The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Instant Relaxation and Back Pain Relief

The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique: Instant Relaxation and Back Pain Relief


The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a quick way to relax and get rid of back pain. It helps lower stress, sleep better, and focus more. You take a breath in for 4 seconds, hold it for 7, and exhale for 8. This exercise is from the yogic tradition and you can do it anywhere.

Let’s look at how it works and the advantages:

What is the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath” or “the relaxator,” is a way to reduce stress. Developed by Dr. Andrew Weil from Harvard Medical School, this deep breathing promotes relaxation. It helps you slow down, so you can respond calmly instead of reacting from stress or fear.

The 4-7-8 technique is based on an ancient yogic practice called pranayama. This controls the breath in order to release the nervous system from stuck patterns. It quickly returns your mind and body to homeostasis. Plus, it only takes four minutes, if done correctly!

These are the four steps:

  1. Exhale completely through your mouth.
  2. Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of four seconds.
  3. Hold your breath for seven seconds (or comfortable).
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth for eight seconds (till all air is out).

Repeat for three or four cycles (or 8 if desired). Enjoy your relaxed state!


The 4-7-8 breathing technique, otherwise known as the Relaxing breath, is a powerful breath exercise. It brings instant relaxation and can help with back pain, stress, and insomnia. It can be done anywhere and is used worldwide.

Let’s look at the benefits of this breathing technique! It can help soothe stress, ease back pain, and even assist with insomnia. Plus, it’s super simple and can be done anywhere. It’s no wonder that people across the globe utilize this technique!


The 4-7-8 breathing technique is an ancient yogic practice which can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase relaxation. It can be used to manage back pain.

When stressed or in pain, our breath is usually shallow and quick, causing physical tension. This technique invites us to breathe deeply and evenly into the belly. This relaxes the abdominal muscles.

The technique consists of:

  • 4 seconds of inhalation
  • 7 seconds of holding the breath
  • 8 seconds of exhaling through the mouth.

Do as many rounds as you feel comfortable with (begin with 4).

Inhale and expect a calming sensation as the diaphragm relaxes. As you exhale, feel the release of tension in the mind and body.

Within 5 minutes, your pulse rate will lower, cortisol (stress hormone) will decrease and endorphins will be released in the brain/body.

With regular practice, improved concentration and creativity, better sleep quality, increased energy, and deeper self-awareness are expected. Let the breath lead you in sensing discomfort and transform it. Authentic presence and clarity will flow in its place.

Improved Sleep

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is proven to improve sleep quality. It may take 3 minutes each time, but it’s worth the effort! Practicing it regularly can help relax the mind and body, even in stressful times. Oxygen will flow through your body, reducing stress and fatigue. Your heart rate will slow, and energy levels will rise. You’ll feel calmer, leading to better sleep.

This can also help with insomnia caused by chronic pain in the back or neck. Try it daily for the best results!

Reduced Anxiety

Dr. Andrew Weil created the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s a fast, easy way to reduce anxiousness in minutes. Inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, then exhale for eight seconds.

This type of slow, rhythmic breathing lowers the heart rate and oxygen flow throughout your body. It’s like a sedative for your mind and body. It reduces tension and stress. Studies show it improves mood and decreases physical pain, such as headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia symptoms, insomnia, PMS symptoms and exhaustion.

The 4-7-8 technique also affects the autonomic nervous system. It controls respiration rate and heart rate variability. During times of fear or panic, this breath work reinforces mental control over breathing. It centers us and relaxes us mentally and physically. We feel calmer than before we started.

Back Pain Relief

Many suffer from back pain, especially lower back pain. Even when you exercise, stay active, and have good posture, that pain can come back. Fortunately, the 4-7-8 breathing technique can help reduce it. Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained Internal Medicine doctor and author of health and wellness books, developed the technique to relax your mind and body and relieve pain.

By practicing the 4-7-8 breathing technique each day you can release muscle tension and improve blood flow. This helps relieve your pain without taking over the counter medicines or prescription drugs. It’s a natural approach that’s simple yet effective.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique consists of four steps:

  1. Inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
  4. Repeat three times (or more if you feel comfortable).

This helps relax your muscles and release tightness in your neck and shoulders, easing back tension and discomfort. Studies found that people who practiced this method had less physical discomfort quicker than those who took medicine or did nothing. Plus, there are no side effects like opioids or ibuprofen-based drugs. Try it today!

