Since your first breath, the art of breathing has been one of the most important biological functions of your body. The rhythm of breath helps regulate a number of your bodies systems:- Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal and Metabolic.
When we are stressed or anxious it’s natural for our breathing to become shallow. Simply improving our breath, by breathing deep and slowly benefits us at times of elevated stress and anxiety and helps improve with restless sleep and insomnia.
The breath is one of the only bodily functions that can be consciously and unconsciously controlled. It’s not surprising that conscious focus of the breath is the foundation of most Buddhist meditation practices.
The average person takes up to 29,000 breaths per day so you’d think we would be experts at breathing. However, it’s common for many people to practice paradoxical breathing. This is an incorrect form of respiration that involves expansion of the upper chest and sucking in the abdominal muscles during inhalation. Paradoxical breathing is linked to many problems including:
- Reduced oxygen content
- Postural problems
- Digestive complaints and bloating
- Increased muscular tension especially neck and shoulders
- Lower back pain
Healthy breathing is when the area between the lower ribs bulge out on the in breath and deflate on the out breath. The upper chest often doesn’t move at all. Drawing attention to your breath for 20 minutes per day will improve the way you breathe and your general well being, strengthen your lungs, regulate metabolism and help eliminate negative emotional aspects of your life.
In Chinese Medicine, the lungs are a source of external Qi (Energy) and are interwoven with the function of the Heart to control smooth flow of blood and Qi around the body. The lungs are also responsible for the nourishment of the exterior body and often dull, lifeless skin or hair can be attributed to poor lung function.
Improving lung function, using a combination of Acupuncture, tailored breathing exercises and lifestyle can often have a profound effect on your health and help treat many of the symptoms listed in this article.
To book an appointment to see Jeremy, give Encompass Health Centre a call here in Neutral Bay on (02) 9904-1333.