While breathing is an essential involuntary action, it is subject to change by stress, emotions, posture, excessive sitting and talking, lifestyle choices and environmental factors.
Proper diaphragm breathing ideally creates a three dimensional expansion of the abdomen with lateral movements of the lower ribs. This synchronisation allows for ideal ventilation of the lungs and oxygen delivery to the body.
Functional breathing involves breathing in and out through the nose. Breathing should be regular and effortless, with the primary movement from the diaphragm. Poor breathing is generally shallow upper chest breathing, often though the mouth.
Symptoms of poor breathing:
-Inability to take a satisfying breath or a feeling of not getting enough air
-Breathlessness during rest or low-intensity physical activity
-Frequent yawning or sighing 🤭
Take a deep breath….or don’t!!
When things are stressful, we’re often told to “take a deep breath”. The normal reaction is to take a big gulp of air into the upper chest – this is exactly the wrong thing to do! This leads to over-breathing and perpetuates hyperventilation.
Hyperventilation basically means that more air is taken into the lungs than is needed. This causes a loss of carbon dioxide (CO2), affecting the blood chemistry and decreases the oxygen available for the body. This can cause dizziness and sometimes fainting.
Give the ‘Control Pause Test’ a go!
By working to increase your control pause, you will gradually improve your sensitivity to blood CO2, which will have a positive impact on your breathing and give you a greater resilience to stress!
Treatment for breathing dysfunctions often requires a multi-dimensional approach. In addition to breathing training, Osteopaths may help by relaxing breathing muscles and improving mobility of the rib cage, which will improve breathing function 🙌
Visit the team to further discuss how Osteopathy can assist your breathing and overall health! 😊