by Deena Smith, CMT & Meditation Facilitator

As the year yawns into winter, and the sun sets earlier and earlier, wouldn’t it be great to simply breath in a little peace? Maybe just to punctuate (not an intended acupuncture pun) the end of the day, we could all simply practice breathing into peace. Everyone is researching this and everyone is coming to the same conclusions. Consciously changing the way you breathe appears to send a signal to the brain to adjust the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (aka: rest and restore sensations). Really good things happen when we are able to move into this branch. It can slow the heart rate and digestion plus promote feelings of calm as well soothing the sympathetic branch of the nervous system, (aka: fight or flight feelings), which controls the release of stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. I mean why end a perfectly good day by having to feel like you’re being chased by a bear?
All this research fortunately concludes that consciously breathing is good for you! There are literally dozens of proven methods (just google ‘meditative breathing’)…then pick one that works for you and, like meditation, proper breathing is healing. So even if you get bored, don’t stop and don’t quit when it feels difficult either, because, as the countless researchers have proven, that is when the really good stuff starts to happen. I have been practicing diaphragmatic breathing in times of stress and have gained wonderful results. The exercise shown below can bring great results for you too but it truly takes practice. Which is kind of strange, because it is technically ‘proper’ breathing. Just a note of caution to be mindful if you suffer from breathing conditions such as CoPD or Asthma, please consult your Primary Care practitioner about best ways to integrate better breathing habits.

Here’s the basic tried and true Conscious Breath Technique:
“The 4-7-8 Counting Method”

  1. Sit upright, place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest. Your hands will act as guides and tell on you when you’re not using your diaphragm and reverting to your chest breathing.
  2. Slowly breathe in, expanding your diaphragm by pushing out your belly to the fullest and to the count of four.
  3. Pause (ideally for the count of seven).
  4. Slowly breathe out your mouth to the count of eight.
  5. Work your way up to practicing this pattern for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Truly a great way to reset from stress, lack of sleep or you can used to boost your energy too.

We hope you come in soon and ask your Practitioner to show you their favorite breathing technique or exercise when you come in for your next treatment. Breathing techniques are a perfect and simple way to complement our restorative and integrative modalities.

Give this breathing technique a try and tell us how you do you with it. We love hearing your success stories! Or maybe you have a question or topic you want us to cover in our next blog?  Let us know at

We at East West Integrative Medical Clinic wish you and yours

a happy, healthy and cozy winter season ahead.