Breathing is something that we all take for granted. We all probably think that we breathe properly… most of us would be wrong.
Go ahead. Stand in front of a mirror to do a self-assessment by following the steps below:
- Look at your neck and upper chest. Are your collar bones very prominent? Can you see a muscle that wraps from your ear to your collarbone on each side standing out? Is your head in a forward position?
- If so, these are signs of improper breathing patterns.
- Now, take a deep breath and observe your body. Does your chest rise up? Does your belly stay flat or does it push outward? Do your ribs flare out at the bottom?
- In normal breathing, the chest should not rise, but the upper ribs do expand forward a bit (like the handle on a pump). The lower ribs should flair outward (like a bucket handle). Your abdominal muscles should pull down on the diaphragm to accomplish this.
- When you breathe, can you breathe through your nose?
Most of us would fail at least one of these checks- I perform these checks in the office when I evaluate my patients. It is important to make sure that breathing is functioning optimally to ensure that the core muscles are supporting the spine. Below is one of my favorite videos that demonstrates an exercise to help improve respiration patterns (Thanks to Maximum Performance Chiropractic in California!). However, it is important to get assessed before beginning to work on your body’s patterns. Some corrections must be made in a particular order to be most effective. Also, some exercises may enhance a dysfunctional pattern.
Breathing has an impact on more than just your core. Your breathing sends signals to your brain about your body’s physical state. Think about being chased by a bear- you are going to go into fight or flight breathing and use your neck and shoulder muscles to breathe because this is panic. If you have ever had a panic attack you also know how this feels. When we correct breathing, we can help our bodies control our mental status. This is one reason natural birth methods focus intensely on the breath to help women cope with the pain of contractions.
Did you pass your self-assessment? Would you like a more thorough evaluation? Call or text Seed of Life to schedule your assessment!