How Breath Can Aid in Pain Relief

In other posts, we emphasize the benefits of conscious breathing on the nervous system and mind. While conscious breathing may be generally thought of as a relaxation technique, it can also be used as a method of pain relief. 

In fact, according to one study, “breathing decisively influences… pain processing.” By breathing slowly and smoothly, we can directly influence our internal environment and the way we experience pain.

Here is a simple breathing practice you can use to ease the intensity of tension or pain in a part of your body:


  1. Bring your mental attention to the space of tension/pain in your body.
  2. Take slow gentle breaths in and out, allowing your belly to expand. Let the tension/pain be as it is.
  3. After a few cycles of breath, imagine that your inhale is now directed to that space of tension. Let your breath “fill into” that painful area. 
  4. As you breathe out, imagine your exhale releasing the tension. Let your breath “clear out” of that painful space.
  5. Lastly, bring a kind awareness to your whole body.


Notice how you perceive the intensity of the tension or pain now. If you feel better than before, consider using it more frequently, or whenever you feel the need.

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