After years of shallow breathing, the diaphragm can become tight and pushed up into the rib cage. Deep breathing and rubbing the diaphragm with the fingers of both hands can bring it out of the rib cage and into a relaxed position.
Stress can also causes knots and tightness in the abdomen. When the abdomen is tight, the lungs can’t fully expand. Abdominal massage can relieve this tightness, not only in the abdomen, but also in the diaphragm because it has space to move.
To release knots in the abdomen, find tightness with your finger tips and massage in a circular motion in both directions until the tension eases. It may take many sessions, as this stress may have been present for many years.
Finally, tight muscles in the chest can hold the lungs in a confined space. Relaxation allows energy to flow and the organs to expand and contract with a proper range of motion. When the body is relaxed, the mind and intention can more easily direct healing energy around the organs, tendons, etc.