Breathing for Pain Relief

Breathing for pain control? You betcha. Ask any mother who had a natural childbirth. And if you don’t believe childbirth is painful you must be a man! 🙂

Deep breathing has many positive benefits on the body. It relaxes muscles, increases oxygen supply to the cells, encourages the production of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers), and calms your mind. Combine those and you got pain reduction.

Here is a good deep breathing exercise from the National Cancer Institute:

1. Breathe in slowly and deeply.
2. As you breathe out slowly, feel yourself beginning to relax; feel the tension leaving your body.
3. Now breathe in and out slowly and regularly, at whatever rate is comfortable for you.
4. To help you focus on your breathing and breathe slowly and rhythmically: (a) breathe in as you say silently to yourself, “in, two, three”; (b) breathe out as you say silently to yourself, “out, two, three.” or Each time you breathe out, say silently to yourself a word such as “peace” or “relax.”
5. Do steps 1 through 4 only once or repeat steps 3 and 4 for up to 20 minutes.
6. End with a slow deep breath. As you breathe out say to yourself “I feel alert and relaxed.”

You can do this while watching TV, sitting at your desk, while stopped at a traffic light?any time you’re in pain.

Pain Support (
Consumers Guide-Management of Cancer Pain, National Cancer Institute