Getting more ambitious, post surgery abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing

This breathing technique will seem like madness just after your abdominal surgery. You’ll feel very bruised and deep breathing will be painful. However this technique has a number of benefits that make it worthwhile persevering with. Firstly your physiotherapist will want you to breathe deeply into the bottom part of your lungs to help prevent infection; second it is a very calming breathing technique and third it is a fantastic breathing technique to practice so that you can use it in very day life.

1. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Take a deep breath in and try to make the hand on your abdomen rise higher than the one on the chest (to help ensure that the diaphragm is pulling air into the bases of the lungs).

2. Breath out slowly.

3. Take a deep breath in and try to make the hand on your abdomen rise higher than the one on the chest again, hold your breath in for a count of 2.

4. Slowly exhale through your mouth and gently contract your abdominal muscles as if you were trying to squeeze all the air from your lungs.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for a minimum of five breaths building up to 20 breaths.

Tip: If you are practising this technique in bed after surgery, place a folded towel on your tummy to help your belly feel ‘secure’.

Placing your hands on your chest and abdomen is to help you train your breathing and get to know the technique. Once you feel comfortable with your ability to breathe into the abdomen, you don;t need to use your hands.

The more your practice this technique, the more natural it will become to you.

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