Shallow Breathing vs Diaphragm Breathing - Wesley Chapel chiropractorThere have been a lot of controversies regarding the use of shallow breathing and diaphragm breathing. Proponents of each type of breathing technique suggest that one is beneficial over the other in terms of respiratory functioning. In literature, shallow breathing and diaphragm breathing are both beneficial depending on the condition. In this line, it is important to study both of the breathing techniques and determine which of these two are more efficient in oxygenating the body. Either way, you can’t exactly hold your breath between your Wesley Chapel chiropractor visits.

Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is also called belly breathing, abdominal breathing or deep breathing. This breathing technique is done by contracting the diaphragm. When one inhales, the belly normally expands when diaphragmatic breathing is employed.

Diaphragmatic breathing is characterized mainly by the expansion of the abdomen during inhalation as opposed to the expansion of the chest seen in shallow breathing. According to some, it is a fuller and healthier way to inhale oxygen as it allows the lungs to expand more when the diaphragm descends.

How to Do Diaphragm Breathing
Diaphragm breathing is usually undertaken longer for a count of 10. First, lie or sit comfortably. Put one hand in your stomach and one hand on the chest. Inhale through your nose slowly or use pursed lips. As you inhale, push your abdomen out. You will feel your belly expanding with your hands.

Benefits of Diaphragmatic Breathing
Deep Breathing exercises provide benefits such as:

• Improved relaxation and stress reduction
• Manages anxiety and depression
• Relieves headaches and high blood pressure

Some studies also provide results that deep breathing can actually aid in weight loss because of improved oxygenation of the muscles; thereby hastening the metabolic process. Asthmatic patients may also use diaphragmatic breathing to ease discomforts. Deep breathing is also used for stammering and stuttering.

Shallow Breathing
Shallow breathing is also called chest breathing or thoracic breathing because instead of the belly expanding during inhalation, then chest moves outward. This technique draws minimal amount of air into the lungs. The minimal air that enters the lungs is due to the fact that the intercostal muscles work instead of the larger diaphragm. In this line, it is called shallow breathing because of the minimum amount of air that enters the pulmonary system.

Shallow breathing is actually a symptom of respiratory conditions. Shallow breathing when continuously present may lead to hypoventilation, which may cause excess carbon dioxide build-up leading to respiratory acidosis.

Shallow breathing is commonly seen in people with:

• Asthma
• Anxiety disorder
• Pneumonia
• Pulmonary edema
• Stress
• Shock

How to Do Shallow Breathing
Sit comfortably and place one hand in your chest and one hand in your abdomen. As you inhale, consciously expand your chest rather than your abdomen. Since lesser air goes into your lungs, the inhalation and exhalation process tends to be faster than diaphragmatic breathing, which is characterized as slow and deep.

Benefits of Shallow Breathing
Although shallow breathing may not be good for many, shallow breathing is usually employed in patients suffering from hyperventilation in which carbon dioxide is exhaled very fast leading to reduced carbonic acid in the blood. As a result, hyperventilation causes respiratory alkalosis. In this line, shallow breathing is employed to bring back the normal level of carbon dioxide in the body.

From the differences above, we can say that diaphragmatic breathing is more beneficial for everyday life since it improves the oxygenation of the cells. Nevertheless, shallow breathing may also be employed in case the need arises.