When we think of our respiratory systems, we generally think of our noses, mouths, and most importantly, our lungs. However, our lungs don’t just move on their own – they are supported by a very important muscle, the diaphragm, that performs a critical function in our involuntary exchange of oxygen.
This muscle deserves some tender love and care every so often, as it works hard on a daily basis to keep you comfortable. Fortunately, making a commitment to breathe through your nose gives this muscle a little rest, with a methodical massaging pattern that keeps it happy and nimble on a daily basis.
Here’s how nasal breathing benefits the diaphragm:
- “Rest and Restore” Trigger:
Yes, depending upon where you are breathing your chest cavity, different emotional and nerve responses are triggered in the brain. When you shallow breathe through your mouth, your body is receiving less oxygen than desired, which can kick start a fight or flight anxiety attack that brings the diaphragm out of its regular breathing rhythm. But, when you breathe through your nose and pursue what is called “correct diaphragmatic breathing” a parasympathetic “rest and restore” feeling is automatically triggered in your nervous system. As a result, you, your mind, and your diaphragm feels fuller and calmer.
- Back Flow System:
Since our nostrils are smaller than our mouths, they work more slowly to get a stream of oxygen into our lungs. While this is happening, a “back flow of air” is created heading into the lungs, giving them more time to process the inhalation and extract the oxygen. Since this back flow system holds true for exhalation as well, our diaphragms have an easier time constricting and widening our lung cavity. This slower, more methodic method of breathing massages the diaphragm along the way.
- Lung Capacity:
Your diaphragm is able to move, constrict, and contract as your lungs inhale and exhale. It single-handedly moves your chest cavity in and out to force the carbon dioxide out while pulling the oxygen in. When you breathe through your nose, an airwave is created much deeper in the lung, which expands the cavity even father to reach maximum lung capacity. While doing this, the diaphragm receives a deeper massage that supports it for future breathing patterns.
Like any other muscle, the diaphragm can cramp up, decay, and cause a great deal of pain for individuals if not cared to properly. One of the easiest ways to essentially massage the muscle within your body is to engage in deep, methodical nasal inhalation. Through greater lung capacity, a back flow inhalation system, and a calming nerve trigger, your diaphragm will receive some much needed rest.