I have been exploring what benzos do from an ENERGETIC perspective to the body and mind. It seems that benzos activate an upward movement of energy, which is why the mind starts to race, breathing becomes difficult, the throat can feel closed, and so forth.
Breathing issues could be from various things:
1) Inflamed GI (gastro-intestinal) tract. It becomes imbalanced with meds or changes to meds...withdrawal...and also when Serotonin levels are affected, which adversely affects the gut. I suggest smaller meals, eating a few hours apart. With an inflamed GI, this can make breathing more difficult, especially diaphragmatic breathing, which is the proper way to breathe.
Breathing Exercise: A good yogic breathing exercise that helps is to breath in with the diaphragm...not chest breathing. While breathing in, allow your diaphragm to first lower, then the belly to extend outward...with a total count of 6. Pause/hold for 3. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 6. Pause/hold for 3 counts. Repeat. When you do this cycle, just follow into a natural rhythm that is nice and easy, without forcing the breath.
With proper breathing, the chest should not move at all. Babies breathe naturally this way, and you do as well when lying down flat on your back. You can check out proper breathing by lying down, placing one hand on the chest, and the other hand on the abdomen. The abdomen should rise and fall with the breath, but the chest should really not move much.
The above exercise is fantastic to do if you wake up early in bed, but you want to stay there for a while longer. Just lie in bed...eyes closed...and breathe, and I find that combining with the tapping below really helps.
Practice proper breathing throughout the day...every day...for the rest of your life! Simply be mindful of how you breathe throughout the day. You will be happier and more peaceful.
2) Certain Herbal Teas: There is a rush of energy that moves up the body caused from benzos that can result in tightening of the throat area. I find that calming teas (e.g., chamomile) are helpful. And practice proper breathing.
3) Grounding Exercise: Practice focusing on the feet...and keeping the feet flat on the ground. Visualize the energy moving down the body through the feet, and into the earth. This helps bring the excess buildup of energy in the upper part of the body downward.
Most people sit without their feet on the ground. Or their toes are touching without the rest of their feet touching the ground. In eastern medicine and acupuncture, the toes on the body are mapped and related to the upper parts of the body, including the head, shoulders, sinuses, etc. When the toes are touching the ground, it activates the upper part of the body. If you place your feet flat on the ground, even for a few minutes, you'll probably find that you will be calmer. If you add the visualization piece, it will be even more powerful for you.
4) Tapping Exercise: This is helpful to do in combination with breathing, and fantastic for CALMING ANXIETY! Tapping is part of the field of EMDR research/technology, which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Essentially, it balances the brain hemispheres and helps neutalize negative emotions while producing a calming effect. When I have worked with a therapist in the past, we used small buzzers in each hand; tapping does basically the same thing.
You can tap with two different ways: In sitting up, you can cross your arms, placing your hands outside the body. This allows you to slowly alternate tapping each arm with the opposite hand. You can also criss-cross the arms on the lap, so that the right hand is tapping the left thigh, and vice versa. The lap tapping is good when sitting or lying down. You can gently tap the arm or leg with one or more fingers.
Start tapping slowly and gently, alternating each hand, and breathing deeply from the diaphragm. If you do this for at least a few minutes, it will produce a calming effect to the body, and help balance the body energetically.
5) Peppermint Oil is good for calming and opening up for better breathing. You can use pure essential peppermint oil, placing a couple of drops in your palms and rubbing them together, then inhaling deeply the scent a few times with your hands cupped close to your face. You can also rub a drop or two on the bottoms of your feet. Also, chamomile oil is calming and grounding.
6) Eliminate Sugars: Be sure to eliminate or reduce sugars from your diet. This is key. Read product labels. Probably most Americans are suffering unknowingly from Candida, which is a yeast overgrowth in the GI tract. Sugars can be a root cause to candida imbalance. Candida overgrowth has been known to produce anxiety, headaches, body aches and pains, among other things. Check with your doctor, or do the research on this. I'm a proponent for eating fewer processed foods, and putting more whole foods in the diet. Probiotics will also help bring the GI tract back into balance.
Candida overgrowth also creates an inflamed GI tract, making more difficult.
Another theory from a number of doctors is that sugars are the real cause of higher blood cholesterol, but this is a whole other subject.
7) Avoid Spicy Foods: Often, we hear that spicy foods really open up the sinuses, and so forth. But what they really do is produce histamine, which creates congestion afterwards. Spicy foods can also bring on panic attacks by creating "heat waves", which can trigger an anxiety attack. A blander diet is really better while you are healing, in my opinion.
Hope these tips help you! May you be healed in your mind, body, and soul. Blessings to you of peace and calm.