A Deep Breathing Exercise for Immune System Support

In uncertain times, it’s especially important to remain grounded and centered. When we’re dealing with a constant fight or flight stress response, our immune systems suffer. So do our decision-making skills, relationships, and other matters in life. 

Consistently deep breathing helps us with all these things and helps prevent illnesses. It is one of the most important things you can do for your immune system. It doesn’t take much of your time. In fact, you can overlap deep breathing with other activities, like dishwashing.   

Benefits of deep breathing for the immune system:

  • Balances the immune system so that it doesn’t overreact & cause harm
  • Stimulates production of natural killer (NK) cells
  • Lowers cortisol, the stress hormone
  • Improves sleep, which is important for proper immune function
  • Helps reduce chronic inflammation, the root of most illnesses
  • Fuels your blood with oxygen, which goes into your cells & organs
  • Enhances your ability to listen to your body’s needs 

How to Breathe Diaphragmatically for Immune System Support 

Do this exercise as often as you can remember to. This will form a habit that you will thank yourself for in the long run. 

  1. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
  2. During the inhale, imagine your belly as a balloon that inflates in all directions. You should feel it gently pushing your spine, your groin, and your ribs as it inflates.
  3. Exhale slowly and deeply through your nose and let your “balloon” deflate. 

For even deeper breathing, you can add another step after #2: After your balloon fills up, allow your chest to expand like a balloon. While exhaling, deflate your chest first and then your belly. 

If controlled breathing is a new habit you’re trying to establish, you may need to get used to the extra oxygen. You will get used to it quickly.