"It’s part of our mechanic to breathe daily. What many of us don’t realise, is just how important it is to develop good breathing habits for our life and adaptability.You’d be surprised by how many issues can arise from your physiological and mental state, by not understanding the true power of your breath, and the strength that comes from being able to control it."
Believe it or not, you can. Issues arise when you breathe through your mouth and by engaging the upper chest walls, this type of short and fast breathing doesn’t nourish your cells, and often means that you are in a constant state of chronic hyperventilation. chronic hyperventilation is a term used for when you breathe too fast, not being able to control it and almost losing your breath.This type of short, and shallow breathing endured during chronic hyperventilation is labelled dysfunctional breathing.
If you continue to breathe this way from a physical, biomechanical and mental point of view, you increase the chance of having a wide spectrum of what may seem like unrelated symptoms like:
- Stress and anxiety, including panic attacks
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness of the chest and/or Atypical chest pains
- Coughing* Dizziness
- Poor concentration and memory
- Dry mouth and/or difficulty swallowing
- An increase in the respiratory rate
It’s incredible just how many symptoms can be caused by not breathing properly, and how conditions such as chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases can be treated physiologically.
The good news is, that you can re-learn the importance of breath, and how to do it right. For starters, ensure you are breathing in and out through the nose, if you struggle with it you can do with pursed lips. With every breath through your nose, try to hold your breath until you first desire to take a new breath. This will ensure you are resetting your breathing pattern, nervous system, and your physiological state.
Reduced levels of carbon dioxide as a consequence of short rapid breath are associated with increased nervous system arousal which effects neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission and the production of neurotransmitter like glutamate and cortisol. This increased awareness of oxygen sensitises your body to pain and tension, and symptoms of seizures, migraines, pain, tension.
Re-establishing your own natural breathing rhythm is the key to improving your breathing. If we practice at least 10 minutes a day of breath-holding techniques, this will re-sensitise your body and ensure you break out of a bad habit.
The three important steps in guiding you to proper breath are:
1. Breathing through your nose.
2. Connecting to your breath.
3. Lengthening your exhale as you release, making sure you are focused on the exhale.
Start “listening” to your breath. Take notice of the movement of your chest wall and abdomen, and timing between inhale and exhale. Most people find it difficult to sense this movement of breath, so place your hands at the level of your lower rib cage and learn to feel your abdomen and the lower rib cage expanding with your inhalation.
One of the biggest myths about breathing is that everything will be ok if you just take deep breaths in. Unfortunately, focussing on deep breathing can make things worse. The single most important thing to do if you want to fix dysfunctional breathing, is to focus on the exhale.