Jump to content

Square Breathing Relieves Symptoms


Recommended Posts

Hello All,

Recently I learned about square breathing, which involves matching inhalation time to exhalation time. I was advised to use square breathing for anxiety.

I have had success at temporarily reducing my POTS symptoms by using square breathing. What I've found is that if I square breath for two - five minutes, then the weakness in my limbs, dizziness, and inability to focus, improves for up to an hour.

This is just a very basic thing anyone can try without a doctor and it does not cost any money. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@green - thank you for sharing. I have been helped by breathing exercises often during hyperadrenergic spells and am aware of square breathing. It does work and throughout history ( in western and Asian medicine ) breathing has been proven to calm the ANS, improve circulation and decrease anxiety. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard that a breathing rate if around 6 full breaths a minute for 5 minutes can improve vagal tone and heart rate variability both of which are associated with better heart health including reducing arrhythmia risks.  Not checked for full studies but heard it repeated a few times that breathing and chanting can balance the ANS via the vagus.  

I will definitely be trying both 4-6 breathing and 5-5 (square) ie in for 5secs, out for 5 secs to see if it helps my symptoms. 

Has anyone used heart rate variability tracking to see how that relates to their condition and symptoms?

Link to post
Share on other sites

But your saw a positive change so why not do it as much as practical and see if benefits do start to last? I'm seeing some benefit already, need to do it a lot tho.

EDIT this was responding to a reply that has disappeared. I think the user left the forum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always good to hear about something that helps :)

Unfortunately slow/deep breathing has never helped, and even had the opposite effect for me. It seems to make my heart beat faster and harder. Breathing down into my diaphragm is especially no good. It's been that way all my life that I can remember. Anyone else? 

My Dr has mentioned that some of my autonomic reflexes are opposite what they should be. So I randomly decided to try the opposite of deep breathing, and it actually helped. I just take a quick, sharp, breath high up in my chest, and hold it for maybe 1 second and also release quickly. 

Anyway sorry to go off topic but I think my backwards response is probably due to dysautonomia and I'm wondering if I'm not the only one! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/23/2020 at 4:12 PM, green said:

Hello All,

Recently I learned about square breathing, which involves matching inhalation time to exhalation time. I was advised to use square breathing for anxiety.

I have had success at temporarily reducing my POTS symptoms by using square breathing. What I've found is that if I square breath for two - five minutes, then the weakness in my limbs, dizziness, and inability to focus, improves for up to an hour.

This is just a very basic thing anyone can try without a doctor and it does not cost any money. 

In general breathing exercises help to calm your system and stabilize your vitals including HR and BP.  It is helpful to do them every day.  There are a few simple common ones included alternate nostril breathing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello katyroq,

I don't know why you would have a paradoxical reaction to square breathing. But, I used to practice Zen meditation at a local Sangha and a big part of the Soto tradition is following the breath while you meditate. I quit practicing Zen because I was getting agitated by the way my breathing would deepen and I would become uncomfortable, light-headed, and get red in the face.

When I practice square breathing today I am still noticing that it is something uncomfortable. It is not as a natural feeling as I would like it to be. Indeed, I am using a slightly modified system of 1:2 (twice as long breathing out as breathing in). So, perhaps I will never be able to totally square breathe.

But something has changed between today and when I was practicing Zen: I had surgery on my sinuses to increase clearance including correcting a deviated septum.

I am sure that the sinus surgery is responsible for the decreased discomfort associated with breathing exercises. Here is why: I sometimes take modafinil (provigil) which is very stimulating for me, causes some shortness of breath and ups heart rate. When I took modafinil BEFORE sinus surgery, I also turned red in the face and had the same kinds of discomfort that I would have while practicing meditation. Today, I do not have nearly such a reaction to modafinil (I took some today!)

I think breathing is important and lots of things can interfere with our ability to breath comfortably. 

Hello Chuske

You asked about HRV. I have struggled to find people who are experts in HRV and gotten nowhere. It seems to be a theoretical thing with little practical implementation. Commercial instrumentation exists that offers to help you monitor your HRV, but the science is not settled even on what "HRV" means.

