A small research study conducted at the University of Tulsa found that 30 healthy people obtained pain relief by breathing slowly, as compared to breathing normally or quickly. The patients received electric pain stimulations to their legs while breathing at various rates. The perception of pain decreased for all the participants when they breathed 50% slower than their normal rate of breathing.
It can be challenging to breath at a slower pace, especially if you are feeling pain. Taking a yoga class may help. While physical movement is an important part of yoga, being aware and mindful of the breath is at the core of it. A good yoga instructor can help you to focus on how you are breathing – which is a hallmark of the discipline. Incorporating elements of a yoga class into your everyday life may be a life skill that can enhance your wellbeing. While some people may not be able to do a “cobra” position, everyone can learn to be more aware of the breath. We recently highlighted migraine blogger Teri Robert. She keeps a Migraine Action Plan and Pack ready when she needs it, stocked with aids that help her when she gets a migraine. Consider adding slow breathing to your own emergency kit – it can’t hurt to try …….. The Journal of Pain 2012