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There are numerous studies on the benefits of activities focused on the abdominal breath. Here is information on a few. Please visit the publisher to obtain the full studies.
Varvogli, L., Darviri, C. “Stress management techniques: A summary of evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health.” Health Science Journal, Vol.10, Issue 4, 2016.
Article Summary: (Diaphragmatic Breathing) It is hypothesized that voluntary, slow deep breathing functionality resets the ANS through stretch-induced inhibitory signals and hyper-polarization currents propagated through both neural and non-neural tissue which synchronizes neural elements in the heart, lungs, limbic system, and cortex 54. Patients are taught diaphragmatic breathing, which is then practiced several times a day for 3-5 minutes per session. Results indicate that diaphragmatic breathing successfully decreased fatigue, reduced anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, reductions in hypertension and improved management in aggressive behaviors were observed.
Martarelli, D., Cocchioni, M., Scuri, S., “Diaphragmatic breathing reduces exercise induced oxidative stress in athletes.” Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, February 2011.
Abstract: 16 subjects were divided into two equal groups. Test subjects spent 1 hour performing diaphragmatic breathing and concentrated breathing after intensive exercise. Control group spent equal time sitting in a quiet room. Results showed that relaxation induced by diaphragmatic breathing increased the antioxidant defense status after intense exercise. The effects correlate with the concomitant decrease in cortisol and the increase in melatonin. The consequence is a lower level of oxidative stress which suggests that appropriate diaphragmatic breathing could protect against the long-term adverse effects of free radicals after intensive exercise.
Holz, Imke. “Breathing, voice, and movement therapy: applications to breathing disorders.” Biofeedback and Self-Regulations, Vol.19, Issue 2, pp.141-153, June 1994.
Article Summary: Scholarly article on Elsa Gindler, Somatic body worker (1885-1961) who developed a holistic approach to the human body and psyche via the movement of breath. Gindler experimented with movements to strengthen the deeper layers of the muscular system and improve the circulation of oxygen through movements that reduced tensions that had been preventing the breathing muscles from functioning properly. Subsequently, she founded a school for breathing and body awareness. The biggest breathing muscle in the human body is the diaphragm, the lowering of which can only take place when the jaw and the throat are relaxed, the belly is free, and the hip joints allow free leg-movement and flexibility in the lower back. The voice is used to stimulate the respiratory system and free the musculature. This process of breathing, voice, and movement is especially important for asthmatics who can learn how to deal with an attack by relaxing rather than contracting. This work is especially beneficial for problems in (a) the skeletal structure, (b) respiration, (c) vital organs, and (d) general symptoms.