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Breathing- sounds simple doesn’t it? We do it all day everyday, but did you know HOW you breathe is important? Our ability to breathe efficiently, utilising the correct muscles and technique can be a game changer in how our body functions and moves. Inefficient breathing can lead to tension, anxiety, poor movement quality and poor core control.

What are we trying to achieve?

  • When breathing efficiently we are allowing the diaphragm – our PRIMARY breathing muscle- to work correctly
  • Breathing using the diaphragm reduces the overuse of the muscles along the neck and shoulders which leads to tension in this area and can result in pain, headaches and poor posture
  • The diaphragm is also the top part of the core, by using the diaphragm well it creates core activation. So simply by breathing better it leads to improved movement patterns and strength
  • Using your diaphragm correctly activates the vagus nerve which is the nerve in your body that activates your relaxation response and lowers the body’s stress response
  • Some of the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing can include reduced heart rate, blood pressure, muscle relaxation , improved digestion, improved sleep, reduced inflammatory effects and enhanced mood


  • Lying on your back with your knees in crook lying – other positions include feet on the wall or feet up on a chair or couch at 90 degrees thigh bone and shin horizontal to the ground
  • Ensure your head is supported
  • Place your hands around the base of your rib cage
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Begin by breathing through your nose for a count of 2 – try and breathe wide into your hands i.e. wide into the side ribs or base of ribs
  • Breathe out for a count of 3
  • Complete for 3-5 mins or as instructed by your physiotherapist


  • Relax the shoulders throughout and direct breathe to the side ribs
  • Ensure your front rib cage is relaxed and you are not throwing it forward
  • Relax your body and focus on the breath
  • Think of it as a slow controlled movement
  • Stop if you feel pain or are unsure of the technique
  • If you are unsure, please speak to your physiotherapist