Breathing TipsRecently, a patient came in and told me that he was having trouble getting a full breath. After looking at how he was breathing, I saw that he was a chest breather. Here are some breathing tips to help get that full breath and use your diaphragm to complete that breath.
Understanding the breathing cycle:
Inhaling is due to the contraction and flattening of the diaphragm, this creates a vacuum pressure in the chest and causes the lungs to expand and inflate. The diaphragm is located between your chest and your abdomen.
When the body is in need of more oxygen, abdominal muscles tighten and expansion of the lungs is resisted. The increased abdominal pressure causes the diaphragm to tilt and the ribcage moves upwards with an increase in volume and the entry of air.
In a relaxed exhale, the diaphragm relaxes and air leaves due to the elasticity of the lungs. This relaxed breathing uses very little energy.
A forced exhale comes from forcing the abdominal muscles downward on the rib cage. This force increases pressure on the airways, possibly causing narrowing and wheezing.
Intercostal muscles hold an auxiliary function. They help stiffen and shape the rib cage as we breathe.
Breathing is one of many automatic functions of the body that for the most part take place in the background, outside of conscious thought. Scientists have long known that automatic breathing activity is centered in the brainstem.
Diaphragmatic breathing tips:
As you may have noticed, the diaphragm is a major part of breathing. Just ask any singer, actor or orator. Learning how to use your diaphragm properly can help you get that full breath of air.
First of all, you need to see and feel the diaphragm in action. Here are some breathing tips to become more aware of your diaphragm…
Hand on heart, hand on belly breathing tip:
Stand in front of a mirror. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. As you take a breath in, notice which hand moves first. If you belly hand moves first, then you are using your diaphragm. As you exhale, your belly should also move.
If your chest hand moves first, you are using your chest and ribs. This is the most in-efficient way to breathe. Work hard to get your belly hand to move.
Panting breathing tip:
Panting will help you isolate your diaphragm and get the feeling of where it is. Just pant for about 5 to 10 seconds. No need to hyperventilate. Putting your hand on your belly will also help you feel the diaphragm in action.
Humming breathing tip:
I have found that humming really accentuates feeling the diaphragm and abdominal muscles involved in breathing. Feeling your diaphragm will help you use your diaphragm.
Researchers link brain function to breathlessness:
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center say they have located key circuits in the brain that activate when the body begins to feel short of breath. The findings should lead to a better understanding of diseases like panic disorder, asthma and congestive heart failure, in which anxiety and stress worsen the feelings of breathlessness.
The scientists say that conscious breathing is controlled by 3 centers in your brain: the amygdala, cerebellum and anterior cingulate cortex. So, your emotional state can have a big affect on your breathing. These three breathing tips can actually help relax your brain and let it automatically get back into the swing of things.
Our best breathing tip:
What I have found in my office is that an upper cervical subluxation can cause severe aggravation of the brainstem and create a stress response stimulating higher brain breathing centers to become involved. People with COPD, asthma and other breathing problems can benefit from an Awesome Upper Cervical Chiropractic Adjustment. Being an ex-asthmatic, I know that I did.
Call our office today to see if we are a fit for you (810) 225-7246. All you have to lose is your problem.
Dr. Robert Moore has helped numerous people get relief from breathing problems of all kinds. His specific upper cervical technique restores balance to the area of the spine and brainstem associated with breathing and higher brain function. For more information or to make an appointment to see if you could benefit from specific upper cervical care, call Dr. Moore at Awesome Chiropractic today 810-225-7246.