The diaphragm is a large, thin sheet of muscle dividing the thoracic (chest) cavity from the abdominal cavity (belly), and is the major muscle of breathing. As the diaphragm contracts, the lungs move downwards, expand and fill with air. Diaphragmatic breathing, along with breathing through the nose (not the mouth) is essential for healthy breathing. However, as a breathing educator I see many clients –especially those with ME/CFS/fibromyalgia or anxiety who make little or no use of this important muscle! Instead, they often breathe though the mouth, the breathing is obvious in the upper chest, accessory muscles in the upper chest and neck and shoulders do the donkey work of lifting the ribcage, and posture is often slumped.Continue Reading
And some showy pink.
One of my earlier blog posts focused on the importance of nasal breathing (rather than mouth breathing) for good health. I gave you seven reasons, and I think it is about time for a few more – here are three good ones:
1) Nasal breathing is good for head and neck stability and strength.
People are often rather amused when I tell them what I do – 5 Interesting responses I have had:
1) “I know how to breathe or I would be dead wouldn’t I?” (this person was overweight and had diabetes but most certainly did not associate breathing with health) or another “I’m fantastic at it. I do it every day. I’m that good at it I do it in my sleep!” Ha ha…Continue Reading
The idea is to tell you a bit more about how and why I blog, and to introduce you to some great bloggers I know who cover widely divergent topics. On this blog tour we answer the 4 questions below, find other blogs we like to share, and pass on the baton! Here’s my contribution and please scroll down to meet Viviann Napp, Gillian Gingell Wormley and Nicola Warwick.
A client asked me recently “Why not write a topic about what deep breathing actually means in the Buteyko context?” So here goes, I am preparing to open a can of worms… But before I do that I will just recap that as a breathing educator I identify and help to correct (using the Buteyko method), disordered or dysfunctional breathing and that: The aim of breathing education is to restore a healthy breathing pattern, to allow the natural, normal, nasal, soft, gentle, smooth, quiet, invisible, efficient, underlying breathing pattern to emerge, so breathing is easier and with the diaphragm free. The most effective way of doing this is by relaxation; by removal of layers of tension caused by bad breathing habits and stress. As the breathing softens and reduces, symptoms decrease too. Dr Buteyko called his method “reduced breathing by relaxation”. And when I teach I avoid the word DEEP like the plague! That is because it is so utterly confusing as it means two (at least) completely different things to different people:Continue Reading
I consider myself incredibly lucky, not only have I recovered from the debilitating disease (pit/hell) of ME/CFS, but also I now help others recover, by retraining their breathing.
Why I became a breathing educator
Breathing education has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and nothing I had ever imagined or expected to do. Poles apart from my previous role in health care where I had been a bench scientist, doing preclinical research into new painkillers for a drug company, and rarely even seeing a patient! I loved the research but the job was high pressure.
My ME/CFS story
Then I was a sick person; at one time I wondered if I would ever be able to do anything useful again.Continue Reading
I was invited to give a presentation on better breathing last week by FibroMacc, Macclesfield’s fibromyalgia (FM) support group.
I read out a long list of symptoms, which the audience recognised as very typical of FM. However they were surprised when I revealed that I was not reading from a review of FM or ME/CFS symptoms, but a review of the symptoms of chronic hyperventilation.
Symptoms of hyperventilation
Do you have a persistent cough or an irritating tickle causing you to continually clear your throat? Coughing is one of the body’s important natural protection mechanisms so you may not think it is much of a problem.
Well it can be – the coughing itself can be exhausting; using all your primary breathing muscles and accessory muscles in your neck and shoulders to lift your rib cage is a lot of effort in itself. Moreover, chronic cough can damage your health by depriving systems throughout the body of their vital oxygen. Fortunately, once you understand the problem, better breathing can help.
What causes chronic cough?Continue Reading
The previous better breathing blog post was all about the importance of breathing through your nose, but even before you focus on nasal breathing, you have to cultivate good awareness of your breathing; many people tell me they breathe through their noses, but I observe them mouth breathing without realising. If you have never thought it mattered, why would you notice? I used to be the same. I certainly did not notice that I was taking in gasping breaths through my mouth when I was speaking. Now I can breathe in calmly through my nose when speaking, most of the time anyway.
Remember that the MORE you breathe, the LESS oxygen you are getting. Continue Reading
Welcome to my first blog post for the new Breathing Remedies website. The website has a stronger focus on people with ME/CFS. I still see clients with asthma and allergies, anxiety and panic, snoring and sleep apnoea etc. and indeed many people with ME/CFS also struggle with some of these symptoms; ME/CFS is MUCH more than being tired all the time. And the better breathing tips are going to apply to everyone really.
I am going to kick off by talking about nasal breathing. Indeed in 2012 there was an “International Breathe through your nose week”! Many people thought it was a joke! But learning to breathe through your nose rather than
your mouth could be the most important thing that you ever do for your health and your good looks! Click on the image to see examples of people nasal breathing even when exercising. Read on to discover why!Continue Reading