J Korean Acad Nurs.  1999 Dec;29(6):1304-1313.

Theoretical Bases and Technical Application of Breathing Therapy in Stress Management

  • 1College of Nursing, Korea University, Korea.


Breathing is essential for life and at the same time takes a role as a antidote for stress. In the Orient, it was recognized early that respiration, mind, and body have a relation that is inseparable and therefore proper breathing is so important. However, since the mechanism of therapeutic effect by breathing have not been verified, the treatment has been continued till recent years. From that which originated in the Orient, several techniques in the west have been developed to regulate breathing, and have been applying to the clinical situation and to studies, however scientific studies are still lacking. Recently, relaxed breathing has been used as an efficient strategy for breathing therapy as it has an effect on reducing physiological tension and arousal, and, therefore can be used as a basic technique to control or manage stress. In this study, in order to provide basic information and guidelines for clinical application, which will aid in the application of the theoretical basics of breathing therapy and its technique, a review of the literative was conducted. The findings are as follows: 1. Since proper breathing not only has, physically, the important function in supplying oxygen to the body but also gives a good emotional, or pleasant state of mind, it is the first step in controlling physical and mental health. 2. The basic types of breathing can be classified into two types; 'diaphragmatic breathing(relaxed breathing)' and 'chest breathing(stress breathing)'. In yoga type breathing, there are four kinds of breathing, 'upper breathing', 'mid breathing', 'down breathing', and 'complete breathing'. 3. The theoretical explanation of the positive thera peutic effect of breathing therapy techniques exemplifies good brain function, sufficient air flow through the nasal passages, diaphragmatic movement, light vagal stimulation, CO2 changes and cognitive diversion but in most studies, the hypothesis of CO2 is supported. 4. The technique of breathing is designated with many names according to the muscles and techniques used for breathing, and for control of stress, diaphragmatic breathing(relaxed breathing) is explained as a basic technique best used to manage of stress. 5. The relaxed-breathing includes slow diaphragmatic breathing, breath meditation, nasal breathing, yogic abdominal breathing, Benson's relaxed response, and quiet response.


Stress management; Breathing Therapy

MeSH Terms

Mental Health
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