breathing

“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Proverbs 3:5,6,8.

Air is the free blessing of heaven, calculated to electrify the whole system and must be in constant circulation to be kept pure. Air is the precious boon of heaven, which all may have. Air will be a blessing you with its invigorating influence if you will not refuse it entrance. Welcome it, cultivate a love for it, and it will prove a precious soother of the nerves. The influence of pure, fresh air is to cause the blood to circulate healthfully through the system. It refreshes the body, and tends to render it strong and healthy, while at the same time its influence is decidedly felt upon the mind, imparting a degree of composure and serenity. It excites the appetite, and renders the digestion of food more perfect, and induces sound, sweet sleep.

The Benefits of Good Breathing Patterns

  • Postural stability: Creating a mobile, supportive spine that leads to correct posture, fluid movement, agility and correct locomotion.
  • Good spinal health leads to the good health of the nervous system (which is housed in the spine), allowing us to remain in a physiologically and emotionally balanced state.
  • Good breathing maintains good lung pressures for energy-efficient breathing.
  • Good breathing ensures oxygenation of the lower lobes of the lungs, which have a rich blood supply.
  • Voice production: Our voice is the result of the breath flowing over the vocal folds (formerly known as vocal cords). Good diaphragm (belly) breathing gives us an easy, flowing breath, creating good pitch and voice control. Upper chest-breathing can give us a gaspy, higher-pitched voice. The state of the voice can assist as a warning sign for parents with children who have asthma, as voice change is a sign of tightened airways or poor breathing patterns.
  • Removal of waste products: Breathing is one of the most important ways for the body to eliminate waste products; 70 per cent of the body’s waste products are eliminated through exhalation.
  • Assisting the pumping of fluids about the body by the lymphatic pump and the cardiovascular pump. The lymphatic pump is essential for maintaining the health of our immune system – for people with asthma the healthier the immune system the better.
  • Developing the ‘relaxation response’. The sensation of breathlessness and restricted breathing easily creates frightening feelings of anxiety and panic. While this is entirely understandable, it’s very important to know how to release muscle tension during asthma episodes. This helps reduce nervous as well as physical tension and ‘turn down the volume’ of the attack.

Breathing can be trained for both positive and negative influences on health. Chronic stress can lead to a restriction of the connective and muscular tissue in the chest resulting in a decrease range of motion of the chest wall. Due to rapid more shallow breathing, the chest does not expand as much as it would with slower deeper breaths and much of the air exchange occurs at the top of the lung tissue towards the head. This results in “chest” breathing. You can see if you are a chest breather by placing your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your abdomen. As you breathe, see which hand rises more. If your right hand rises more, you are a chest breather. If your left hand rises more, you are an abdomen breather.

Chest breathing is inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs, areas that have limited air expansion in chest breathers. Rapid, shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues. The good news is that similar to learning to play an instrument or riding a bike, you can train the body to improve its breathing technique. With regular practice you will breathe from the abdomen most of the time, even while asleep.

DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING

diaphragmatic

1. Sit comfortably and relax your shoulders. 2. Put one hand on your abdomen. Now inhale slowly through your nose. (Push your abdomen out while you breathe in) 3. Then push in your abdominal muscles and breathe out using the pursed-lip technique. (You should feel your abdomen go down)

Note: 
• Repeat the above maneuver three times and then take a little rest.
• This exercise can be done many times a day.

By doing diaphragmatic breathing you help your lungs expand and take in more air.

PURSED-LIP BREATHING
(like breathing out slowly into a straw)

pursed lips

1. Inhale slowly through your nose until your lungs are full of air. 2. Purse your lips as if you are going to whistle. Now exhale slowly.
Note: 
• Breathing out should take twice as long as breathing in.
• Do not force your lungs to become empty.

Pursed-lip breathing will help you control your breathing rate and shortness of breath.
It helps to get air into your lungs and thus get the energy required to breathe.
It will also help you feel more in control and make it easier for you to do things.