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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary function of the diaphragm?

The diaphragm is a muscle that helps you inhale and exhale (breathe in and out). This thin, dome-shaped muscle sits below your lungs and heart. It’s attached to your sternum (a bone in the middle of your chest), the bottom of your rib cage and your spine. Your diaphragm separates your chest from your abdominal cavity (belly).

How does the diaphragm help the body breathe?

The diaphragm is a mushroom-shaped muscle that sits beneath your lower-to-middle rib cage. It separates your abdomen from your thoracic area. Your diaphragm helps you breathe by lowering when you inhale, in that way, allowing your lungs to expand. It then rises to its original position when you exhale.

How does the diaphragm help in inspiration?

The diaphragm is the primary muscle that is active in inspiration. Contraction of the muscle facilitates expansion of the thoracic cavity. This increases volume of the the cavity, which in turn decreases the intrathoracic pressure allowing the lungs to expand and inspiration to occur.

How can breathing exercises help strengthen the diaphragm?

Place one hand on your abdomen and breathe deeply. If your abdomen moves in and out as you breathe, you’re breathing correctly. Encouraging your diaphragm to expand and contract at its full potential should ease your discomfort. Deep breathing may also produce a sense of calm, reduced stress and anxiety levels, and lower blood pressure.

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