Diaphragmatic Breathing

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Diaphragmatic Breathing

Postby patoco » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:46 pm

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Our Home Page: Lymphedema People



Hi Everyone,

I recently read this - has anyone heard about this method or even tried it?

Diaphragmatic Breathing:


Your Immune System

If you've read Anthony Robbins' book Unlimited Power (specifically the chapter "Energy: The Fuel of Excellence"), or listened to the material for day 23 of his Personal Power program, you'll already be familiar with much of the background behind the breathing technique I'm about to describe. If you know how to breathe effectively as he describes, you may want to jump ahead here. If not, or if you need a refresher, read on.

Some people think of the lymph system as the body's sewage system. Every cell in your body is surrounded by lymph; in fact, you have four times as much lymph in your body as you have blood. And here's how it works. Blood is pumped from your heart through your arteries to thin, permeable capillaries. The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the capillaries, where they are spread into this fluid around the cells called lymph. The cells take the oxygen and the nutrients that they need and then excrete toxins, some of which go back into the capillaries. But dead cells, blood proteins and other toxic materials have to be removed by the lymph system.

The body's cells depend on the lymph system as the only means of draining the large toxic materials and excess fluid, which restrict the amount of oxygen. The fluid passes through the lymph nodes, where dead cells and all other poisons except blood proteins are neutralized and destroyed. If your lymph system were to shut down for 24 hours, you'd be dead as the result of trapped blood proteins and excess fluid around the cells.

And whereas your blood has a pump we call the heart, your lymph system doesn't have one. The only way to stimulate the lymph system is through deep breathing and muscular movement. Dr. Jack Shields, a highly-regarded lymphologist from Santa Barbara, California, once conducted a study that showed that deep, diaphragmatic breathing creates something like a vacuum that sucks lymph through the bloodstream and multiplies as much as fifteen times the pace at which the body eliminates toxins.

How to Breathe

Let me share with you a technique that Anthony Robbins teaches as the most effective way to breathe in order to cleanse your system, adapted by me for shortwave radio. You should breathe in through the nose for one count, hold for four counts, and exhale through the mouth for two counts. In other words, if you inhaled for five seconds, you'd hold for twenty, and exhale for ten. The numbers can change as long as the ratio stays the same. Why exhale for twice as long as you inhale? That's when you're eliminating toxins via your lymphatic system. And holding for four times as long allows you to fully oxygenate the blood and activate your lymph system. You should breathe like this in three sessions of at least ten breaths per session. I usually do it when I get up, after lunch and when I go to bed.

Shortwave Radio: A Powerful Tool

The only challenge I find with doing Robbins' breathing exercise is that if you count on your own, there's really no way for you to consistently count at a regular pace. Indeed, when Robbins has you do this technique in his Personal Power program, he counts at an irregular pace at times.

Enter the magic of shortwave radio. Time signal stations are synchronized to atomic clocks that are accurate to one second in almost 316,881 years. Many time signal stations broadcast a tick or a beep every second, so you have a constant, extremely regular tempo to count to.

In addition, they also have a voice announcement indicating which minute of the hour is about to start: they might say, "At the tone, one hour, twenty-four minutes, Coordinated Universal Time." This makes it easier to concentrate on how long you're inhaling, holding, and exhaling because the station, in effect, is keeping track of which of the ten breaths you're doing. All you have to worry about is what the last digit is of the number of the minute you started doing your breathing exercise. For example, I usually begin my breathing exercise right on the 0th second of the first, 11th, 21st, 31st, 41st or 51st minute of the hour. When I've finished my tenth breath in the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th or 50th minute or the top of the hour, I know my breathing exercise session is complete.

Time signal stations also vary the length and sometimes the content of their signals, and you can also put these variations to good use. For example, the Canadian time signal station CHU, which I use on 3330, 7335 and 14675 kHz, occasionally beeps twice for a second or two in the first ten seconds, broadcasts silence for the 29th second, and relays a fax-like beep for the 31st through 40th seconds. I can use these signal variations as cues for each step in the breathing process. Since I inhale for six seconds, hold for 24 and exhale for twelve, and start on the 0th second, then the silence at the 29th second tells me that the next second is when I should start exhaling. And since the normal beeps resume on the 41st second, the beep there tells me it's time to stop exhaling. For the rest of the minute, I just breathe normally.

