The Box Breathing Technique

Last updated: October 2022

Learning to control one’s breathing can be a critical step in a prostate cancer warrior’s war with pain. As I stated previously in articles, my cancer medical team equipped me with several strategies to handle pain that accompanies the affliction of cancer. It is my hope and intent to share a few of the most successful techniques with you.

Box breathing

One such technique is the box breathing technique. I know many of you will think, "I have been breathing all my life, why do I need help with breathing?" I kind of felt that way myself when I first heard of this particular strategy. However, the more I researched this method and utilized it, the more I saw the benefits.

The box breathing technique is not difficult and can be executed with ease, costing a person nothing. I, for one, love anything that helps me combat the pains of cancer without the use of medications or spending a lot of money. This technique offers both.

Step 1

Step one of this method is simple. Just breathe in counting to four very slowly. Do not rush yourself during this step. Relax while taking your time. You should concentrate on feeling the air enter your lungs. It is important to make a conscious effort while performing this particular step of the box breathing technique.

Step 2

Step two is to hold your breath for four full seconds while making sure to relax and not rush yourself. It's important to not only try to avoid inhaling for four full seconds, but critical to not exhale either. This is a calming activity.

Step 3

Step three is to slowly exhale through your mouth for four full seconds. Again, do not rush yourself during this exercise. At any point, do not rush the process, and just relax.

Step 4

And finally, step four. Step four is simply the act of repeating the prior steps 1 through 3 until you feel re-centered. Personally, I find this method extremely relaxing and satisfying. Again, I emphasize to make sure your count is slow and you are utilizing full seconds. Do not be in any kind of hurry while performing this strategy.

How it has helped me

This particular strategy has aided me over the course of my prostate cancer treatment plan. I feel it helps calm me at the peak of my pain and frustration. Just taking the time to focus on my breathing helps me center my feelings and emotions.

Trusting our doctors

It is my opinion that people should learn to trust their cancer doctors and at least attempt some of the pain management strategies they offer. I feel too many people in today’s society have this feeling of entitlement and believe they know more than their professional doctors just because they can look something up on the internet. I caution, finding something on the internet does not mean it is true, nor does it mean you understand what you have discovered at the level of a professionally-trained medical doctor.

I have went to great lengths to develop a mutual trust with my medical care team. I believe they must trust me to follow their advice and direction, while I trust in their expertise when it comes to the treatment of my affliction. It is my goal to share techniques and strategies that have worked for me personally. I encourage you to be brave and try new things that could possibly enhance your quality and quantity of life.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

More on this topic

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

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

What emotions have you experienced from your prostate cancer journey? (select all that apply)