We all do it, but are you aware of HOW you’re breathing?
Breathing occurs automatically, thanks to the autonomic nervous system, but the magic of breathing is that we are able to exert conscious control over it as well! Research has shown that we can change our physiology and therefore our health, by changing how we breathe.
I assess breathing with just about every single client. It can tell me so much information, such as their ability to coordinate muscles through contraction and relaxation, ribcage and spine mobility, compensation patterns, and breathing patterns. It is a foundational tool that I like to start with for almost everyone because it is vital to movement and mind/body connection.
On average we take 20,000 breaths a day. That’s a lot of opportunity for improved health just by changing the way we breathe! Ideally, we want to be breathing through the nose. This is especially important at night and affects everything from oxygen saturation, fatigue levels, deep sleep, and dental health. We should also breathe with our diaphragm by expanding the lower ribcage and belly, letting it rise on every inhale and sink on every exhale. By focusing on extending the exhalation, it will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the rest/digest/heal system and will aid in relaxation.
Stress can contribute to shallow chest breathing, poor posture can contribute to mouth breathing, and lack of coordination or tight muscles can decrease your ability to breathe with your diaphragm. Do you want to learn to be a better breather? Physical therapy can help!
Schedule a free consult with Intrinsic PT today.