So what is the big deal with breathing?

Dr Emma had a fantastic time in Chamonix snowboarding at the weekend and while she was indulging in her guilty pleasure of some trashy mags on the plane she found that Cosmo had a spread on the Wellness Trend of 2019 – Breathing.

So what is the big deal with breathing? And how can it help support your health and wellbeing? If you spend most of your day sitting slumped at a desk, have subluxations in your spine or are in a state of fight/flight chances are you aren’t breathing efficiently or effectively. Diaphragmatic breathing is an important indicator of nervous system health but also an incredibly cost effective way to minimise anxiety, boost focus, lower blood pressure and even help with reduce chronic pain.

Not many people are aware but 20% of your oxygenated blood will always go to your brain. The body does this at the expense of other tissues and organs because your brain is a little more important than your fingers or your toes. When we breathe through our chest instead of our diaphragm not only do we compromise the amount of oxygen in our body which may affect our ability to heal and perform at our optimum but we start to use our accessory breathing muscles:

  • Scalenes
  • Upper traps
  • Sternocleidomastoid
  • Pecs

Because these muscles are designed to only be used as a “back up” when we are in fight or flight mode – chronic improper breathing creates tension through the upper neck and back making our shoulders feel tight, fatigued and painful. The other concern that arises when these accessory muscle are tight is that they reinforce the stress response creating a feedback loop which keeps you in fight or flight mode. So what can you do to break that pattern?

  1. Look at your sitting posture at work or school – when you are slumped you compress your diaphragm forcing you to breathe through your chest. Sit up on your sits bones with your shoulders rolled back and down and try to puff out your stomach on the breath in keeping your chest nice and still.
  2. Lying down comfortably place one hand on your stomach the other hand on your chest. Breathe in for the count of 4 trying to move your belly up toward the sky and breathe out for a count of 6.
  3. Get adjusted. By ensuring that your spine and ribs are moving well this makes taking deep breaths easier but also by getting adjusted you are stimulating your calm part of the nervous system which helps to activate your diaphragm.

For more information on the benefits of breathing check out the big breath company  or speak to your wonderful Northcote Chiropractic Chiropractor or Massage Therapist about how you can improve your breathing.