Breathing to Relax


Relax anywhere, anytime with slow, rhythmic breathing

  1. Stare at an object or shut your eyes and think of a peaceful scene.
  2. Take a slow, deep breath. As you breathe in, tense your muscles. As you breathe out, relax your muscles and feel the tension leaving.
  3. Remain relaxed and begin breathing slowly and comfortably, taking about nine or 12 breaths a minute. To maintain a slow, even rhythm, you can silently say to yourself, “in, one, two; out, one, two.” If you ever feel out of breath, take a deep breath, and continue the slow breathing.
  4. Each time you breathe out, feel yourself relaxing and going limp. You may want to try relaxing different parts of your body, one after the other. Start with your feet and work up to your head. Continue the slow, rhythmic breathing for up to 10 minutes, if you need it.
  5. To end the session, count silently and slowly from one to three. Open your eyes. Say to yourself, “I feel alert and relaxed.” Begin moving slowly.

Adapted from: How to Use Imagery, National Cancer Institute, updated July 16, 2012.
This article is meant to provide general information, not specific medical advice. Consult your doctor for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your health questions. Massage practitioners do not diagnose or prescribe.