Diaphragmatic Breathing

by ()

Diaphragmatic Breathing

What is the Diaphragm?

The Diaphragm is the most efficient muscle of breathing. It is a large, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs. Your abdominal muscles help move the Diaphragm and give you more power to empty your lungs. When you become stressed or anxious, your breathing will become shallower. This means that the Diaphragm will not function as well as it should and the accessory muscles of breathing – which are located in your neck and chest – will do most of the work.

This can leave the Diaphragm weakened and flattened, causing it to work less efficiently, as well as the neck and chest muscles being overworked.

What is Diaphragmatic Breathing?

Diaphragmatic breathing is intended to help you use the Diaphragm correctly while breathing to:

  • Strengthen the Diaphragm
  • Decrease the work of breathing by slowing your breathing rate
  • Decrease oxygen demand
  • Use less effort and energy to breathe
Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique

Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just

read more »

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

by ()

PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION

Now, I want you to release your shoulders from your ears, unclench your jaw and take a deep breath in, and now, out. Did you realise that you were EVEN carrying tension in these areas and, do you know for HOW long you were tensing for? If you answered no to both questions, then Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) may be the perfect tool for you to become more aware of how your body responds to stress, anxiety or fear. PMR is a relaxation sequence of tensing an area of the body for 5 seconds and relaxing for 10 seconds. Like with learning any new skill, the more practice you do, the better you will become at noticing how your muscles react to stress and, most importantly, how to train them to respond differently!

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation setup

TIPS

  • Tell your muscles to ‘let go’or ‘relax’
  • Schedule practice into your diary!
  • Be comfortable: sit in a supportive chair, wear loose clothing, take your shoes off
  • Minimise distractions: Dim the lights, mute your phone and pop away in another room
  • If you have any physical injuries, please consult a Stay Tuned practitioner or your doctor before beginning

 

PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE read more »

Stress, Anxiety and Breathing.

by (Osteopath & Clinical Pilates Instructor)

Have you ever sat down for 10 minutes and tried controlling your own breathing? This could be a very beneficial exercise if you suffer from stress and anxiety.

When we are feeling stressed our breathing rate and pattern can change as a result of the ‘fight or flight’ response, controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. To relax, we need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system also called a ‘rest and digest’ response. Fortunately we can control our own breathing. Scientific studies have shown that controlling your breathing can help manage stress and stress related conditions. Breath control is also used in practices such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and some forms of meditation.

An anxious person may take small, shallow breathes, using their shoulder and chest muscles instead of their diaphragm to breathe in and out. Shoulder breathing may also cause tight and over-active muscles and lead to pain and dysfunction of the neck and shoulders.

Shallow, shoulder breathing can disrupt the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. In addition it can also prolong the feelings of anxiety by making the physical symptoms of stress worse. Controlling your breathing can help improve some of these symptoms.

When are … read more »

Posture, Breathing and Arthritis

by (Osteopath & Exercise Scientist)

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is a group of chronic, degenerative conditions that effect joints (also known as Degenerative Joint Disease and osteoarthrosis). Arthritis means – inflammation of the joint but OA is more degenerative than inflammatory.  OA is the most common form of arthritis.

What happens to the joints in OA?

With repeated stress the cartilage in the joints initially thickens, then eventually breaks down, softens and becomes thinner. Later the underlying bone undergoes changes and becomes worn from contact of bone on bone.  Micro-fractures and cysts can appear which weaken the bone.  To support the joint, new bone is laid down at the edges of the joint and bony spurs occur which restrict movement.  These bony spurs can painfully compress nerve roots.

Symptoms:

Initially this is painless but the end result after a period of time is pain, bony enlargement and restricted mobility.

Where does OA occur?

Common locations of OA are in the hand, spine, hip and knee. Reduced pain and mobility are usually noticed in the morning or after periods of immobility and may improve as a person gets moving.  Nerve pain can also occur if nerves are irritated by bony spurs.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis of OA can be … read more »

The Full Body Breath – Exercise and Benefits to your Health

by (Osteopath & Exercise Scientist)

Breathing should involve the whole body, particularly the abdominal and thoracic cavities, but it is not uncommon for people, especially with chronic health issues, to not breathe efficiently using the correct body mechanics, often using some parts of the body whilst not using others.

The diaphragm, situated between the thoracic and abdominal cavities, is a key structure involved in breathing.  It has connections internally through the fascia above the base of the skull and can influence head and neck function (and help clear the mind and head).  It has a link to the neck through its nerve supply.  When functioning efficiently, it helps promote healthy spinal and organ movement and the flow of lymphatic/fluid from/to all areas of the body.

It is your internal personal masseur for your internal organs because when it ascends and descends throughout its range, it supports and massages structures above and below, contributing to healthy heart, lung and digestive function and also through pressure gradients between the thoracic cage and abdomen and (when coordinated with synchronous sacral rocking) will also influence urinary and reproductive organ function.  If the diaphragm moves several centimeters (and contributes also to a few millimeters of sacral rocking movement) with every … read more »