Improve Breathing Patterns through Diaphragmatic Breathing and Soft Tissue Mobilisation Techniques
The effects of poor breathing patterns on our body’s systems are wide ranging and well documented. From upper body pain, neck pain, to a decrease in circulation and increased stress, the knock on effects are endless. Below is a sample of some of these:
- Diminished sleep quality
- Decreased movement patterns
- Cramp, muscle soreness
- Numbness, tingling and coldness in hand and feet
- Stomach bloating and constipation
- Erratic heart rates
- Increased levels of anxiety
- Decreased levels of concentration
The causes of poor breathing patterns are numerous and will resinate with all of us as some stage of life. It is very difficult to completely regulate our breathing every minute of the day as different stressors and stimulators present themselves without warning.
Of course chronic illnesses and particularly respiratory dysfunctions, heart disease, cardiac symptoms, and Breathing Pattern Disorders (BPD), all have a clinical bearing on breathing patterns and all have their own unique set of circumstance and appropriate treatment investigations and treatment protocols.
Poor posture is a major contributor to breathing pattern dysfunction, and is the one we can all relate to the most as we spend long hours sitting each day. Rounded shoulders and a forward head cause the muscles around the chest to tighten, limiting the ability of the rib cage to expand and can lead to a short and shallow breathing pattern.
In turn this shift can adversely affect our movement patterns. If we are only breathing high up in the chest, then we are relying solely on secondary muscles around the neck and collarbone instead of the diaphragm. When this breathing pattern is accompanied by poor posture, many muscles in your upper body lose their ability to properly function. The longer we sit during the day, the less our body is able to fight the forces of gravity and maintain a strong position potentially leading to back pain, neck pain, shoulder instability and impingement syndromes.
Normal breathing mechanics that utilise the diaphragm play a key role in posture and spinal stabilisation.
The diaphragm is a large umbrella whose stem is comprised of two crura that attach to the front of the lumbar spine, and whose edge is attached to the xiphoid and all the way around the lower margins of the ribs.
The diaphragm makes up part of the Deep Front Line which makes up our myofascial “axial centre”. This means that out of all the myofascial meridians The Deep Front Line is the deepest, having the function of maintaining our centre, and functional stability through all planes of movement. Integrity through the Diaphragm as well as the hip flexors and neck flexors are essential when looking to improve breathing patterns.
Absolute Health & Performance Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith uses both direct and indirect release techniques to reverse the effects of poor breathing patterns and to create a greater awareness around diaphragmatic control.
Below is an example of a diaphragmatic breathing exercise that can be practiced lying down, standing up, or in your chair at work. It’s a great way to take some out from a busy lifestyle and get back to a healthy habit. Breathing!
Absolute Health & Performance Soft Tissue Therapist James Meredith has over a decade of experience treating stress states, injury, muscle tension and improving breathing patterns through Therapeutic and Remedial Therapies. To find out more come in and see us at Absolute. Massage Therapy Melbourne CBD.