Breath Relaxation Techniques for Stress and Pain

April 4, 2014 by Liz

Do you sometimes experience pain and do not know what to do?

As defined by www.nervepainremedies.com, pain is a perception that we perceive as a result of pressure, compression or restriction to an area of the body. Nerve signals are sent to the brain which is translated into pain. It causes muscle tightness, tension and fatigue and sympathetic nervous system response. An effective way to relax and alleviate the pain is to start noticing how you breathe.

When you breathe shallowly – into the chest instead of the belly-muscles in your diaphragm, rib cage and low back tighten up. Over time, that tension translates into pain. If you answer “yes” to the following questions than learn how to properly breathe:

a. Do you breathe more than 8 breaths a minute? The more shallowly you breathe the more breaths you have to take each minute. This translates into stress.

b. Does your chest rise more than your lower chest? When you breathe you are taking oxygen mostly into the upper part of your body. This type of “thoracic” breathing is causing the lungs to work inefficiently and more stress is placed on accessory muscles.

Diaphragmatic Breathing: What is it?

By learning how to do diaphragmatic breathing this will help to lower blood pressure, decreases heart rate, reduces tension in muscles, gives a sense of well- being and control over the body and help to decrease pain.

Practice: Place a hand both on your chest and abdomen. Notice whether these areas move, and if they do which area moves more. In relaxed breathing, the abdomen expands fully as you breathe in (fill the belly like a balloon) and the chest remains relatively quiet. Imagine the breath as soft and caressing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try breathing in for a count of 4 and blow out for a count of 4.

Diaphragmatic breathing can be performed in sitting, standing, and activities such as walking.

On May 6th, 2014, Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30 PM Meryle Richman, PT, DPT, MS will be presenting, “Just Breathe! Using Breathing & Relaxation Techniques for Stress and Pain”. This will be presented in the upper conference room inside Club Fit Briarcliff.

If you suffer from chronic pain the advice from a physical therapist can start you on the path to better health and fitness, no matter what your age. If you have questions, please call Physical Therapy at 914-245-8807 or 914-762 2222 for more information or our website at www.ptrehab.com.

Mindfulness for Pain Relief and Stress Reduction with Jodi Baretz, LCSW, HHC

March 27, 2014 by Liz


Most of us go through life on auto-pilot, and we react to situations based on our past experiences. Our thoughts have been programmed from a young age. We come into the world a clean slate, and everything that we encounter codes our brain to respond a certain way. We tend to listen to ideas that confirm our longstanding beliefs, and push away new information that we have not been taught. Can we be open and change to create the life we want?

An ancient Buddhist practice called mindfulness is gaining momentum in the Western world. It has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with waking up and consciously living our lives. We are all so busy multi-tasking, and receiving constant stimuli, that we are not slowing down enough to live our lives with intention, and purpose. Mindfulness and meditation connect us to ourselves, and invite us to examine our thoughts in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. When we become an observer of our thoughts, we can take an unbiased look at what is really happening in our lives without getting caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. We need to be curious about our self-talk and inquire about longstanding beliefs.

Mindfulness also brings us back to the present moment. The past is the past, And the future hasn’t happened yet. If we get stuck ruminating about the past, we tend to get depressed. If we are fearful and worrying about the future, we get anxious. However, when we focus on the task at hand, we can be fully present without missing anything and quiet the chatter of the mind.

How do you stay connected to the present and train your brain to do this? When you are doing the dishes, focus on the dishes. When you are playing golf, focus on the game, not your to do list or your kids. When you’re eating, taste every bite instead of mindlessly eating a whole bag of chips. Slow down and focus on the things you do every day, but never pay any attention. In addition, you can try a few minutes a day focusing on the inflow and outflow of your breath. This will train your brain to bring you back to the present and enable you to appreciate every moment. You don’t want to ask yourself at the end of your days, where did all the time go?

*To contact Jodi: jodibaretz@gmail.com. www.jodibaretz.com
Jodi Baretz, LCSW, HHC will be presenting on April 1, 2014, Tuesday, from 5:30 – 6:30 PM for the Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain/Wellness Support Group : Mindfulness for Pain Relief and Stress Reduction. Location: Physical Therapy at Briarcliff/ Inside Club Fit Conference Room. Please call to register for this free program at (914) 762 – 2222 X 0 or visit our website at www.ptrehab.com