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.

Holiday Season: surviving the stress

December 7, 2012 by Liz


We all know that the holiday season is a stressful time. Whether you are the sort of person that welcomes the holidays, or if your the type that does not really get all the hoopla, you feel the stress regardless. The mayhem begins with the crazed shopping efforts, extends through the decorating shenanigans and all the cooking and entertaining means we are eating more and thinking of other people more than ourselves. It’s great to consider other people- it’s largely what the holidays should be about. They should be about who we care about and being thankful for people and things we have and love.

Some things to think about:

1. Don’t forget yourself. Without your sanity, you can’t accomplish much. Take time for yourself whether it’s treating yourself to a massage, reading a book, taking a walk to clear your head or getting a manicure or pedicure (that goes for both Men and Women by the way). Club Fit also is offering a great special on massages through the holiday season. Click here to read more about the benefits of massage therapy.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. So your garland fell off the railing, the kids missed the bus, you’re stuck in traffic and are late for work. Let it roll off your shoulders. Those are small things that inconvenience us. We tend to get more worked up about the fact that they happened. Don’t dwell, let it go.

3. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
If you need a hand, ask someone! Too often we take on too much by ourselves when our friends and family would be more than happy to help us out.

4. Stay active. Fitness is a great stress reliever. Take a class, stack some wood, go for a jog . . . doesn’t matter what you do, just that you do it.

5. Spend some quality time with your spouse or significant other. Take a hike, go for a drive or even plan a quiet evening together at home. It’s easy to take relationships for granted during this stressful time so make sure to appreciate each other.

6. Remember and reflect on what is truly important. Don’t go crazy over gifts, appearances and food. The important things, are health, family, thankfulness and friends.

For those of you that suffer from seasonal depression, The Mayo Clinic has some exceptional advice. Click here to read Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping.

This season, don’t forget to take care of yourself. There ARE things we can do to prevent the state of panic, stress or even depression. From a perspective of well-being, it behooves us to mention that you should not sacrifice your fitness regime through this time. Your body is used to being active. Make sure you make time to fit in your workout. Consider them this season!