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Knowing where to get medical care is important, especially for sudden injuries or illnesses. For health concerns, Peter Fletcher, MD, Washington University emergency medicine physician and interim medical director of emergency medicine at MoBap, advises contacting your primary care provider first unless it’s an emergency.

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Stroke Support Group

Whether you are a stroke survivor or taking care of a loved one, we invite you to join our support group community. Stroke Coordinators from Missouri Baptist Medical Center will encourage the sharing of personal experiences and connect with others as part of the recovery.

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Cathy and Paul Benefit from Early Screening

As former smokers, Cathy and Paul both experienced the benefits of Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s (MoBap) early lung cancer screening program. 

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Mark Finds A New Path to Healing

After years of living with diabetes, Mark had developed a grade 3 non-healing wound on the bottom of his foot that kept him from standing or walking without pain. The diligent support of the Wound Healing Center team coupled with the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Mark would find a new path to healing.

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Mitral Valve Replacement

When Tina needed a new mitral valve, she benefited from BJC HealthCare’s collaborative approach to care that connected her with a multidisciplinary team of heart specialists. Her journey included seamless coordination between medical teams at two BJC HealthCare facilities: Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MoBap).

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Mastering the Art of Proper Breathing
James W

Mastering the Art of Proper Breathing

How to Reduce Stress and Pain through Breath

When experiencing stress reactions or pain, relaxation is essential for helping your body cope.

“Proper, deep breathing is perhaps the easiest and most important first step to help your body relax,” said Ted Gallup, Missouri Baptist Medical Center physical therapist. To help manage their pain and reduce stress, Ted has integrated deep breathing technique into his patients’ recovery plans and also recommends the technique to people of all ages for relaxation.

“Belly, or diaphragmatic, breathing is the proper deep-breathing technique that involves the diaphragm, the umbrella-shaped muscle between the chest and abdomen,” Ted described.

Many times when people are in pain or feel stress, they don’t know that their breathing patterns change. They often hold their breath for short periods or take quick, shallow breaths from the chest rather than from the diaphragm. Shallow breathing can trigger increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, muscle tension, and the release of stress hormones into the bloodstream.

“This is the fight-or-flight response that is the body’s way of protecting itself and usually passes once the stress is over,” Ted said. He explained that when people experience pain and stress for long periods, their bodies work in overdrive, leaving them vulnerable to chronic conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease.

A Breathing Exercise to Try

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    With shoulders relaxed, stand or sit up straight or lie on your back. For comfort, place a bolster, or pillow, under the knees when lying on your back.
  2. Image
    Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. When sitting or standing, place both hands on your stomach. Close your eyes and imagine being at a favorite, peaceful place.
  3. Image
    Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose to the count of four or five, focusing on the air entering the nostrils. Make sure that the hand on your stomach– not on your chest – rises when you inhale.
  4. Image
    Breathe out through your nose to the count of four or five to fully empty your lungs. During this step, visualize pushing your belly button to your spine.

Repeat six times as needed or until you feel relaxed.

While this short exercise can be practiced most places whenever necessary, Ted also recommends integrating longer breathing sessions upon waking and before sleeping.

“This breathing technique is useful for relaxation in the morning to prepare for the day and at night when unwinding for bed,” he said. “Gradually increase the exercise time to five to ten minutes during these periods to get the best benefit.”

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