2 Minutes of Diaphragmatic Breathing as an Immunity Boost

Written by:
Dr. Lisa Ochman
September 1, 2021

"Inhale into the low belly, then exhale"... We hear about diaphragmatic (or belly) breathing in yoga, fitness, relaxation techniques, and improvement in lymphatic flow. But why?

There are several anatomically related reasons why. Here are two:

1. The thoracic duct that is the main vessel for lymphatic fluid (i.e., our immune system) runs through the diaphragm at the aortic hiatus at the T12 level.

2. The Vagus nerve, responsible for our parasympathetic nervous system response (i.e., “rest and digest” / ”feed and breed”) runs through the diaphragm at the esophageal hiatus at the T10 level.

So, how can I do these belly breaths?

Place one hand on the low belly and one hand on your chest. Inhale so that only the hand on your low belly rises and falls. This may take a lot of practice and is typically easiest to perform on your back with knees bent.

❌ Here's an example of overusing accessory breathing muscles...

✅ Here's an example of proper diaphragmatic breathing!

Fun fact: Most smart watches and phones have a setting that you can coordinate 2 minutes/day of diaphragmatic breathing with for a healthier and more relaxing day!

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Lisa Ochman

Physical Therapist | Doctor of Physical Therapy
Lisa Ochman is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in lymphedema, parkinsons, and general orthopedics with a focus on runners and triathletes. She works at Activcore in Princeton, New Jersey, located just 2 miles from Princeton University. As a 4-time ironman triathlete, Lisa has a special interest in treating athletes. She also has a passion for helping people with lymphedema (swelling in the head, neck, and/or limbs typically after cancer, surgery, or injury) as well as those suffering from parkinson's disease.
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