It’s the most irritating piece of advice some can give, especially when I’m on the verge of having a meltdown.  A while back I ran over a cat.  I don’t even like cats. But when I saw it flopping around on the street and meowing in pain, I lost it. I called my husband in hysterics.  He told me to take a deep breath.  Are you kidding me?  I just killed a cat!

Well, it turns out he is right.  Taking a deep breath – the kind where the belly expands – is one of the healthiest, hormone-balancing things we can do.  And, I mean do all the time, like for the rest of our lives.

So, what’s the big news here? 

For me, it was learning that breath actually changes our physiology by signaling the brain to send out a chemical-hormonal response. Brenda Stockdale, director of mind-body medicine at the RC Cancer Centers, tells us in O Magazine that shallow breath signals the adrenals to produce cortisol, slowing down immune cell response and wreaking havoc on our bodies.  With deep, abdominal breathing there is no bad-news cortisol, so our immune cells can do their job and facilitate healing.

But here's the juicy part. 

Dr. Sara Gottfried dives deep into the connection between breath and pleasure in a webinar she designed to re-ignite sex drive. Btw, Dr. Sara is my favorite Harvard-trained-integrative-doctor-extraordinaire.  Her mission in life is to get women feeling “sexy, vital and balanced from their cells to their souls”. See why I like her?

Anyway, Dr. Sara and her guest speaker Ellen Heed explain that deep breath is the magic bridge to our erotic self.  When breath reaches the lower portion of the lungs (where there are more relaxation receptors, more blood vessels) the brain takes note and down regulates the nervous system.  The body is now in a position to relax and it can afford more attention inward, toward the present moment.  The net-net. Deep breath wires us toward pleasure. 

Not only can my husband feel good about being right, he can feel happy about this too. 

PS Check out Dr. Sara Gottfried's very juicy, worthwhile Mission Ignition webinar series.