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Breath and Healing

Left alone, the body knows best how to heal itself. The technical word for this is homeostasis, meaning the natural tendency to reestablish balance. With illness, energy is blocked - the balance is upset. The state of dis-ease" is the result. Breathing is a primary method for correcting this disharmony.

Breathing deeply and rhythmically will assist your body in healing itself. Good respiration provides the oxygen needed by every cell, every muscle, bone, and organ. When part of you is ailing, the whole organism is thrown out of balance. Vigilant red blood cells rush to the aid of the injured or diseased part. Since it is the oxygen you inspire that provides the energy to the cells, it naturally follows that these cells need to be charged to their fullest potential in order for healing to occur.

It has long been known that pain is intensified by the anxiety that accompanies a threatening situation. Fear causes the body to tense itself, a spontaneous reaction to the need to fight or run away. So what we have is a two-stage process - fear giving rise to tension; tension increasing pain. Using the breath to manage tension will help to quiet both the fear and the pain. The intuitive wisdom used by parents of young children provides us with an excellent example. The child who has been crying and gasping for breath is cautioned to "take a deep breath" and "calm down." Mother knows that the scare and the sight of blood worsen the child's pain. Panic reactions generally involve this same gasping or fast, shallow breathing pattern. Bringing their breathing to the attention of the injured party can immediately change the level of anxiety. To use this reminder for yourself in a crisis situation, it helps to be attuned to your breathing on a regular basis.

Life means rhythm!With its first breath the newborn baby enters into the rhythm of life; with its inhalation and exhalation, it begins to experience the flow of life in its alternating positive and negative phases, pulsating within it like an alternating current. Life is thus an uninterrupted chain of rhythmic breaths, in and out, until with his last breath man "expires," i.e., "breathes out," and closes the final link in the chain. - Selvarajan Yesudin and Elizabeth Haich

What is true for the relief of physical pain is also applicable to mental and emotional pain. Sadness, depression, and boredom can frequently be turned around by a change in breathing. So, as you reach for the aspirins, the antacid tablets, or the telephone to call your doctor, remember to breathe as well. Singing can be a great help - producing full-bodied energy. In breathing well, you let go of the restrictions to the natural healing process.

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