“Just calm down and take a deep breath.” If you are upset or stressed out about anything, this simple advice is probably the best you’ll ever get. Breathing is a very valuable key to stress relief—and to emotional and physical health, too.
The oxygen that we take in through the air that we breathe is absolutely essential to health, so it is sometimes called “Vitamin O” by nutritionists. But, actually, it is even more important than the other vitamins. You can live for a few days without water, and you can live without food for about a week. But without air to breathe, you’ll be dead within a matter of minutes.
Also, oxygen, which saturates our blood through our lungs’ bronchia, is necessary for most of our other bodily processes, such as digestion and immunity. Your brain is especially sensitive to oxygen depletion, and even a very short time without oxygen can cause life-long brain damage.
Breathing is unique among the various physiological processes of our body because most of the basic bodily functions that support our lives are not within our conscious control. Most people, for example, cannot deliberately control their heart rate or digestion just by thinking about them, except for perhaps the most accomplished yogi.
Breathing, however, is different. We all can choose to breathe faster or slower, or deeply or more shallowly. Yet, at the same time, if we choose not to think about our breathing at all, our lungs will continue inhaling and exhaling on their own, responding to signals from the unconscious brain. Like a modern jet pilot, we can choose autopilot or take over the controls ourselves.
The Amazing Vagus Nerve
Your breathing has great effect on your health due to its effect on your vagus nerve. This nerve is responsible for returning your body to the “rest and digest” state after a period of stress, which is sometimes called a “fight or flight” state. When stimulated, it helps return your heart rate, blood pressure, and digestive processes to normal.
Researchers have confirmed that deliberate deep breathing can easily assist the vagus nerve in accomplishing its job of returning the body to normal after stress. Since stress has been linked to all sorts of diseases—heart disease, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and much more—it is certainly worth your while to take advantage of this feature as a regular part of your fitness routine. On top of that, breathing exercises have been shown to have amazing positive effects on psychological, stress-related problems like depression and anxiety.
Breathing + Belly Button Healing = Vibrant HealthBelly Button Breathing is a form of Belly Button Healing that takes advantage of the amazing healing benefits of deep breathing and combines them with the benefits of Belly Button Healing. The vagus nerve extends down from the brain and then branches out to all the other organs.
The center point of the nerve, the place where it branches out to the organs, is in the upper abdomen, an area known as the solar plexus. Through the rhythmical in-and-out motion of Belly Button Healing, this area becomes stimulated, and tension that may be blocking the nerve is released. As a result, the vagus nerve is assisted in its process of bringing rest, relaxation, and vitality to all the organs of the body. And, of course, the benefits of Belly Button Healing described in the two previous blog entries—increased physical energy and improved emotional control—occur with Belly Button Breathing, too.
Combined with deep breathing, this provides an amazingly simple, yet comprehensive approach to recovering your health. It’s like a double-whammy in the fight against the stresses of modern life, something that everyone needs these days.
Belly Button Breathing Method
- Sit in a chair or lie on the floor. When sitting in a chair, lean your upper body comfortably against the back of it.
- Gently rub your abdomen clockwise with your palm for a minute to relax your body and mind.
- Then, press your navel with either a Belly Button Healing Wand or the three middle fingertips of both hands. The Belly Button Healing Wand was ergonomically designed to make this movement easier and more effective.
- Relax your shoulders and press your navel rhythmically, repeatedly, and mindfully.
- Exhale in sharp, short breaths through your mouth or nose at this time. The relaxing effect is greater if you emphasize your outgoing breath.
- Do about 100 to 300 repetitions at once. This should take about one to three minutes. It’s better to do this frequently in short bursts than to do it once for a long time.
- When you’ve finished pressing your belly button, spend at least a couple of minutes focusing on your body while you breathe comfortably as you imagine life energy entering your abdomen through your belly button. You may feel energy sensations such as tingling, heaviness leaving, cold releasing, or warmth that spreads from your abdomen to your whole body.
- Try to feel what other changes are happening in your body, from your belly and fingertips to the tips of your toes. Then, feel your breathing deepening automatically as you become more aware and relaxed.