(Dreamstime)

Heather is consulted in article for Newsmax.

Every breath you take can bring you closer to better health, mentally, physically and emotionally. By slowing down and balancing the natural breathing pattern, you can harmonize and balance both the body and brain. Drs. Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg, authors of “The Healing Power of the Breath,” describe how breathwork not only leads to a sense of inner wellbeing, but also helps balance hormones so that we feel physically and mentally more relaxed and calm.

Breathing techniques have long been used to help shift the state of body and mind. Most practices aim to slow down the stress response by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), or relaxation response, which is cued by the pace and depth of our breathing, says Dr. Heidi Hanna, executive director of the American Institute of Stress. This is the calmer member of the automatic nervous system, as opposed to the sympathetic nervous system, or SNS, that is associated with the “fight or flight” response.