Time signal stations are usually found on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and sometimes 20 and 25 MHz. Examples of these are WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado, WWVH in Hawaii, and a time signal station in Caracas, Venezuela. Other stations, such as CHU and Australia's VNG, broadcast on other frequencies. A good guide to time signal stations and their broadcast times and frequencies can be found in The World Radio TV Handbook, of which this year's edition is now available in your bookstore or will be soon.



Here's a good article on breathing:

Link Your Attention to Breath

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

In India, breathing exercises were a routine part of physical and mental training. Proper breathing was an important part of education at many ancient learning centers, which were constantly refining the breathing techniques. Thus, an unbroken tradition of teaching about breath over five thousand years evolved in to a science, a "science of breathing." You can find numerous books in India on the science of breathing.

"How should I be breathing?" No body ever asks this question even though breath is the single most important factor in survival, health and longevity. Note the American Lung Association's refrain, "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters!"

When you INHALE fully and exactly as the nature designed it, you may experience the following:

As the breath goes downward, the chest expands, the rib cage elevates, diaphragm goes down and the belly comes out. The area between sternum, navel and perineum stretches. The upper back widens and the lumbar arch slightly deepens.

When you EXHALE fully and completely as the nature designed, you may experience the following:

Diaphragm relaxes, chest shrinks, ribcage sinks, the belly goes in, perineum to navel and navel to the sternum region stretches and the lumbar arch slightly flattens.

Notice how the breath and spine move together? To closely observe the spine and breath relationship, sit or stand quietly in a stable but comfortable position and follow the movement in the spine as you breathe in and out.

We always don't breathe as the nature designed it. your breathing at any time falls in one of the four patterns: 1) chest breathing, when breathing is primarily occurring in the chest; 2) belly breathing, when breathing is primarily occurring in the belly; 3) pelvic breathing, when breathing is more active in the pelvic area and 4) full breathing, when breathing involves the entire torso, from collarbones to the perineum.

Some make a distinction between "belly breathing" and "diaphragm breathing." Belly breathing is more diffuse and occurs in the entire abdomen. In diaphragm breathing, the mid-section or the dividing line between the abdominal cavity and the chest cavity expands to its full capacity.

Breath movement is not only felt in the front, it can also be felt in the back. In order to observe the movement of the back, lie down on a blanket on the floor or on a hard mattress. Bring your attention to the space between the shoulders and the upper back and notice how the back expands horizontally as you breathe in and returns as you breathe out.

What is the pattern of your breathing right now as you read this column? Is it your usual pattern of breathing? I s your breath primarily in the belly, chest or does it travel through the entire upper body?

Each breathing pattern has a specific effect on the mind and the body.

Belly breathing and, or pelvic breathing is calming and relaxing.

Chest breathing agitates the mind and the body and is often accompanied with such negative emotions as the anxiety or the anger.

Full breathing that involves chest, belly and pelvis, enriches the body with oxygen and increases mental alertness, physical stamina and a feeling of self-confidence.

If you want to change the way you are breathing at any given time, simply pay attention to it. Let your attention follow your breathing like radar.

If you want to feel active and energetic, try an ancient Indian breathing technique called, "dirgha shvasa" meaning "long breath." To take long breaths, let the attention flow "top- down" while inhaling. While exhaling, move the attention "bottom-up."

(Still continuing with the long breath) while inhaling, listen to the sound of the breath and observe how the breath enters through the nostril into the throat. As the breath goes down, the chest expands horizontally, rib cage elevates, the front lengthens from the sternum to the navel and finally, to the pelvic bowl. Thus, the breath is coordinated with downward or top down attention.

While exhaling, follow the breath upward, from the pelvic bowl, to the navel, to the sternum and all the way to the exiting of the breath through the nostril. In this manner, the out breath is coordinated with the upward or bottom up attention.

During long breaths, don't force the spinal muscles. Simply utilize your intention and attention. Form the intention to breathe in a specific manner and simply observe the breath. Then, the breath will follow its natural course.



