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Breathing and the Immune System

Updated: May 29, 2023

"The diaphragm is the primary pump to move lymphatic fluid." Dr. A.T.Still

Did you know that there is an important connection between breathing and our immune system? Every part of your body is either directly or indirectly connected to your abdominal diaphragm, one of the primary organs of respiration. Its movement is what expands and contracts the lungs and it's also the primary pump to move lymphatic fluid.

The lymphatic system is a crucial part of your immune system. Through a network of hundreds of lymph nodes, it drains fluid called lymph to be transported back into your bloodstream. It also removes bodily waste and carries white blood cells that help prevent infection and disease.

So not only is it important that we move our body through physical activity to move lymphatic fluid but the simple act of breathing is hugely impactful.

Just another good reason to practice deep breathing like the shhhhh breath.

How to do the shhhh breath:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair.

  • Take a few deep breaths, in through the nose and blow it out through the mouth as if you're breathing out through a drinking straw.

1. Take another breath in through the nose and as you exhale say shhhhh as if asking someone to be very quiet.

2. Take another breath in through the nose and exhale making the sound shhhh again.

3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 up to 10 times.

Each time you exhale feel how you are engaging the deep inner core musles drawing in your abdomen and hugging your waist. Each time you inhale feel the expansion of your chest, ribs and abdomen.

4. Return to a natural breath by breathing in and out through the nostrils and sit quietly for a few minutes. Notice how your breath is deeper and much calmer you feel.

Written by Joanne Pineau, BSc. (Hons), C-IAYT

For private classes and an individualized program book an appointment with Joanne.

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