you’re increasing your physical activity, be sure to replenish fluids by drinking plenty of water.
We hope this guide for how to improve breathing with massage and other techniques has been enlightening and given you a few new tips to try. Your lung health is essential to your overall well being and impacts almost every system of the body. Finding ways to improve breathing by staying hydrated, keeping active, choosing a massage chair, or practicing breathing exercises can make a world of difference. As with all health care routines, be sure to consult a medical professional before beginning any new regimens to be sure it’s safe for you.
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