I am presently reading an excellent book by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. called Meditation as Medicine. It has many, many breathing techniques in it. He is referred to in this article:

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

In a previous article I described a particular way of breathing. According to this technique, called "long breath," as you inhale move your attention downward and follow the chest expanding horizontally and vertically and then to breath descending into the belly and the pelvis. While exhaling, move your attention upward, slightly pulling in the belly and the solar plexus, following the breath upward to the sternum, chest and all the way to the nostrils.

A concerned reader of my column called to inquire if belly breathing was wrong. I assured him that belly breathing was not wrong and in fact was particularly good for singing, playing instruments like the flute or clarinet and for relaxation. What I presented in that column was the breath for health, particularly good for its effect on overall health.

Make it a habit to breathe consciously. Conscious breathing is the single most beneficial thing YOU can do for your health. In order to understand the importance of breathing for health, let's review the physiological functions of breathing.

Not being an expert in this field, I turn to Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., who has provided an excellent account of the breath physiology in Meditation as Medicine. According to Dr. Khalsa, automatic breathing is often quite ineffective. Unfortunately, most of us tend to be limited to automatic breathing.

One third of us don't breathe well enough to sustain health. Oxygen intake and elimination of carbon dioxide is too inadequate to allow optimal functioning of the heart, liver, intestines and other vital organs.

Let's review the effect of breathing on various physiological systems.

Cellular level: Longevity and health of every single cell in body and brain depend on oxygen intake through breathing.

Nervous system: Deep and slow conscious breathing tones the entire central and peripheral nervous system.

Circulatory System: The quality and efficiency of blood circulation depends on breathing. When tiny air sacs in the lungs receive more oxygen, the heart pumps more blood into the body. The body then absorbs nutrients more effectively. Toxins and wastes are more thoroughly eliminated. Because breathing is so directly and closely linked with circulation, the diaphragm is sometimes referred to as the "second heart."

Muscles: Muscles are developed or wasted depending on the efficiency of breathing and blood circulation. When muscles don't get enough oxygen, they hurt.

Liver function: When breathing is shallow or irregular, the liver cannot adequately transmit the blood to the heart. Accumulated blood in the liver can cause inflammation. However, deep, slow and conscious breathing can suck up excess blood accumulated in the liver.

Digestive function: Khalsa observes that poor digestion, including heartburn, is one of the most common reactions to shallow breathing. Deep and slow breathing by providing more blood to the alimentary canal improves digestion and reduces acidity and gas.

"Rotto-Rooter" function: Conscious breathing even helps the lungs by cleansing the lungs of the toxins and noxious waste. Inefficient lungs may retain all kinds of toxins, pollutants, allergens, viruses and bacteria. Deep and full breaths recruit the entire lung into the act and can clean it of noxious substances.

Mood Management: When the brain doesn't get enough oxygen, we feel anxious, dizzy or lightheaded. With an abundant supply of oxygen, we tend to feel energetic and cheerful. One of the best ways to calm yourself is to breathe deeply.

Many people with emphysema suffer from anxiety and/or depression. Since the breathing has a direct effect on emotions, it appears that compromised breathing, as in emphysema, may contribute to such negative emotional outcomes.

Since I have emphysema, I can tell you that conscious breathing helps to maintain a positive mental attitude, in spite of the illness. Conscious breathing and positive mental attitude aid each other by forming a virtuous cycle.

Immune Function: As the controlled breathing reduces stress and negative emotions, your immune function, too, may improve. According to Dr. Khalsa, conscious deep breathing can prevent respiratory infections including common colds. I have not had a common cold in the last couple of years, thanks to the continuous practice of deliberate deep breathing.

Pain Management: Deep, relaxing breaths and the practice of consciously holding and releasing of breath increase the production of endorphins, which in turn reduce the feeling of pain.



Hi Vivienne!

Breathing is important in the lymph system!

I was taught deep breathing techniques in therapy. This is from the National Lymphedema Network:


Question Corner

Bonnie B. Lasinski, PT

Q: Is it true that stress aggravates lymphedema?

