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Circulatory problems such as hemorrhoids are often a result of improper breathing. According to Ludwig Hofbauer, author of The Pathology and Therapy of Breathing (Springer, 1921), the act of breathing has a direct effect on the blood vessels. Specifically, as we inhale, the veins of the lower body inflate and the veins of the upper body deflate. Conversely, as we exhale, the veins of the upper body inflate, and those of the lower body deflate. If the breathing is too short and/or shallow, however, this natural expansion and contraction of the blood vessels is impeded and the blood cannot flow back from the veins toward the heart. Hemorrhoids-accumulations of blood in the veins of the rectum-may be the result.

In addition, shallow breathing does not properly activate the abdominal muscles, which support the spine. As a result, the curve in the spine at the small of the back deepens and the edges of the upper pelvis tilt forward, and so do the contents of the abdomen. Often, all these problems can ultimately be traced to emotional causes; when you are fatigued, angry, excited, afraid, or depressed, proper breathing is the first thing that suffers.

Doing the Prolonged “Shh” among other exercise helps to flatten the spine, enables the lower sphincter to contract and relax, and helps the blood in the veins to low back as it should. The shrinking of hemorrhoids occurs very slowly, however, so it is usually necessary to keep doing this exercise for a long period of time to achieve results.

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