More on Breathing for Pain

Previously, I’ve discussed breathing to promote relaxation for relieving pain.  Now I want to give you some more exercises.

First there is the Calming Breath.  You do five belly breaths, holding the breath briefly after each inhale.  Then breathe normally for a few breaths.  Repeat the calming belly breaths. See the breath going into the area of pain with the inhale, feeling the area expanding with each inhale.  Repeat five times.

Then, there is Four Square Breathing.  Breathe into the painful area for four counts.  Hold for four counts.  Do this for ten rounds feeling the painful area expand with each inhale.

Circular Breathing is another one.  It helps calm your emotional and sensory experience and deactivates fear and rage. First, check into your body and note how it feels overall.  Is one side much less comfortable?  Describe how each side feels–heavy, light, tight, relaxed, burning, achy?  Then breathe in through your more comfortable side, from your foot to your belly, and breathe out through your less comfortable side.  If breathing from the more comfortable to the less comfortable doesn’t work for you, do the opposite.  If both sides are equally uncomfortable, breathe up through your midline and out both sides.  Or if the pain is in your spine, breathe up your front midline and down through your spine.  Do this for five to ten breath cycles.  The idea is to carry the pain out with your breath.

With the Purifying Breath. You breathe in healing light, souind, or color.  Breathe out emotional or physical pain for five to ten breath cycles.

Finally there is Voo Breathing.  This is a matter of vocalizing a “Voo” with the outbreath, like a foghorn, vibrating the belly.  When we sing or tone with a deep belly sound it opens up the heart, lungs, mouth and throat, stimulating the many branches of the Vagus nerve.  Stimulating the Vagus nerve calms the nervous system is calmed and anxiety is relieved, thus helping reduce pain.

These breathing techniques are from “Freedom from Pain” by Peter Levine and Maggie Phillips and “Reversing Chronic Pain” by Maggie Phillips.

Patricia Kay Youngson

Patricia Kay Youngson

Patricia Kay Youngson RN is also a counselor who works with pain issues.  E-mail:  Website:

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