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Breathing 4-7-8 method

The 4-7-8 Breathing method is a method I have my patients practice to assist with their pain.

Woman Breathing

Pain is a multi-factorial experience. and it is affected by a variety of factors. If those factors are significant enough your brain will warn you about it by telling you pain. Stress, anxiety, anger and depression all can be reasons why you experience pain. Not surprisingly, these are found in those with chronic pain.

This method of breathing has been reported to:  

  • Improve well being
  • Reduce fatigue, exhaustion, uneasiness, discomfort, or frustration
  • Lastly, reducing pain

How to Practice the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

  • Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise.
  • You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice, you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

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