By |Published On: September 20, 2023|676 words|Views: 309|3.4 min read|Tags: , , , , |

Five-finger breathing is a quick and easy breathing exercise.

Five-finger breathing is a quick and easy breathing exercise.

How to do five finger breathing

If you’re new to this practice, you may wish to begin by using guided audio or video. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can do it on your own any time you need to relax.

1. Ready your hands

Five-finger breathing requires the use of two hands. One hand will be your base (this hand won’t move) and the other will be used to trace your fingers (this one will move). It doesn’t matter which is which, but you may find it easiest to use your dominant hand — the one you write with — for tracing.

To start, hold your base hand in front of you with your fingers spread comfortably apart.

2. Start tracing your thumb

Place the index finger of your tracing hand at the bottom of the thumb of your base hand — right where your thumb meets your wrist — and begin slowly moving your index finger up to the tip of your thumb.

“As you move your finger up your thumb, take a slow breath in, perhaps allowing your eyes to close,” Dr. Scheman instructs.

When you reach the top of your thumb, do the opposite: Slowly drag your index finger down the other side of your thumb while exhaling.

3. Keep going, focusing on your breath

When you’re done tracing your thumb, move on to tracing your index finger in the same way — then your middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger.

As you trace each one, continue to breathe deeply and slowly. “Let yourself relax as you breathe gently,” Dr. Scheman encourages. “Become more and more deeply relaxed each time you exhale.”

4. Change direction

When you’ve traced your whole hand and reached the bottom of your pinky finger, reverse directions and go back the way you came, moving toward your thumb.

Continue to take slow breaths in and out, focusing on your breath and on the sensation of your index finger tracing your skin. “Let go a little bit more with every exhale,” she says.

Allow yourself to relax as much as you possibly can, with your breath as your guide.

5. Let yourself relax

Continue the practice as long as you need. “When you’re ready, you may open your eyes, bringing with you any relaxation that you’ve found,” Dr. Scheman says.

Try not to rush into whatever you do next (unless it involves falling asleep). Give yourself the time to revel in your relaxation and let it wash over you.

Five finger breathing technique is great for reducing anxiety

Benefits of Five Finger Breathing

Benefits of Five Finger Breathing

Breathwork techniques trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, the part of your brain responsible for resting, relaxing and resetting. When you’re tense, overwhelmed or amped up, these techniques help move you out of fight-or-flight mode and into a calmer state of being.

Deep relaxation techniques like five-finger breathing have been shown to:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety. When your parasympathetic nervous system is active, you can take your focus away from worries and stressors. Reducing anxiety and stress can reduce inflammation and help our immune system.
  • Relax your body. “Research shows that people who go into surgery in a deeply relaxed state need less sedation prior to receiving general anesthesia,” Dr. Scheman says. This means you’ll get your brain back faster after surgery or a procedure.
  • Reduce pain. Opioids (narcotics) can, in some people, be extremely addictive. But using deep relaxation techniques before and after major surgery can minimize the need for opioids to manage your pain.
  • Promote healing. Practicing deep relaxation techniques after surgery may also help you get back on your feet sooner. “People who practice deep relaxation three or four times a day every day after surgery have been shown to heal significantly faster from their surgical wounds,” Dr. Scheman notes.
  • Promote sleep. “Patients also report that it helps them sleep through the night, sometimes even in the hospital,” she adds.

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