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Deep Abdominal Breathing

Deep Abdominal Breathing

Breathing, Relaxation)
Deep abdominal breathing is defined as a manipulation
of breath movement to increase oxygen consumption in two phases: inspiration and expiration.
During the inspiration phase, the diaphragm lowers to
vacuum air into the lungs, usually via nasal inhalation.
One will recognize this phase as the stomach area protrudes
first, followed by the chest area (regular breathing
simply involves the protruding of the chest area).
During the expiration phase, the diaphragm augments
and forces the air to be expelled from the lungs, usually
through oral exhalation. Cahalin, Braga, Matsuo, and
Hernandez (2002) provided a comprehensive review of
Deep Abdominal Breathing techniques in addition to
methods of evaluation. Of late, measuring deep abdominal
breathing has been conducted through the use of
sensors that generate data in a software program
(Mitchell, Coyle, O’Connor, & Diamond, 2010). The
technique involves some degree of consciousness on
the individual’s behalf that goes beyond a basic physiological
need as described by Maslow (1968).
The technique is also referred to as Deep
Diaphragmatic Breathing (e.g., Vitacca, Clini, Bianchi,
& Ambrosino, 1998) and ‘Pranayama’ (e.g., Jerath,
Edry, Barnes, & Jerath, 2006). The main purpose of the
technique is for respiratory rehabilitation to decrease
oxygen consumption during exercise, training, and sport
competition. Sport psychology practitioners have instituted
Deep Abdominal Breathing as a relaxation technique
for athletes given that the technique is associated
with positive effects on stress and, more specifically, a
lower heartrate, normalized blood pressure, reduced
stress hormones, and less muscle tightening (Garza,
2009). The positive effects have also been observed
empirically in other physiological systems such as circulation,
neurochemical, and endocrine systems, and
the nervous system (Westerdahl et al., 2005).