A man stands with one hand on his sternum, another on his belly so he can feel how deep his breaths are.

360° Breathing: Can One Breathe Away Pain?

Abbie SawyerThe Research, Your Best Life

A man stands with one hand on his sternum, another on his belly so he can feel how deep his breaths are.

Did you ever think that breathing a certain way may help decrease pain and anxiety? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, the research shows that it might actually be true! (1,2,3,5)

What is 360° breathing?

360 degree breathing is a deep breathing technique that involves using your breath to create expansion in your rib cage and abdomen. It can be broken down into three main components or phases: diaphragmatic breathing, rib cage expansion, and back body expansion.

During 360 breathing, your diaphragm runs the show. It contracts downward creating intra-abdominal pressure driving expansion through the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. Regulating intra-abdominal pressure can help prevent hernias, prolapse, diastasis recti, and back pain. (1) 

Correct diaphragm expansion, in a 360 pattern, can help relax the psoas, quadratus lumborum (QL),  and paraspinals while activating the core and pelvic floor muscles. This is exactly what we want! Many people tend to be tight in the psoas, QL, and back muscles, while also being weak in the core and pelvic floor. (5)

How do you perform 360° breathing?

See how Dr. Brown teaches this technique to her patients:

Here are some ways 360° breathing can help:

  1. PAIN: This breathing pattern can help relieve tension in the hip flexor, back, and pelvic floor muscles, and can naturally decrease postural pain. (1,5) 
  2. MOOD/ANXIETY: We can change our stress hormones through the parasympathetic nervous system (4). Deep breathing helps to turn on the diaphragm which influences the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the parasympathetic controller, and the parasympathetic system is the rest and relax system. The research shows that the prevalence rate of dysfunctional, shallow  breathing in the general population has been suggested to be as high as 5-11% , and up to 83% in anxiety sufferers. (4)
  3. HEALING: Deep breathing can promote healing and tissue repair by increasing oxygen. (1)

Before you go:

Do you practice deep breathing at home? Do you include breathing exercises in your workouts? Do you even consider breathing an exercise? Discovering a different way to breathe may help you in your journey to feeling better.

If you would like to learn more, reach out to our office with contact links below. Dr. Brown is looking forward to working with you on your journey to your best life!

  1. Ki, Chul et al. The effects of forced breathing exercise on the lumbar stabilization in chronic low back pain patients. J Phys Ther Sci 28: 3380-3383, 2016
  2. Courtney, Rosalba. The functions of breathing and its dysfunctions and their relationship to breathing therapy. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 2009; 12 78-85
  3. Bordoni B, Marelli F. Failed back surgery syndrome: review and new hypotheses. J Pain Res. 2016;9: 17-22
  4. Cowley DS. Hyperventilation and panic disorders. AM J Med 1987;83:923-9. 
  5. Hungerford b, Gilleard w, Hodges P. Evidence of altered lumbopelvic muscle recruitment in the presence of sacroiliac joint pain. Spine 2003;28:1593-1600

Share this Post