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Breathing Exercises for Adrenal Fatigue

  • Breathing Exercises can calm your nervous system, which is essential for adrenal fatigue treatment

Breathing Exercises can lower your blood pressure, reduce your heart rate and calm your nervous system.

There are a variety of breathing techniques that you can use as part of your adrenal fatigue treatment. Some are helpful .... some are not.

If you want to jump right into a simple technique .... see the article:
Slow Breathing Technique.

Buteyko breathing exercises can also help with the hyperventilation symptoms (shortness of breath, gasping), which are common for adrenal fatigue and chronic stress.

Deep Breathing might actually increase Anxiety since it can lead to increased hyperventilation, which you may already be suffering from.

This article gives an overview of how breathing exercises help, and a few tips regardless of the specific technique you use.

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Your Breath and Stress

  • Your breath can control your nervous system.

It works in both directions. Stress can affect your breath. But your breath can also affect your level of stress.

When your nervous system is in a state of stress, there are many changes that occur within your the body. Your heart rate increases, pupils dilate, blood vessels constrict, and many other changes occur.


The connection between your breath and stress works in both directions.

During stress, your breathing rate increases, becomes more shallow, and you breathe from your upper lungs, which is called thoracic breathing, or chest breathing.

Luckily, the connection between the nervous system and your breath also works in reverse.

Your breathe is one of the bridges you have available to control your nervous system.

Your method of breathing tells your nervous system whether you are stressed or relaxed.

The breathing techniques covered in this section have been proven to calm the nervous system. Proper breathing exercises can be an important...and free...part of your adrenal fatigue treatment plan.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  • Abdominal Breathing calms the nervous system

Diaphragmatic breathing should be employed not only during relaxation breathing exercises, but at all times, including sitting at your desk, driving, at a movie, reading a book, etc.

With diaphragmatic / abdominal breathing, your belly moves in and out. Your chest does not move.

No Chest Breathing

Breathing for relaxation will not be effective with chest breathing.

Recent studies have shown many health benefits from Diaphragmatic Breathing (DB). DB has been shown to increase activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (the calm side), reduce oxidative stress, reduce hyper-glycemia, improves heart rate variability, reduce blood pressure and reduce heart rate 1, 2, 3, 4.

Chest breathing is what we do when under stress. When we are experiencing stress, our breath becomes rapid, shallow and limited to the chest.

And since the mind-body connection also works in reverse, chest breathing stimulates the stressed side of the nervous system (sympathetic nervous system)5, thereby creating stress. Breathing for relaxation will not be effective with chest breathing.

As part of your adrenal fatigue treatment, you can strive to always be mindful of how you are breathing. With practice, belly breathing will become automatic.

Let Go on the Exhale

  • The calm side of your nervous system is more active during exhalation

During exhalation, the nervous system leans towards the relaxed side (parasympathetic nervous system). If you are in a relaxed state, you can even notice this in your pulse, which should slow a little when you exhale.

If you intentionally try to Let Go while exhaling, it tilts the nervous system even more towards the calm side.

Letting go can be pictured different ways. You can picture it like your shoulders and arms and the rest of your body are going limp or that you are like melting butter .

You can also say to yourself quietly and slowly 'Caaaalm' or 'Relaaaax' during each exhalation. This will increase the effectiveness of all breathing techniques, and help with anxiety reduction.

You can do this while at your desk, in a movie, at a stop light.....anywhere.

A Form of Meditation

  • All breathing techniques are essentially a form of meditation.

By focusing on your breath to make sure it is slow and rhythmic, you are practicing Concentration Meditation.

And you will also undoubtedly catch your mind drifting and will need to bring it back to your breath, which is training you in mindfulness meditation. You are training yourself to watch the patterns of your mind.

Any form of meditation is very helpful for adrenal fatigue treatment.

In addition to relaxation breathing exercises, you may also obtain great benefit from reviewing our meditation pages .


If you squeeze in breathing exercises whenever you can, it will be very helpful for calming your nervous system and reducing anxiety.

They are an important tool in your adrenal fatigue treatment tool box.

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1. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces postprandial oxidative stress
2. Effect of diaphragmatic breathing on heart rate variability in ischemic heart disease with diabetes.
3. Breathing retraining - a five-year follow-up of patients with dysfunctional breathing
4. Effects of diaphragmatic breathing on ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate
5. Stress and the Role of Breathing

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