Respectfully,

Green 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2020 at 3:08 PM, green said:

I think breathing is important and lots of things can interfere with our ability to breath comfortably. 

Hello Chuske

You asked about HRV. I have struggled to find people who are experts in HRV and gotten nowhere. It seems to be a theoretical thing with little practical implementation. Commercial instrumentation exists that offers to help you monitor your HRV, but the science is not settled even on what "HRV" means.

Respectfully,

Green 

Thanks @green I've never tried HRV but had heard it mentioned as a way of getting a view on ANS dysfunction. Must admit I didn't look too deeply. Sounds like it is less useful than it first sounds if there is a lack of consistent definition.

Also great you found a way to improve your breathing. For me stomach issues can sometimes cause me problems. So I find it best to do these exercises before eating. Agree though that this only works if your breathing isn't disrupted by things out of your control.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, green said:

Hello katyroq,

I don't know why you would have a paradoxical reaction to square breathing. But, I used to practice Zen meditation at a local Sangha and a big part of the Soto tradition is following the breath while you meditate. I quit practicing Zen because I was getting agitated by the way my breathing would deepen and I would become uncomfortable, light-headed, and get red in the face.

When I practice square breathing today I am still noticing that it is something uncomfortable. It is not as a natural feeling as I would like it to be. Indeed, I am using a slightly modified system of 1:2 (twice as long breathing out as breathing in). So, perhaps I will never be able to totally square breathe.

But something has changed between today and when I was practicing Zen: I had surgery on my sinuses to increase clearance including correcting a deviated septum.

 

Interesting, I don't like breathing out, so breathing 1:1 is usually much easier than 2:1.  You can also speed up your breaths or your counts and that also helps to achieve the ratio you want.  Over time you get used to it and you can slow down naturally

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, I don't like breathing out, so breathing 1:1 is usually much easier than 2:1.  You can also speed up your breaths or your counts and that also helps to achieve the ratio you want.  Over time you get used to it and you can slow down naturally.

Absolutely! I am in the early stages of experimenting. For whatever reason 1:1 has always been agonizing for me. I do wonder if my seemingly-unusual comfort zone of a 5 second inhalation, 5 second hold at full, 10 second exhalation, 5 second hold at empty, might be suboptimal. 

I remember when my POTS symptoms were the worst in adolescence, I had INCREDIBLY SLOW and uncomfortable breathing. I would basically hold my breath between each breath...I wonder if I was unconsciously doing that to raise my blood pressure!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've found 4 square breathing (in for 4sec, hold 4 sec, out for 4 sec, pause 4 sec, repeat) for a ten minute session can really help me with anxiety and grounding myself when my brain gets stuck in a negative thought pattern I can't break out of or am having automatic unwanted thoughts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What do people find more effective the speed or the rhythm? I think breathing using the diaphragm is a given. 

I find the rate is more important than being square. I find a full in-out breath using diaphragm over 10 secs to be about right.  The rhythm can then either be 3-7 4-6 or 5-5 ( seconds for in then out ) but I find slow in breath and short outbreaths less effective so I don't do those.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you, I’m going to try it out. I’ve never heard of it before, it sounds like its helped forum members with multiple symptoms. I use crocheting for meditating, but I have limited energy to spend much time at it.

If it helps me, I’ll let you know and also if I prefer speed or the rhythm.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/9/2020 at 5:56 AM, Chuske said:

What do people find more effective the speed or the rhythm? I think breathing using the diaphragm is a given. 

I find the rate is more important than being square. I find a full in-out breath using diaphragm over 10 secs to be about right.  The rhythm can then either be 3-7 4-6 or 5-5 ( seconds for in then out ) but I find slow in breath and short outbreaths less effective so I don't do those.

In yoga they teach you to keep  keep trying to slow down your breath over time.  If you can do ten seconds now, in a couple of weeks you might be able to do 11 seconds, etc and you keep going.  The longer each inhale and exhale,, the more calming effect it will have on your system.  If you learn to slow your breath during these exercises, your breaths in day to day life - while you are not practicing the exercises, will also slow down and you will feel better overall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...