top of page

Functional Breathing: A Natural Medication for ADHD and ADD

Updated: Jun 2

In our fast-paced world, many of us struggle to stay focused and calm. For those with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), the challenges are even greater. Are you looking for a natural solution that has zero side effects of the medication usually prescribed?

Functional breathing techniques can help improve attention and relaxation simultaneously, offering a natural and effective way to manage ADHD and ADD symptoms minus the medication.

What is Functional Breathing?

Functional breathing is all about using our breath in a way that optimally supports the body's physiological needs. This involves breathing through the nose, using the diaphragm effectively, and maintaining a steady, calm rhythm. When practiced regularly, functional breathing can bring numerous benefits, especially for those with ADHD and ADD.

The Science Behind Breath and the Nervous System

Our breath is closely linked to the autonomic nervous system, which regulates many of the body's unconscious functions, including heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. This system has two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system (which triggers the fight-or-flight response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which promotes relaxation and calm).

For individuals with ADHD or ADD, the nervous system is often in a heightened state of arousal, making it difficult to focus and stay calm. Functional breathing can help shift the balance towards the parasympathetic state, promoting relaxation and improved focus.

How Functional Breathing Helps ADHD and ADD

  1. Enhances Focus and Attention Functional breathing increases oxygen delivery to the brain, improving cognitive function and concentration. By ensuring that your body and brain are well-oxygenated, you can think more clearly and stay attentive for longer periods.

  2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety Deep, diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce stress and anxiety levels. This is particularly beneficial for those with ADHD or ADD, who often experience heightened stress responses.

  3. Improves Emotional Regulation Functional breathing can help stabilize emotions by influencing the nervous system. By maintaining a calm and steady breath, you can better manage emotional ups and downs, leading to more stable mood and behavior.

  4. Boosts Energy Levels Proper breathing techniques can help maintain energy levels by ensuring that the body’s cells receive adequate oxygen. This can prevent the energy slumps that often contribute to difficulties in attention and focus.

Simple Functional Breathing Techniques for ADHD and ADD

  1. Nasal Breathing Breathing through the nose filters, warms, and humidifies the air before it enters the lungs. This not only improves overall respiratory health but also encourages deeper, more controlled breathing.

  2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Breathe in deeply through your nose, allowing your diaphragm (not your chest) to rise. This encourages full oxygen exchange, slowing the heartbeat and stabilizing blood pressure.

  3. Box Breathing This technique involves inhaling for four seconds, holding the breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, and holding the breath out for another four seconds. Repeat this cycle for a few minutes to promote relaxation and focus.

  4. Extended Exhale Focus on lengthening your exhale to be longer than your inhale. For example, inhale for four seconds and exhale for six seconds. This helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calm.

Additional Benefits of Functional Breathing

  • Improved Sleep Quality: Functional breathing can help regulate sleep patterns, leading to more restful and restorative sleep.

  • Enhanced Physical Performance: Better oxygen delivery to muscles improves stamina and endurance.

  • Increased Mindfulness: Focusing on breath brings a heightened awareness of the present moment, which can be particularly grounding for those with ADHD or ADD.

Want to take it Next Level?

Functional breathing offers a simple yet powerful tool for managing ADHD and ADD.

By practicing these techniques, you can enhance focus, reduce stress, improve emotional regulation, and boost overall well-being. Incorporating functional breathing into your daily routine can lead to significant improvements, helping you stay attentive and relaxed at the same time.

Having the help of a coach can keep you on track, make sure you're gettting the most out of the time you practice. And most importanty, keeps you accountalble (if you have ADD or ADHD you know invaluable this is)

If you want to learn more about the coaching I offer then follow this link

To learn more about the Science behind breathing as a treatment for ADHD:

Breathing Techniques in an Ice Bath
Breathing under Stress

12 views0 comments


bottom of page