How to Reduce Chronic Pain by Breathing?

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How to Reduce Chronic Pain by Breathing_

by admin | Jan 16, 2019

Chronic pain is a disease of the limbic system or emotional centre of the brain. Brain nerve circuits are wired for ongoing pain and can be re-wired by several activities like writing, speaking and thinking positive thoughts and consciously breathing.

To start the journey of reducing pain by conscious breathing, I teach my patients to pause every hour of the day and focus on 3 breaths. Inhale through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat for 3 breaths. It’s simple to do but you need a commitment to carry it through to a regular practice. Some tips on ways to ensure you practice this exercise, is to set your iPhone to an hourly reminder to breathe consciously or if at home or in the office all day, to pause from activities for 3 breaths on the turn of the hour.

If you manage to do it 5-6 times in the day to start with, that’s great. It’s all about changing your behaviour toward making this breathing exercise a habit. Every time you do it, say to yourself “victory”, this will keep the negative thoughts that arise from not saying it hourly to a minimum. It’s about taking small steps towards switching the autonomic nervous system from a stress – pain response to one of calming – healing – relaxation response.

Go on and try it!

The more you do it, the more control over your nerve circuits you have and pain can be reduced slowly over time. Never given up.

Have a day off every week, so keep the momentum up for the long term. Better this way and practice conscious breathing it for years than do it every day for a month and stop, never to do it again!

For more information on breathing exercises visit as I plan to add blog posts on this activity in the near future.

Dr. Wayne Phimister