Simple Breathing Techniques

Breathing/relaxation techniques are the first step Dr. Friedberg, a clinical psychologist with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), employs in his “Seven Steps to Less Pain and More Energy” book for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia (FM) patients.

Hot Point: Not only can you use breathing techniques to achieve better breathing but simply watching the activity of your breath – when it’s regular and deep, when it’s shallow and ragged, etc. can give you clues about the activities, feelings and thoughts that can trigger your patterns of shallow or poorly regulated breathing.

Waiting To Exhale –  The exhalation (or relaxation) phase of the breath is the phase that is most likely cut short in many ME/CFS patients. Patients can often quickly discover the calming nature of proper exhalation simply by lengthening their exhalations while breathing through their nose. Meditative techniques often include instructions to exhale the tension, pain or problems away.

Our breathing patterns are surprisingly malleable. Altering them it may take time and patience but it can occur. A fibromyalgia study found that using slowed breathing techniques resulted in moderately increased activity and sleep and reduced pain in three months.

Three Quick And Easy Breathing Techniques

Alternate nostril breathing is an easy breathing technique many use to increase calm and reduce stress. It is purported to reduce the ‘flight or fight response’ (sympathetic nervous system) and increase the ‘rest and digest’ response (parasympathetic nervous system). It is often used at the beginning of longer meditation sessions to calm the mind down. Ashok Gupta, a former CFS patient, and the creator of the Amygdala Retraining Program recommends using alternate nostril breathing before every meditation session.

Several video’s of alternate nostril breathing can be found on YouTube

The Relax Breathing TechniqueDr. Friedberg, a clinical psychologist with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) recommends this ‘simple and very effective’ technique in his book “FM and CFS: 7 Proven Steps to Less Pain and More Energy”.While sitting in a comfortable chair or lying down and breathing through your nose say silently to yourself ‘reee’ as you inhale and ‘laaaxxx’ as you exhale. Dr. Friedberg has found that the more time chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients put into focused breathing and other meditative techniques the more benefit they receive. He recommends they start at 10 minutes in the morning and ten in the evening and work their way up to as much as hour twice a day.

Dr. Weil’s Regulated Breath Holding –  Dr. Cheney recommends this technique to increase your blood oxygen levels

  1. Inhale through your nose for four seconds
  2. Hold your breath for seven seconds
  3. Exhale through tightly pursed lips, creating “back pressure,” for eight seconds
  4. Do this eight times, twice a day, everyday

Yoga basis contains many different types of simple meditations that used to calm the mind, reduce stress, create peace, etc.



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