Jeff Angileri
Feb 25, 2009, 9:49 PM

Labyrinths have been making a resurgence in the last decade as a way to heal and stay healthy. They are being built in hospitals, churches, parks, and other places because of their medical benefits.

A labyrinth is not like a maze. There is just one path that leads to and from the center. And there's no right or wrong way to walk it. It does take some focus -- try to let go of any distracting thoughts.

As you're doing that, the breathing slows down -- slowing down the breathing is such an important part of healing, says integrative medicine specialist Karen Szczelaszczyk, at Dean Health System in Lake Delton.

Karen says most people take 15 to 20 breaths per minute. During the labyrinth walk, slowing inhales and exhales to just 10 breaths per minute can have major health benefits.

It helps us to breath more fully because most of us don't breath to a full capacity, so our bodies are starving for oxygen, she said.

Labyrinths come in many shapes in sizes. For a great mental relaxation exercise, try a miniature labyrinth -- one you can trace with your finger.