7 Amazing Benefits of Deep Breathing According to Science

Deep breathing is an amazing habit. Besides helping you to relax, it's also a great way to release toxins and even improve your digestive health.
7 Amazing Benefits of Deep Breathing According to Science
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Deep breathing, or slow breathing, brings calm and a feeling of well-being to the person who practices it on a regular basis.

This breathing technique is very common in yoga or when practicing mindfulness.

However, it goes without saying that aside from these practices that have a classic link with Buddhism and meditation, deep breathing isn’t very common in our daily lives.

Hence, it’s very rare that we even stop to think about how we breathe.

However, interestingly,  scientists at Stanford University have developed an intriguing study that shows how we can benefit from this type of breathing.

Mark Krasnow, biochemist and senior author of this work, even explains that they’ve identified a small group of neurons that link this type of breathing with relaxation, attention, and even efficiency when it comes to regulating emotions and reducing anxiety.

What we’re undoubtedly dealing with here is a simple and accessible strategy that we should all practice.

All you have to do is open your mouth and breathe deeply, calmly and slowly.

Are you already doing it? Great!

Here’s how you can benefit from this type of breathing.

1. Deep breathing regulates stress and anxiety

Breathing is an action that we do involuntarily. We inhale oxygen to create and obtain energy at the cellular level.

Then, we exhale carbon dioxide, a by-product that results from cellular respiration.

This almost magical process benefits us in a remarkable way whenever it’s carried out slowly, rhythmically and deeply.

However, something that most have experienced at least once is that our breathing becomes choppy and very fast when we’re frightened or panicked. In other words, the breathing process is broken and altered, causing the heart to “flutter.”

Fortunately, deep breathing has the ability to regulate the parasympathetic nervous system to stimulate a state of relaxation. This makes the heart, as well as the mind, become calm.

By giving our body oxygen more slowly, steadily and evenly, our muscles also stop being tight.

This is when the sympathetic system stops sending its high peaks of cortisol and adrenaline to our body.

Our entire body and our mind enter a state of calm.

2. It eliminates toxins

This is an interesting fact: our body is designed to release many of its toxins when we exhale.

Carbon dioxide is natural toxic waste that comes from the metabolic processes of our body and therefore must be expelled on a regular basis.

However, when our lungs are accustomed to carrying out quick breaths, we don’t get to expel all those elements of waste.

It would, therefore, be very convenient for us to be aware of this. We should also spend at least 10 minutes breathing deeply at least 2 or 3 times a day.

3.Deep breathing reduces the sensation of pain

Deep breathing may help reduce pain.

Something you often do almost unconsciously when you feel pain is hold your breath.

This is a natural brain mechanism that occurs when you get hit by something or when you get injured.

However, if you suffer from chronic and regular pain due to arthritis, lupus or fibromyalgia, it’s best if you breathe deeply rather than hold your breath.

Try holding your breath for a few seconds and then take a deep, slow breath.

This is how you’ll release endorphins, which are natural analgesics created in the body.

4. It’ll help you improve your posture

Something as easy as practicing deep breathing from today on will allow you to improve your body posture and, above all, the back-neck axis.

By filling your lungs with air, you stimulate the spine to place it in a more harmonious, balanced and healthy posture.

5. Deep breathing stimulates the lymphatic system

Deep breathing may stimulate your lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is an essential part of the body’s immune system and is composed of a complex network of lymphatic vessels, tissues, organs and lymph nodes that fulfill many functions.

One of these functions, which the lymphatic fluid carries out, is removing the remains of dead cells and other waste from your body.

Deep breathing will help you achieve this by allowing blood plasma to flow properly so your body can work more efficiently.

6. It takes care of your heart

Aerobic exercise (cardio) uses fat as energy. On the other hand, anaerobic exercise (strength training) uses glucose as energy.

However, if you get used to practicing the “exercise” of deep breathing every day, you’ll be doing a fabulous cardio routine.

This will improve your cardiovascular health and help you to burn fat cells.

7. Deep breathing improves digestion

Deep breathing may improve your digestion.

Deep breathing even improves your digestion.

It’s very simple. By giving your body more oxygen at a more regular rate, you also supply it to the digestive organs. This enables them to work more efficiently.

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In addition, this helps increase blood flow and stimulate bowel action.

Nor can we forget that this type of breathing regulates the nervous system. This makes you feel calmer and allows digestion to be carried out in a calm and efficient way.

You even absorb nutrients better!

Are you convinced of the incredible benefits of this simple breathing style? Start practicing it today, and you’ll feel much better day by day!

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • L. Barrios, M. Puente, A. Castillo et al. Hábito de respiración bucal en niños. Revista Cubana Ortodoncia.
  • E. García-Garu, A. Fusté Esclano, A. Bados López. Manual de Entrenamiento en respiración. Universidad de Barcelona. 2008

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.