How to Perform the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a way to reduce stress. It’s been made famous by Dr. Andrew Weil. So, how does it work? We’ll explain that, as well as what affects its effectiveness and the possible advantages. Get ready for some instant relaxation and back pain relief!

Step 1: Position Yourself Comfortably

Position yourself comfortably. Sitting or standing, with a tall spine and relaxed shoulders. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Ensure your spine is straight. If uncomfortable, adjust until you have a posture that’s relaxed but slightly lifted. Focus on your diaphragm expanding with each breath. Not from the chest, but from the abdomen.

Now you’re ready for the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

Step 2: Place Your Tongue on the Roof of Your Mouth

When exhaling, make a “whooshing” sound. Part your lips, curl your tongue into a rounded shape, and press it against the roof of your mouth. This may feel strange at first, but with practice you’ll get used to it. For an extra challenge, try to smile while doing this.

As you inhale and exhale, release any tension from your body. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You should feel relaxed afterwards. If you start to feel tense or out of breath, slow down or take fewer breaths. Pay attention to your body and focus on proper breathing. It’s not about speed, but about correctly doing the exercise.

Step 3: Breathe In Through Your Nose

Step 3 of the 4-7-8 technique: Inhale deeply through your nose for four counts. Keep mouth closed. Focus on relaxing your breathing. Draw air into the deepest parts of your lungs. Feel your stomach expand. Notice any tension around your body releasing.

Exhale slowly out of your mouth at a pace of eight counts. Repeat this step three more times. End with ten breaths.

Step 4: Hold Your Breath

In step 3, exhale through your mouth. Then, hold for four counts. Relaxation starts here. Inhale gently and naturally. Hold your breath with purpose; focus on relaxing every part of your body. Start with your toes, move up to your head. Keep your body relaxed. Use this part of the exercise to create calming energy in your mind and body.

Step 5: Exhale Through Your Mouth

Once the 4-7-8 breath is done, exhale through your mouth. Forcefully exhale, like when you blow out a candle. Empty your lungs fully, this will help relax your diaphragm and stomach muscles.

Focus on each body part. Visualize calming any tightness or tension. Doing this will bring more relaxation and reduce anxiety.

Step 6: Repeat

Once you have finished the 4-7-8 breathing technique, keep repeating it until you reach the desired relaxation. It may help to say calming affirmations while doing this, like: “My body relaxes more with each breath” or “I am able to let go of my worries and stress.”

Most people find that after a few minutes of 4-7-8, they feel much more relaxed. But it depends on how stressed your body was at first. Stop when you feel relaxed enough. There is no need to do a fixed number of cycles.

Also, this technique is good for quick relief during stress or anxiety. But, you can get greater benefits if you practice 4-7-8 breathing once a day for a long period of time.


To wrap up, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is basic yet mighty in terms of diminishing stress and unease. Moreover, it can likewise help to assuage back pain and upgrade rest.

If you’re feeling anxious or in need of some rest, attempt this strategy! You may locate that it encourages you to move your concentration and viewpoint.

The Benefits of Practicing the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique has many perks. It’s known to reduce stress, and improve sleep quality. It slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases cortisol levels. It stimulates the vagus nerve which controls relaxation, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system.

Aside from stress relief and better sleep, it’s useful for those with chronic pain. Diaphragmatic breathing sends oxygen to the lower back muscles, and increases blood flow. This helps heal damaged tissue, and loosens muscles. Physical therapy becomes easier, leading to back pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

A: The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a simple breathing exercise that involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. This technique is believed to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Q: How does the 4-7-8 breathing technique help with back pain relief?

A: The 4-7-8 breathing technique can help with back pain relief by reducing stress and tension in the body. Stress and tension can contribute to back pain, so practicing this breathing technique can help alleviate some of the symptoms of back pain.

Q: How do I practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

A: To practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique, sit comfortably and place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle for 4 to 5 times.

Q: Can anyone practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

A: Generally, the 4-7-8 breathing technique is safe for most people to practice. However, if you have any respiratory conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure this technique is safe for you.

Q: When should I practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

A: The 4-7-8 breathing technique can be practiced at any time of day, but it’s particularly helpful before bed or when you’re feeling stressed or anxious. It can also be helpful to practice this technique as part of a daily relaxation or meditation practice.

Q: How long does it take to see results from the 4-7-8 breathing technique?

A: For some people, the effects of the 4-7-8 breathing technique can be felt immediately. For others, it may take several weeks of consistent practice to see results. Like any relaxation technique, regular and consistent practice is key to experiencing the full benefits.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

Related Articles