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Scarlett Quinn
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Scarlett is a working mom of four and avid community volunteer.
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Nothing makes me feel more relaxed than a Holotropic Breathing.

Breathing Management and Relaxing Bath Can Ease the Pain

Grandma used to blame strenuous exercise too soon after food and drink. But competitive cyclists are almost completely stitch-free even though they gulp down food and liquid on the move. Similarly, cross-country skiers, skaters and swimmers seldom suffer.

So what is to blame? As we run, organs like the liver, stomach and spleen bounce up and down. This does not matter if the diaphragm is also moving downwards as we're breathing in.

But it does if the bounce occurs as your diaphragm is moving up as you are breathing out.

Here's some advice:

  • Breathing patterns: If a stitch grips you as you run, change your breathing pattern so that the leg on the opposite side of the body from the stitch hits the ground as you breathe out.
  • Grunting: If the diaphragm is in a very tight position, a loud grunt as you breathe out can bring relief.
  • Belly breathing (to stretch and strengthen the diaphragm): Lie on your back. Place several heavy books on your stomach. Breathe so that the books rise significantly as you breathe in and move downwards as you breathe out. Repeat while standing without the books.
  • Strengthening the abdominal muscles: Lie on your back with hip and knees flexed and the soles of your feet on the floor. Raise head and chest repeatedly by about 30 degrees or more. Don't flop down after each raise, lower yourself gradually to achieve controlled muscle contraction.
  • If you are prone to stitches, don't eat or drink for two hours before you run. The increased weight of a full stomach may increase the chance of a stitch by creating a stronger downward tug on the diaphragm as your feet repeatedly hit the ground.
  • Relaxbest relaxing bath products: Tension may make you vulnerable, take a relaxing bubble bath to relieve stress and tension. Before running, breathe deeply to ensure that your stomach is moving out expansively as you breathe in. Carry on until your diaphragm feels loose and free. Many other factors increase the risk of stitch.

These include being out of shape, fast running, starting too fast, rough, hard ground (which increases the jolting on your insides), cool days rather than warm ones and running downhill.

This is either because going downhill increases the jolting action, or because it forces the cecum (part of the large intestine) into contact with the abdominal wall.

For that reason, exhaling only when your left foot hits the ground should be especially important on downhill slopes. Why the left one?

The answer lies in the location of our internal organs: two-thirds of stitches affect the right side of the abdomen - where the liver is. As the heaviest organ in the abdominal cavity, it creates a greater downward force on the diaphragm than the left-hand organs.

Camels are notorious for inducing stitches and do not respond to disembarkation requests. Nor do their owners until your hand goes to your pocket.

But it does if the bounce occurs as your diaphragm is moving up as you are breathing out.

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