Dr Andrew Weil (above) is a pioneer of fusing western medical science with ancient traditions of mindfulness and meditation. In this video, he explains and demonstrates "The Relaxing Breath", which has its roots in pranayama, a type of breathing used by yoga practitioners.
So what is the 4-7-8 breath? The gist is this: Place your tongue against your top teeth and the roof of your mouth. Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 and breath out through your mouth for 8, making a whooshing noise. This is 1 cycle, Don't do more than 4 breath cycles when you're trying this out for the first time as changing the way you breathe (by breathing more deeply) can make you dizzy. Dr Weil stresses that it is important to make it into a habit, so do 4 breath cycles twice a day for a month.
Holding your breath in this sequence allows oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect in the body and is “a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system,” according to Dr Weil.
And the possibilities are endless. If you do it religiously for 2 months. it will start lowering your heart rate and blood pressure even while you are not doing the breathing technique. Dr Weil says you can also use it in emotional situations or during cravings for food or nicotine. He said: "Once you finish 4 cycles, the craving will have passed."
Some internet users found this breathing technique helped them to falls asleep in under 60 seconds, while others found it has helped with dealing with anxiety.
After a few months, once you've got the hang of it, you can increase it to 8 breath cycles.