Breathe away your headache: breathing exercises for headache relief

Written by: Stefanie Broes



Time to read 2 min

Breathe away your headache: breathing exercises for headache relieffeatured image

Did you know that headaches or migraines can be alleviated by simple breathing exercises? Headaches can be triggered by stress, tension, high blood pressure, or a lack of oxygen. Research shows that breathing exercises can help deal with the underlying problem, especially with headaches caused by high blood pressure. All you need is a quiet space with no distractions. There are several ways in which slow breathing exercises can help with headaches:

  • They activate the parasympathetic nervous system, a system in the body that decreases the heart rate,dilates blood vessels, and thus reduces your blood pressure. As your breathing slows down, you relax, which causes your body to slow down.
  • They help relieve tension in your shoulders, neck and head. You relax your muscles and relieve built-up tension.
  • They increase the amount of oxygen reaching your brain. This can reduce the pain of your headache or migraine.

There are several breathing exercises that you can easily try yourself to relieve or prevent a headache:

  • Slow breathing: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for several minutes, focusing on the sensation of the air as it flows in and out of your body.
  • Alternate nostril breathing: Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through your left nostril. Then, close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this for several minutes, focusing on your breath and the sensation of alternating between your nostrils.
  • Belly breathing: Lie down on your back and place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly. Focus on breathing deeply into your belly, allowing your belly to rise and fall with each breath.


When you find it difficult to exhale for more than 4 or 5 seconds, we recommend that you stop trying to force long exhales, especially while doing breathing exercises to relax. It will be much more relaxing to end the exhalation naturally, even if it’s a few seconds early.


To help you, we created moonbird, a physical, handheld breathing guide. Moonbird expands and contracts in your hand. Simply follow its rhythm with your breathing and you'll be more relaxed in just a few minutes. We also provide real-time biofeedback via the moonbird app so you can see the impact of the exercises on your body.

By combining the intuitive breathing guidance with the biofeedback, moonbird helps you to connect your mind and body and calm down, or fall asleep fast. Whenever, wherever.

Try moonbird for 30 days risk-free, with no obligation. You only pay when you decide to keep your moonbird. The most important thing for us is that moonbird really works for you.

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