June 27, 2024


Can we really just breathe our hot flashes away?  Several clinical trials suggest it’s worth a try.  Best results were seen in women who practiced this paced respiration technique 2x/day.  Here’s how to do it:

To practice paced respiration: 10-15 minutes

• Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to a count of 5

• Do not hold your breath

• Exhale slowly and fully to a count of 5

• Repeat

To help slow down your breathing, it’s helpful to silently say “one thousand” in between each count. So the counting process is: “One, one thousand; two, one thousand; three, one thousand; four, one thousand; five, one thousand,” while breathing in slowly and deeply. Then start to exhale slowly, counting back down: “Five, one thousand; four, one thousand; three, one thousand; two, one thousand; one, one thousand.”

Those who find it too difficult to breathe slowly enough to count to five while inhaling may start by counting slowly to three or four at first. Others find it easier to start by exhaling first, then inhaling. Often women remember to breathe deeply but they forget to breathe more slowly than normal. Don’t forget to breathe more slowly. Breathing deeply and quickly won’t work. Quick, deep breaths are not successful in reducing hot flashes or high blood pressure.

To master paced respiration, practice the technique until you can perform it for 10 to 15 minutes, continuously, to get comfortable with it. This trains your body to breathe more slowly than normal on command. After you master the technique, it will not take more than a few minutes for it to be effective.

Noted above is the paced respiration technique suggested by Julia Schlam Edelman, MD, (OB/GYN) in her book “Menopause Matters.”