A: Stress is the plague of our modern, fast-track world. The state of being "stressed out" is an all too common complaint of adults and, more recently, children and teens. Too much to do in not enough time, the increasing demands of 10- and 12-hour workdays while still trying to maintain a balanced life, handling the discomfort of being a child that does not "fit in" - these are just a few of the many causes of stress.

A number of studies have been done highlighting the negative effects of stress on the major organ systems - blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel dilation/constriction, increased sympathetic nervous system stimulation triggering the "fight or flight" response, changes in respiration, muscle tone, etc.

All of the above directly or indirectly influence the function of the lymphatic system. Gentle, rhythmic, reciprocal exercises enhance the pumping of the lymphatics. Muscle tension/spasm will block or impede lymph flow, thereby increasing lymphedema. Deep abdominal breathing exercises are crucial to enhance the flow of fluid through the thoracic duct and back into the central circulatory system. Shallow, irregular breathing or holding one's breath when anxious or upset will impair that flow.

All this is assuming that you have the time to actually do your exercise and skin care program, if pressed for time and feeling overwhelmed. In times of stress, the things that usually suffer the most are rest, diet, proper exercise and self-care activities such as skin care and self-massage. Unfortunately, without proper attention to these activities, the individual with lymphedema will, most likely, experience an exacerbation of their lymphedema.

Try to make every effort to maintain your self-care activities, asking for help when needed. Sometimes, you just have to say "no" to some things in order to avoid a downward spiral of decreasing self-care, increasing lymphedema and eventual inability to continue one's daily activities. This may necessitate a gradual lifestyle adjustment. Of course, there are always emergency situations that leave you with no choice. In that event, try to prioritize your individual self-care program to insure that the essential steps are still possible, even in the event of an emergency



I appreciate your posts and input Vivienne.

One thing I have sought, is to allow the free exchange of ideas and thoughts on the website.

However, the concepts put forth by Dr. C. Samuel West have not been substantiated by any independant clinical studies, nor are they backed by any autonomous medical verification.

The foundation he founded is a separate entity from the International Congress of Lymphology and the associations that sponsor the Congress and do lymphatic research.

The concept that people can learn to heal themselves at home without drugs or surgery runs contrary to all know scientific fact and principle.

My concern is the serious injury, damage and even death that can be caused by subcribing to this theory.

Thus, I can not endorse either Dr. West or his theories to our members and visitors.

It is imperative that we work in cooperation with our medical doctors, decongestive therapists and other medical professionals in a positive team approach to managing lymphedema and in controlling and preventing its complications.

Kind regards,

Pat O'Connor
Lymphedema People


I would like to again thank you for the imput
the links i got onto two vievienne the others iwere not dispalyed.

i have done yoga for 26 years, and the breathing
it is good for us

but if it did all the things they said we would all be perfectly healthy

my theripist advised it when maiplualting my glands and my massage (this i do)
I also wrap and walk with a stick.

This we know has been around 1500 years BC
and if in that time all the healers, witchdoctors, medics havvent worked out how to cure this or help the lymph other than excersie wrapping and massage well keep reading girls and in my opinion dont stop learning


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Postby patoco » Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:58 am

The lymph system has no built-in pump like the heart and the fluid moves through contractions and muscle action. Breathing encourages lymphe flow and helps empty the abdominal lymphatics.

When these are emptied, fluid from the arms and legs is able to move into that area and then be eliminated.

So breathe deep :wink:

Last edited by patoco on Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I have

Postby Lilcora » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:56 am

Pat I have tried this
We were taught this a few years ago in one of our support group
meetings. I find it works very well for my legs, esp if i really focus on the
lower abdomin while i am breathing.
Not only that but its very relaxing, and can help you shut out the
other thoughts in your day and help you get to sleep. Gale
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Postby silkie » Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:58 pm

Hi Lilcora

I find breathing relaxing to also its not only helped many a woman thru child birth, it helps calm and sooth, i love yoga breathing, I do have difficulty at the moment with shortness of breath and the yoga brathing has helped so much when the panic hits and you think you cannot draw another breath.

I think my lymph has benefited from the breathing along with mld and flexing excercises

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