The 4-7-8 breath was introduced originally by Dr. Andrew Weil who was really considered the grandfather of integrative medicine and as a pulmonologist who’s also a current University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship fellow, I’m so honored to be able to guide you in this practice. The 4-7-8 breath can be used for situations where you’re feeling particularly anxious, stressed, and even if you have some difficulty falling asleep.
The 4-7-8 breath stands for the following. You inhale for a count of four, then you hold your breath for a count of seven, and then you exhale through your mouth through pursed lips for a count of eight. The durations of these breaths aren’t as important as the ratio of the inhalation breath, breath-hold, and particularly the exhalation breath. The exhalation breath, you’ll notice, is twice as long as the inhalation breath. This allows for the lungs to completely empty of stagnant air, and oftentimes people who have chronic lung disease, particularly those with obstructive lung disease, have a tendency to air trap. This 4-7-8 breath offers the opportunity to completely exhale.