What is Thoracic Breathing?
- Thoracic breathing, also known as chest breathing, is a type of breathing in which the chest expands and contracts with each breath, while the diaphragm is relatively inactive. This type of breathing is characterized by shallow, rapid breaths that focus primarily on the upper portion of the lungs.
- Thoracic breathing can be useful in certain situations, such as during intense exercise or when quick, shallow breaths are needed to maintain a high level of alertness. However, chronic thoracic breathing can lead to a variety of negative health consequences, such as increased muscle tension, decreased oxygen delivery to the body’s cells, and increased stress and anxiety.
- To shift from thoracic breathing to diaphragmatic breathing, it can be helpful to practice deep breathing exercises that focus on expanding the abdomen and engaging the diaphragm. This may involve lying down and placing a hand on the abdomen to feel the rise and fall of the diaphragm, or practicing breathing exercises that involve intentionally slowing down and deepening the breath.
- Overall, cultivating a habit of diaphragmatic breathing can be an effective way to improve overall breathing efficiency, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote better overall health and wellbeing.