Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic Breathing is a simple key to true health that can be utilized by most people. I was once told by Dr Wu that Diaphragmatic Breathing commonly referred to in the Chinese arts as lower abdominal breathing or belly breathing was the legendary ancient Chinese health secret.

In truth all breathing is Diaphragmatic Breathing and so although the practice of good lower abdominal breathing or belly breathing is referred to as Diaphragmatic Breathing in Western medicine unfortunately it is no more medically accurate than is belly breathing. I say this because although we focus on our lower abdomen or belly to breathe deeply and correctly we still actually breathe in and out from our lungs and not in and out from our belly in the performance of this type of breathing.

The problem is that most folks as they get older breather higher and higher up in their lungs and I am told that most folks breathe from the very top of their lungs and often from the throat just before they die. Babies and young healthy people when they sleep breathe from low down in their lungs and their bellies rise and fall as they breathe. Many of my Chinese teachers when speaking to me or others about lower abdominal breathing ask the question would you rather breathe like a baby full of life or like an old person who is at death’s door. The obvious answer for anyone who is interested in improving their health is to breathe like a baby with the whole body and with noticeable movement in and out from the belly.

Shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues which eventually causes poor health and premature death.

Using and learning proper breathing techniques is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for both short and long term physical and emotional health.

Some of the benefits of abdominal diaphragmatic breathing are:

  • Boosts energy levels
  • Improves stamina
  • Decreased heart rate and lower blood pressure
  • Increases blood flow and supply of oxygen to every cell in the body including the heart, brain, other organs and musculature.
  • Improves cellular regeneration
  • Better Elimination of body toxins
  • Increase in immune system cells
  • Promotes healing
  • Strengthens resistance to disease
  • Improves Stamina & performance
  • Activation of the relaxation response
  • Relief of tension and shutting off of stress hormones
  • Greater relaxation & conservation of energy
  • Helps relieve headaches and anxiety disorders
  • Helps Bring body and mind into harmony
  • Ability to achieve peace of mind
  • Increase of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain

Caution! You may experience light-headedness, headache or other similar symptoms when trying abdominal breathing – if you do – stop practicing the breathing method(s) for now and consult a health care professional before continuing as this could be a sign of a serious medical issue that can readily be addressed by proper medical care but if left untreated could be quite serious.

Starting proper breath work
When starting proper breath work it may take a little bit but the real idea here is to learn how to breathe so that you always diaphragmatically breathe as your normal state without having to think about it anymore.

We have a 3 video series on breathwork beginning with Diaphragmatic Breathing that is available now.


  1. Great article…thanks for posting it.

  2. Richard Clear says

    Thanks Dan.

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