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Woman is practicing breathing exercises while a glowing pain orb in her abdomen is featured at the center.

Breathing through The Pain

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis. Most women suffering from endometriosis experience pain during their period, but a significant amount of women experience chronic pain. We all deal with pain differently, but there is one meditation-style technique that I find very effective and would like to share with you.

Don’t fight it

The natural impulse when experience debilitating pain is to try and fight it. Our bodies are designed to reject pain, and rightly so: Pain is usually a way of our bodies to tell us something is wrong. So when our bad period cramps start up, we tense up and wish for the pain to go away. Sometimes, we already tense up when we can feel the cramps coming on, but this only makes the cramps worse. Instead of fighting the pain, it is much better to lean into it.

Acknowledge the pain

When I feel myself tensing ahead of – or in the middle of – an attack of severe pain, I can generally get on top of the pain by acknowledging it. I have tried techniques where I focus on something else, “take my mind off the pain”, or try and relax (which is quite vague in itself), but they never work. However, when I acknowledge the pain, draw in on myself, and focus on where the pain originates, I can start getting a handle on it. I know this sounds very vague, but you can’t deal with something if you ignore it.

Breathe into it

Now, for the more vague part. Once you have acknowledged your pain, you can use your breathing to alleviate it… Or at least to contain it. I find that once the cramps get too bad, my whole body hurts, not just my uterus. But if I use my breath, direct it at the place of pain which I acknowledged, I can contain the pain. I visualize the pain as a ball and each time I breathe out I make the ball a little bit smaller. I can never get it to go away, but I can contain it long enough for the pain medication to do its work.

Manage the pain

This technique is very effective, but it’s only a way to manage the pain. I’m sure that some people are really good at this, and can use this technique to deal with the pain while going about their business, but I have never been able to do that. I can only do this if I am not distracted and if I can focus solely on my breathing and the ball of pain in my body. It’s a survival technique I mostly use when the cramps come up suddenly and I am out and about, especially if I can find a quiet place where I can focus. It’s a short term solution until I can get to my pain medication.

The above technique is not dissimilar from what they teach us to do when we’re in labor. Breath can be a powerful instrument.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.