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Chest vs. Stomach Breathing (livestrong.com)
26 points by gprasanth 1431 days ago | hide | past | web | 20 comments | favorite

Can we not promote livestrong since they just spam out nearly identical articles all day long? They make finding actual answers on health nearly impossible. Reminds me of eHow. Take a look at:


Just flag it if you think it's off-topic.

Stomach breathing is used by musicians, to get enough air to maintain the notes. It is not necessarily easy to start breathing like that, because the natural feeling is that your lungs are more filled with chest breathing. It is wrong, though, you get much more air by playing with your diaphragm.

I learned it when I took martial arts lessons in college. I think a lot of athletes are taught to do it. I belly breath all the time now, but I don't know if it's because I was trained or I was always doing it.

I stutter and was taught that trying to breathe using the stomach might help as it reduces tension in the vocal cords and is more relaxing. I usually forget to do it but seeing this reminded me of that advice.

I used to always breath like that. For some reason, I was very stressed those past weeks and now I notice I am barely breathing. I felt out of breath all week.

Thanks a lot for the link. Wouldn't have noticed how bad my breathing is otherwise... !

It's crazy how stress can affect a body. I really have to get back to doing yoga. Never felt as healthy and good as when I did yoga.

If you suffer from stress as I do, you'll breathe too much from your lungs, and it can be very good to lie down, do the one hand on each thing and consciously change your pattern into a better one (at least for the duration of the lie down).

It's weird, I've always breathed with my stomach. If I'm not thinking about it, my chest is almost still and my stomach moves in and out as I breathe. I assumed this was normal until I started reading articles like this. I had terrible asthma as a kid and I wonder if that contributed to learning to breathe this way.

FWIW, I'm also a "natural" stomach breather and also asthmatic (though it was never "terrible").

To add more anecdotal evidence, I too had childhood asthma (was on a ventilator when very young, inhalers until ~16) and am a "natural" stomach breather.

I'm surprised to see something on this topic as I've never really thought of stomach breathing as something with health implications.

Trained singers and some instrumentalists (those that require wind, i.e. not violinists) will already be very aware of this difference - using your diaphragm to breathe is emphasized early and often during lessons. I can recall my 7th grade choir teacher having a new kid in choir lay down on the floor to practice his breathing. It turns out it's quite a bit easier to breathe deeply with your diaphragm when laying on your back. You notice it almost immediately but it takes time to get used to doing it while standing up.

If I'm reading this right, it's saying that sole chest breathing is bad, but it's not recommending "shorter" sole stomach breathing, either, but a "longer" inhaling that fills the stomach followed by the chest? It also doesn't say anything about nose vs. mouth; should I go for nose-in/mouth-out or nose-in/nose-out, and is it different for, say, general cubicle sitting vs. jogging?

In some breathing exercises I've done as part of a self defense and training course we focused a lot on breathing, especially controlled breathing under very stressful situations. We'd spend good portions of the glass matching breathing with strides, punches, and grappling. That being said it really showed me the importance of breathing, even for random stress. We always did in through the nose and out through the mouth. The nose is a bit more restricted so it allows your diaphragm a little more resistance and seems to allow deeper more controlled breathing, plus it just feels good. When under heavy stress we often would take little bursts of fresh air through the nose and out of the mouth to help get oxygen to the muscles that needed it under said stress.

I didn't really stick with the class after finding some flaws with it but I learned some stuff in the long run, and the breathing thing has stuck with me after feeling it's effects.


This was my instructor, dude had a pain threshold that was unbelievable. You can see him using the techniques while being... abused. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD4_RfEmWBg

Place your right hand on your chest, and your left hand on your stomach and breath normally. If your right hand rise more, you are a chest breather, and if your left hand rises more, you are a stomach breather.

I couldn't help find it humorous that it's harder to determine the answer when my left hand starts in a position that's significantly higher than my right hand.

If you try to breath with you stomach, you are going to have some gaz to evacuate. Better breathing with your lungs ;)

If you sit still, exhale a little, and let go of any conscious effort to breathe but also don't hold your breath, you will eventually start stomach breathing automatically. Or at least you will if you're me. It's kind of interesting.

It's simple things like this, that blow my mind. How ignorant I was the whole time, about a very important thing!

Anyway, long term catastrophe averted.

A curious thing is that you can also breathe by lifting your shoulders. It's not very effective (or comfortable) but it works.

"Breathing is the most natural action for humans and other living creatures."

here's an article on how to do it.

Just because you're doing something naturally doesn't mean that you'll do it efficiently.

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