Breathing Exercises For Hyperhidrosis and Anxious Sweating
Debbie Hampton, author of Beat Depression and Anxiety by Changing Your Brain, has tried to explain the scientific basis of the relationship between anxiety and sweating.
According to her, “Anxiety can absolutely cause sweating. When anxiety strikes, a fear signal zips to an ancient part of your brain, causing the instinctual freezing or jumping out of your skin behavior, and speeds on to the hypothalamus, which controls your autonomic nervous system. That’s the system that produces the classic bodily fear responses—thumping heart, skyrocketing blood pressure, sweating, and rapid breathing.”
But sweating and excessive sweating are not exactly the same. However, it is clear that breathing exercises for hyperhidrosis are suitable for anxious sweating, whether moderate or extreme.
Hyperhidrosis and Anxiety
There seems to be a cyclical relationship between hyperhidrosis and anxiety: the more an individual sweats, the more nervous, self-conscious, and stressed out they become, leading that individual to begin sweating even more.
This cycle is particularly evident in some forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD), in which hyperhidrosis is one of the primary symptoms, along with others, such as clammy hands, blushing, headaches, trembling, and more. Several studies of patients with social anxiety disorder indicate that 25% to 32% of patients exhibit symptoms of hyperhidrosis. However, there is no evidence that SAD causes hyperhidrosis.
In theory, there is a likelihood for people with hyperhidrosis to potentially develop certain types of anxiety, for example, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Like SAD, GAD also does not cause hyperhidrosis, although it can develop over time in hyperhidrosis patients who constantly worry about excessive sweating.
In yet another study conducted by Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, a Board-certified dermatologist, it was found that a connection exists between excessive sweating and mental health conditions. Her findings, which were presented at the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Washington, show that people with hyperhidrosis have a greater likelihood than the general population to suffer mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder, no matter their gender or age.
In summary, one can safely assume that anxiety can cause sweating [not excessive sweating] but knowing that you sweat a lot can also cause anxiety.
Managing Hyperhidrosis and Anxious Sweating With Breathing Exercises for Hyperhidrosis
Have you tried holding your breath for a few seconds? What was the experience like? Breathing is an essential human activity. It is what keeps us alive. But improper breathing can negatively impact the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange and subsequently contribute to anxiety, fatigue, panic attacks, and other emotional and physical conditions.
There are a wide variety of breathing exercises for hyperhidrosis you can try out whenever you’re feeling anxious. Here are a few of them:
Yogic Breathing (pranayama)
Yoga is a prevalent ancient wellness practice that is very much alive today. Conceptually, breathing is an essential aspect of every type of yoga. This hyperhidrosis breathing exercise is considered a “pranayama type,” which has several breathing variations capable of relieving anxiety. Among the pranayama, variations include lion’s breath, long exhale, alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana), and equal breathing.
Though a distinct exercise, deep breathing (also known as belly breathing) is often a component of all breathing techniques. For best results, it’s essential to learn how to draw deep breaths into your diaphragm, as this practice engages the diaphragm, abdomen, and stomach with each breath.
As you inhale, your belly fills, and as you exhale, it goes in. Each deep breath effectively fills your lungs with oxygen. This hyperhidrosis breathing exercise has benefits that include a lower heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and relief from anxiety and stress.
As noted above, the lion’s breath is a variation of the pranayama yoga practice. It is a simple yet calming breathing exercise. Use the following steps to practice lion’s breath:
● Sit upright in a comfortable position, and place your hands on your knees.
● Inhale deeply through your nose
● Exhale powerfully from your mouth so your breath creates a breezy sound. When you exhale, stick out your tongue as far downward as possible without tilting your head.
Repeat 4 to 6 times.
Square breathing is a breathing exercise that is made up of four steps, each of which should last for four seconds. Like Lion’s breath, square breathing is based mainly on inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. The steps are highlighted below:
● Inhale for 4 seconds to fill your diaphragm with oxygen
● Hold your breath for 4 seconds
● Exhale for 4 seconds to empty your lungs
● Rest for 4 seconds
● Repeat the exercise until you are calm.
Often practiced to aid sleep, 4-7-8 breathing can be a great way to relax. Practically, it also has a pattern of timed breaths, just like square breathing. The steps are as follows:
● Inhale fully into your belly for 4 seconds
● Hold your breath for 7 seconds
● Exhale for 8 seconds to fully empty your lungs
Repeat the hyperhidrosis breathing exercise according to your discretion until you feel satisfied. You can revert to your normal breathing (in-between 4-7-8 breaths) if it becomes uncomfortable.
Get Comprehensive Assistance for Your Hyperhidrosis
There is no question that anxiety, sweating, and excessive sweating are connected. Irrespective of the direction of causality between anxiety and hyperhidrosis, it is always recommended that people whose hyperhidrosis manifests signs of anxiety or depression seek the attention of mental health experts in addition to treating their hyperhidrosis to further boost their quality of life. Breathing exercises for hyperhidrosis are good but not substitutes for expert medical care.
There’s no better place to get quality treatment than the Center for Hyperhidrosis (CHH) at Columbia University. Established in the early 1990s, the Center has since become a leader in the field of hyperhidrosis, with thousands of patients receiving treatments over the years. At the Center for Hyperhidrosis, you’ll get the following array of treatment options:
● Medical therapy
● Hyperhidrosis medications (such as anticholinergics, beta-blockers, and anxiolytics)
● Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) surgery
Call 212-342-1354 now or visit the CHH website for more information on accessing Dr. Lyall Gorenstein and other hyperhidrosis experts at the Center for Hyperhidrosis today!