Pelvic Health and Diaphragmatic Breathing
How to Breathe Properly
Breathing technique plays a crucial role in maintaining pelvic health and is often incorporated into pelvic floor physical therapy treatment plans. The coordination of breath with the pelvic floor muscles can contribute to pain reduction and improve strength and flexibility.
Exploring the diaphragm
Delving into the anatomical aspects related to respiration, the diaphragm, a muscle located at the bottom of the ribcage, moves with each breath. This movement influences the pelvic floor, which consists of a group of muscles connecting the front pubic bone to the back tailbone within the pelvis. The diaphragm and the pelvic floor can be compared to dance partners, as they interact during the breathing process.
How it works
During inhalation, the diaphragm descends, causing a slight lowering of the pelvic floor and providing it with a gentle stretch.
Conversely, during exhalation, the diaphragm rises, leading to an upward movement and a gentle contraction of the pelvic floor.
Throughout the day, the pelvic floor muscles are constantly engaged in supporting the organs. Engaging in slow, deep breathing allows for periodic rest of the pelvic floor muscles, enabling them to remain strong and flexible. In contrast, rapid, shallow breathing restricts the full relaxation of the pelvic floor, potentially resulting in increased tension and weakness over time. These issues can contribute to problems such as urinary leakage and prolapse.
Find a position that offers comfort, whether it's lying on your back with bent knees or sitting in a chair. Take slow and deliberate breaths through your nose, while visualizing the inhalation drawing the air downwards towards your lower belly and pelvis.
As you inhale deeply, envision the breath expanding not just in the belly but also in the sides and back of your ribs. To better perceive this expansion, place your hands on the sides of your ribcage. It's important to note that you should allow the air to fill the abdomen naturally, without intentionally using your abdominal muscles to push out your stomach.
Exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing the abdomen to return to its resting position. Placing your hands on your chest and belly can assist you in directing your attention towards feeling the breath in the middle of your belly rather than primarily in your upper chest.
Continue practising the breaths as many times as needed until you feel comfortable and confident with this technique.
PLEASE NOTE: The content provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be employed for self-diagnosis or self-treatment.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Diagrams