Lie down on the floor, and place a book on your abdomen. Breathe deeply, allowing your abdomen to expand. Watch the book move up and down. Now sit up, and try the same thing without the book. Harazduk, who runs a program that teaches patients coping skills through the use of meditation, proper breathing and other techniques, suggests that everyone take a break several times a day and take three deep abdominal breaths.
"Proper breathing has profound effects on our health," said dancer and teacher Michelle Ava whose Ava Technique includes massage, movement and meditation. "Over 70 percent of waste by-products are eliminated through our breathing and our skin. When our blood is heavily oxygenated it becomes very difficult for virus and bacteria to grow."
At a studio near the National Zoo in Northwest Washington D.C., Ava helps her clients figure out where they hold the tension in their body, and through breathing exercises, yoga and massage therapy, how to get rid of it.
Dillman, 50, has incorporated breath work into his practice of rebirthing, a process that enables a person to trace emotional upset to an earlier trauma, possibly at birth. In the late 70s, Dillman had serious gastrointestinal problems. He lost weight and had trouble digesting food.
After searching, he says, for a way "to heal" himself, Dillman came to understand how the mind can effect the body. Eventually he was cured with the help of herbs, dietary supplements and rebirthing.
"Breathing is key," said Dillman. "All emotions are stored in the body. Breathing is a catalyst. The breath work helps to bring up and release emotional traumas."