Maximizing the Breath

 

By Bradley Tremper BS, LMT and Brandie Tremper BS, LMT

Take a deep inhalation. What do you feel? Does your belly bulge? Does your rib cage expand in

all directions? Does your chest lift? In spite of how it feels when we inhale, we do not pull air into our

body. When we take a breath, we simply create space in the body for air to flow into. Air is pushed into

the body by the atmospheric pressure that surrounds us. We are being breathed! Take another deep

breath. While exhaling, notice the reverse action of the inhalation. The thoracic cavity and lung tissue,

which have been stretched out during the inhalation, return to their previous shapes.

Breathing is movement. A proper breath causes a three dimensional shape change in the

thoracic and abdominal cavities. Effective breath is simply the ability of the breathing structures of our

body to move or change shape. Breathing deep, full breaths helps the blood to bathe the cells in

oxygen. A few benefits of increased oxygenation are increased athletic performance, quicker recovery

time, increased cognitive function and decreased stress.

While effective breath is the ability of the breathing structures of our body to move freely,

obstructive breath is the inability of breathing structures to move freely and effectively, resulting in a

shallow breath. When our posture inhibits the diaphragm from filling the lungs completely, other

muscles are recruited for the job. These muscles, located in the chest and neck, are not efficient as

breathing muscles, potentially leading to tension and restriction in those areas. Consequences of

obstructed breath may be decreased athletic performance and recovery, neck or shoulder pain, and

increased pain sensitivity.

Fortunately, for those of us who breathe ineffectively, there are several approaches to getting

more out of our breath. Breathing exercises are perhaps the most important and can help teach how to

breathe more efficiently by training our muscles and attention on the breath. Yoga is an excellent way

to practice deep breathing through a variety of postures and breathing techniques. Massage can help to

promote an open, upright posture and ease tense breathing muscles facilitating a freer and deeper

breath. Chiropractic work can promote thoracic spine and rib mobility as well as core neuromuscular

control. Ideally, a variety of approaches would be blended to achieve more control, endurance and

depth of breath.

For more information and to get help in maximizing your breath, please contact us:

Bradley: 928-600-0678 or bradley@hypo2sport.com

Brandie: 307-203-9196 or brandie@hypo2sport.com

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