We’ve all been there. Our digestive system gets backed up, and it brings stomach discomfort with no end in sight.
Before you reach for laxatives that can sometimes make things worse, let’s talk about another way to relieve constipation.
Deep breathing exercises can elicit a relaxation response in the stomach muscles and help to get that digestive tract on the move.
We’ll show you how to do some deep breathing exercises to relieve stress and get that digestive system working again.
Deep Breathing and Constipation
If you suffer from chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, deep breathing exercises might be the answer you’ve been looking for to bring much-needed relief.
Deep breaths increase oxygen flow throughout the body, which increases circulation. As that happens, your body feels relief from stress and anxiety.
When it comes to taking those deep breaths, let’s note what is happening with the pelvic floor muscles.
The lower abdominal muscles (transverse) and the side abdominal muscles (obliques) tighten as you take a deep breath.
As that happens, the pelvic floor muscles relax. By relaxing those muscles, those deep breaths are like an internal massage for your abdomen.
While all of that is happening, your digestive system relaxes and brings you more regular bowel movements.
A study performed on children ages 4-18, found that kids who performed breathing exercises 12 times a week, twice a day for six weeks, had more constipation relief than those who turned to medicines for help.
Another study showed that adults suffering from irritable bowel syndrome found symptom relief and less anxiety from breathing exercises.
Taking a deep breath is starting to sound like the best way to cure things, right?
Deep Breathing Exercises
As we said, there are several exercises that you can try to find the proper breathing techniques to relieve constipation.
Read on for exactly what they are.
Now that’s a mouthful. Diaphragmatic breathing is a fancy way of saying belly breathing.
We know that it sounds strange to breathe with your belly, but abdominal muscle training is one of the best ways to get your digestive tract working correctly again.
To start, you can either lie on your back or sit comfortably. To ensure that you are doing this correctly, it’s best to place one hand on your belly and the other on your upper chest.
Release the weight in your head and neck and work your way down your body. Now it’s time to breathe.
You will breathe with your belly first and your chest second. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling your stomach fill with air.
Purse your lips and exhale completely through your mouth.
Continue this pattern slowly and feel your body relax.
This well-known yoga pose relieves pelvic floor dysfunction and is an excellent way to stretch your lower back.
To start, lie on your back and bring your left leg and right leg up to your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs with your knees bent and try to grab the opposite elbow with your hand.
Once you are settled into the position, rock your body gently from side to side. Pull the left knee to the side and then switch to the right.
The gentle rocking stimulates your pelvic floor muscles and helps to relax them. As you do this, focus on your breathing.
This position can alleviate constipation pain like gas or cramping.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
These exercises are also known as Kegel exercises. They work your lower pelvic floor muscles between your anus and urethra.
Strengthening those muscles helps prevent constipation in the future as they work to control your bowel movements.
Kegel exercises are excellent because they can be done at any time of the day in a sitting or standing position.
That said, it’s always easier to perform them while you are comfortably seated somewhere.
Simply contract the pelvic floor muscles and hold for a few seconds and then release.
Slowly breathe as you do this to decrease your stress, all while relieving constipation.
Relieve Constipation with Breathing
It’s possible to relieve your constipation with some simple, practical breathing exercises.
Adding breathing to your exercise regimen might be just what you need to be just as effective or more so than constipation medicines.
Pair a breathing device with the exercises we mentioned and feel the reduced stress and anxiety that comes along with constipation.
Give yourself the gift of an abdominal massage with just a couple of breaths.