Box Breathing: A Proven Navy SEALs Stress Reduction Technique for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients


Jun 9, 2023

Box Breathing: A Proven Navy SEALs Stress Reduction Technique for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

Box Breathing: A Stress Reduction Technique for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

In my last startup, I worked with law enforcement agencies and one of the techniques they used to reduce stress is called "Box Breathing" which was developed by the Navy Seals. As I've been working with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, I see many under a tremendous amount of stress along with all the health issues they encounter. I'm presenting this technique in hopes that it can provide relief for those under extreme anxiety.

What is Box Breathing?

Box Breathing, also known as 'square breathing' or 'four-square breathing,' is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique that aims to return breathing to its normal rhythm. This technique involves taking slow, deep breaths, holding the breath, and then exhaling slowly, each for the count of four.

This method is particularly favored by Navy SEALs, known for their resilience and mental toughness in high-stress situations. It helps them keep calm, focused, and maintain control over their physiological responses when they're in the heat of combat or other demanding scenarios.

Box Breathing and Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease often incurs significant stress on the patients due to the constant management it requires, including medication, dietary changes, and frequent doctor visits. Moreover, the apprehension about the future can induce anxiety and negatively impact their overall quality of life.

Box Breathing can serve as a handy tool in the CKD patients' arsenal, allowing them to regain control over their stress and anxiety. It helps by lowering the heart rate, promoting feelings of calm, increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain, reducing muscle tension, and promoting improved concentration and decision-making skills.

How to Practice Box Breathing

Here is a simple guide on how to practice box breathing:

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down.
  2. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then exhale completely.
  3. Once you've exhaled, start the box breathing process:
  4. Inhale for a count of four.
  5. Hold the breath for a count of four.
  6. Exhale slowly for a count of four.
  7. Hold your lungs empty for a count of four.

Repeat the process for a few minutes, or until you start to feel calmer and more centered.

You can follow along with this video developed by CHI Health to try the Box Breathing Technique.

Safety Considerations

Before starting box breathing or any other relaxation technique, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider. This is especially critical for CKD patients, who often have comorbid conditions such as hypertension or heart disease. The provider can guide you on how to safely incorporate box breathing into your routine and provide personalized advice based on your health status.


Life with Chronic Kidney Disease can often feel overwhelming, but methods like box breathing offer a ray of hope. By taking a few minutes each day to practice this simple technique, CKD patients can alleviate stress, improve focus, and gain a greater sense of control over their lives – just like the Navy SEALs.

Remember, while box breathing can be beneficial, it's not a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult with your healthcare provider for comprehensive care and guidance.

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Treatment Options for Chronic Kidney Disease


Why Do Navy SEALs Use Box Breathing?

About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

Patient Education Disclaimer

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.

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