Meditation and Breathing

Dennis K. Chernin, M.D., M.P.H
2345 S. Huron Parkway
Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

Dennis K. Chernin, M.D., M.P.H. offers patients and students individualized instruction on meditation, visualization, and breathing techniques. He teaches these approaches as an important part of treatment for various physical illnesses such as asthma, digestive disorders, headaches, and hypertension. They are also a vital adjunct in treating mental and emotional health concerns related to attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, and phobias. Dr. Chernin uses these techniques to improve concentration and memory. He also helps people to begin a meditation program or to refine an already existing practice.

Dr. Chernin has actively practiced and taught meditation and breathing techniques for thirty years. His teachers were trained in the Himalayan Mountains in India, Nepal, and Tibet. He graduated from Northwestern University with a major in cultural anthropology and was elected a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He received both his M.D. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. He did residencies in psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin and in preventive medicine at the University of Michigan and is board certified in public health and preventive medicine. Dr. Chernin practices holistic and family medicine and serves as the medical director of two county health departments. His most recent publication on meditation is How to Meditate Using Chakras, Mantras, and Breath. His other books include Health: A Holistic Approach and Homeopathic Remedies. He also has written an award winning interactive CD ROM called Homeopathic Resource.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are useful to help treat physical illnesses such as asthma, digestive disorders, and thyroid problems. Learning to control the breath is also a key to controlling and balancing the body, emotions, and mind. This is possible because there are direct nerve connections from the nose and lungs to the brain with important relays to the nervous and endocrine (hormone) systems. Breath is also considered to be the link between the conscious and unconscious mind. Breathing is the only physiologic function that can be either voluntarily controlled by the mind or can be involuntarily and automatically run by the body. In the conscious act of doing certain types of breathing exercises, a person gains greater awareness and control of involuntary physical functions and the unconscious mind.

Disruptions in concentration are often associated with pauses and hesitations in respiration. Practicing simple techniques to regulate breathing rhythms brings about greater clarity and continuity of thought. Emotional states are often accompanied by altered breathing patterns. Examples of such alterations are the sobbing of grief, the sighs of disappointments, the trembling breath of anger. Breathing exercises can help regulate these altered patterns of breathing, which has the effect of bringing greater calm and control of emotions. Another very important function of breathing exercises is to quiet the mind to deepen meditation.

Examples of breathing exercises and their benefits are:
1. The complete breath helps asthma, recurrent bronchial problems,and digestion.
2. Alternative nostril breathing helps anxiety, obsessive thought problems, and depression.
3. Diaphragmatic breathing helps high blood pressure and depression.
4. The bee breath helps thyroid conditions and sinus problems.
5. The bellows breath helps both allergic problems and constipation.
6. The hissing breath helps to cool the body.


Meditation helps to quiet the mind and bring greater clarity to the thinking process. These practices train the mind to concentrate on a single object such as the breath, energy center (chakra), sound (mantra), or visual image (yantra). The normally scattered mind becomes more proficient and focused. These techniques can help us observe and experience emotions arising from the unconscious while at the same time we learn to let go of disturbing aspects of these feelings. We learn to be fully present with our thoughts and emotions and to observe ourselves without judgment. This has the effect of decreasing fear, anxiety, and obsessive thinking. Meditation can help a person live in the here and now, to enjoy life more fully, and to stop dwelling on past experiences or on future worries. These techniques and practices can also help us have the courage and patience to face the losses, illness, and pain that may occur in our lifetime.

Meditation can help us experience the inner connections of humans to other people, our environment, and to the universe around us. This often results in greater feelings of compassion, unity, and oneness. Meditation also helps us develop intuition and how to get in touch with our inner creative potential.

Sessions and Fees

Length of sessions: 45 minutes

Recommended number of sessions: at least 4

Cost: $100 per session