While taking several classes in holistic health techniques, I noticed that breathing was a component of many skills as a step or continuing element in the particular therapy. There are hundreds of complementary and alternative practices used around the world for various health purposes, many of which include a breathing element.
As a Family Physician, however, I'm not generally in a complementary or alternative practice mode. I'm relating to people of all ages about their life through their five senses and the biopsychococial model in a family context. Some aspects of breathing, though, fit nicely into a lot of what I do in relation to my patients, even in a mostly "normal" family medical practice.
What role does breathing play in my daily practice activities?
Preparation. Focus. Connection. Rapport. Relationship.
Preparation: Take three deep nasal breaths, focus on the heart, while allowing the abdomen to expand with inhalation and then appreciate something external to you, such as a situation, a past experience or a future experience. Those three steps, from www.Heartmath.com allow a calmness to float through my medical countenance. My blood pressure and heart rate are reduced. Then I shift my thoughts to the next patient.
Focus is easier, especially shifting to the next patient. Breathing with the patient's pace of breathing can enhance rapport by entrainment of rhythms. All of these steps support the patient- physician relationship.