Breathing is a simple function of the human body, and many people do not realize that it can be used to control pain. In some situations, you may notice that in moments of pain your breathing becomes rapid. While this is the natural response to severe pain, it can actually inhibit your body’s ability to manage it.
Deep breathing that is slow and measured can be a way to help the body deal with pain. This is especially true of breathing exercises that are associated with relaxation techniques. As the person takes these slow, measured breaths, the body relaxes and the mind gains more ability to deal with the pain.
A 2012 study from Pain Medicine found that deep, slow breathing could have an effect on the perception of pain. In the study, researchers noted that there was a significant increase in participants’ pain threshold associated with relaxing deep breathing, and they concluded that the practice does have an effect on the way that the mind processes pain.