Belly breathing is a foundational tool of pelvic health PT, and for good reason!
At OrthoPelvic We like to solve your problem in 3 phases:
Phase 1: Most of the time, we have to lengthen the tissue to allow it to relax (3-4 visits)
Phase 2: We have to connect the mind to the muscle and reeducate the muscle to fire the correct way (3-4 visits)
Phase 3: Look at functional movements and return you back to your preferred activities without any difficulty (3-4 visits)
Belly breathing helps relax your pelvic floor muscles, helps connect your mind to your pelvic floor muscles while reeducating those muscles to fire correctly, AND it is a useful tool when going back to functional movements. It truly helps you at every phase of recovery!
So how do you do it?
I would recommend trying this while seated on a stool like Dr. Kelly in this video or sitting in a chair with a folded washcloth underneath of you (to see if you can feel your pelvic floor gently drop).
Now that you’re ready to try, put one hand on your chest, and one hand on your belly.
Breathe in and feel your belly come out and expand like a balloon as your pelvic floor drops and applies gentle pressure to the stool (or washcloth).
Exhale and feel that gentle pressure come off of the stool or washcloth, and your belly comes back in.
Inhale, everything drops and expands like a
Exhale, everything comes back in and “deflates”
When you do this, you may notice that your chest moves and not your belly. That’s okay! That means this work will be especially helpful for you because you are technically not breathing correctly. Don’t sweat it! You can practice this and your body will begin doing it naturally to help you get the fullest breaths while engaging the right muscles.
This is also a wonderful, relaxing, low-impact form of core work for postpartum moms!
If you’re looking for some gentle core work for your first few weeks postpartum, belly breathe! If you’re up to it, you can also gently pull your ribcage down and belly in as you exhale for more muscle engagement.
You can also use this prenatally to control coning/pressure loss during ab activities! Check out one of our amazing pregnant patients belly breathing with Dr. Kelly’s cues at 25 weeks.
Seriously, what can’t belly breathing help with?!
Be empowered in education,
OrthoPelvic Physical Therapy