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Are you breathing correctly?

What do we first do when we enter into this world? We take our first breath of life. From that day forward you take on average 20,000 breaths and most of us don’t even pay attention to it. Your breath carries oxygen and so many vital nutrients to your brain, organs and muscles to keep them functioning correctly. It affects your physical as well as you mental well-being. But so many of us are breathing incorrectly due to stress, postural abnormalities and other musculoskeletal conditions that may have changed how we normally breath.

Incorrect breathing can cause many physiological changes including blood vessel constriction, increased muscle tone and spasming and most importantly cause the “flight or fight” (aka the sympathetic nervous system) to run on over drive which can increase pain, cause more stress and disturb your bodies ability to rest. Without adequate rest your body cannot repair and rejuvenate. This can then contribute and enhance many pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, pelvic pain and chronic low back pain just to name a few. So what can we do about it? Well the first thing is that we need to know if we are breathing correctly.

The easiest way I teach people how to test this is by lying flat on your back on the bed of floor. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Now take a deep breath in through the nose and feel which hand moves as your take your breath in. If you breathe normally then the hand on your belly should move up and the hand on your chest should stay relatively still. When you take a breath out through the mouth the hand on the belly should move down and again the chest stay relatively still.

If you did this correctly then congratulations. You have now performed what is called a diaphragmatic breath. A diaphragmatic breath is the most efficient way to breathe. If you have not then try to practice breathing this way for 5-10 minutes per day a few times per day.

Initially it might be difficult but with daily practice you should be able to normalize your breathe. If you find that this is difficult to do and especially if you have been having any type of chronic pain condition that has not resolved, then our therapists at Rebalance can help.

You may have other underlying musculoskeletal problems that is not allowing you to take that normal breath and in conjunction with other muscle problems, keeping you in a pain state. Our highly skilled and knowledgable therapists can evaluate and find the problems that might be keep you from functioning at your optimum capacity. So until next time keep breathing my friends!

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