Breathing is an automatic bodily function. Every day we do it up to 20,000 times without a thought, but most of us don't use the full potential of our breathing to feel energised and to keep in good health.
Please take a deep
breath! Did your stomach go in or out? This is a simple test to
see if you are breathing correctly.
If your stomach went out – good! If it went in – please read on.
Most people breathe only with the top part of the body, which means that they are not fully lowering the diaphragm and expanding the lungs and so are not making the full use of their lung capacity.
This kind of shallow breathing is how you breathe if you feel anxious or depressed, it can also induce stress and tension; these are contributory factors in many illnesses and diseases.
Limiting your breath to the chest not only reduces the potential intake of oxygen to the body but also the diaphragm remains tense leading to tightness around the aorta, the main blood vessel in the body. It can also lead to restricted movement around the large bowel, making both high blood pressure and constipation possible.
When you breathe incorrectly you overuse the accessory muscles of breathing, the muscles of the neck and shoulders (sterno-cleido-mastoid and trapezius muscles), which subsequently fatigue and tightens up, leading to pain and tiredness.
Breathing properly is particularly important in people with impaired breathing such as asthma and emphysema.
Poor breathing is usually connected with poor posture, physical stiffness, tense shoulders, a curved spine and a rigid pelvis, all of which disturb the natural balance of the body.
Therefore, when your breathing is out of balance the diaphragm, abdomen and pelvis are also out of balance.
With so many of us becoming more and more sedentary in our lifestyles, a common bad posture seen during sitting is the head forward, with rounded shoulders and a slightly cavedin chest. This posture stops the rib cage opening up and makes the mid back area tight and often painful.
The diaphragm is a large sheet of muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen.
When you breathe in your diaphragm contracts, dropping down until it is stopped by the contents of your abdomen. When the downward movement stops the diaphragm continues to contract and this causes the lower ribs to lift and expand. This increases the size of the thoracic cavity.
If your abdominal muscles are not very strong, the diaphragm cannot work properly. This will also limit your lung capacity.
• Limit the amount of time that you spend sitting
• Watch the posture of your upper back at all times
• Make sure that your abdominal muscles are fairly strong and have good tone.
• The most efficient way to breathe is by pushing through the abdomen, or the diaphragm, as gravity dictates, to encourage the air to go to the bottom of the lungs where the best blood supply is and oxygen exchange will occur most efficiently.
• Only through abdominal breathing can we access this deep breathing.
If you follow these points and breathe in this way, the diaphragm can move up and down efficiently, hence massaging the internal organs below and ensuring that there is good blood circulation.
When we explain how to breathe,
many of our chiropractic patients find it extraordinary that they
didn’t know how to breathe properly. Maybe you did to? After
all, breathing is something natural that shouldn’t have to be
taught, isn’t it?
The fact remains that most people breathe incorrectly and this can have a profound effect on how you feel.
Our patients are surprised that nobody has ever taught them how to breathe properly before and they are amazed at how much better it makes them feel to breathe correctly.
Well, now all you need is to
make the change and practice what you have learnt. In order to
help you do that we have prepared an information sheet for you.
You can download our free information sheet on breathing here. It contains advice on how to check your breathing and it will give you three great exercises to improve your breathing!
Click here to get the Free password to access the download page!
If you need any further information you can contact ISIS Chiropractic Centres here.
Milton Keynes: 01908 307075
Northampton: 01604 460200
Aylesbury: 01296 489231