Often, we go through our days unaware of our breath; yet, unlike food or water, we would not last too long without it! Therefore, it is important that we bring awareness back to this critical function – please, let me get you started!
First, a little bit about the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle which separates the abdomen from the thorax; when it contracts, it increases the volume of the thorax. In unison with other muscles of respiration, it allows us to maximally inhale and exhale air.
Take a moment to observe your breath… Is it deep, or shallow? Take note of this for now.
When we breath diaphragmatically, we bring oxygen into the lower chambers of the lungs, where gas exchange primarily occurs. This is an important function, because it promotes an alkaline environment in the body’s tissues, which is important for general well-being and healing. But, how do we breath diaphragmatically? Lets break it down:
1) Breath deeply towards the ‘belly’, filling it with air.
2) Continue to breath in, and feel your thorax filling up with air, with ribs expanding in all directions (front, back, and sides) until your upper chest is filled with air last.
3) Exhale following the opposite direction, clearing the upper chest, down to the ‘belly’ last.
It is important that we are in a calm state in order to maximally uptake oxygen, so it may be beneficial for you to take a few moments beforehand to relax and clear your mind. As well, you may notice regions that feel more difficult to ‘breath into’; for now, simply observe these areas of restriction – if you are a healthy person, you may try to breath specifically towards those restrictions to improve upon them.
In addition to promoting an alkaline environment within the body, which is crucial for physiological processes to take place normally, there are other benefits to diaphragmatic breathing as well. It may promote a calm state of being, it may help in falling asleep, it may strengthen our awareness of regions in the body that we have ‘lost touch with’, and it may prepare us for (and/or aid us in) physically and mentally related activities.
Sometimes, we may need professional assistance in helping to regain this ability – whether it’s due to a motor vehicle accident or other injury, years of sitting at a desk and/or inactivity, trauma, or perhaps an underlying pathology… at MedSpa, we are here to help to the best of our abilities.
In the meantime, observe your breath, check in on it throughout the day, and take some time aside to practice your breathing. And remember, like with anything, it gets better with practice – don’t be hard on yourself, or think you cannot do it at first – it simply takes time. You might be surprised by what you notice, and how you feel afterwards!
Take care for now,
Peppino Gregorian, RMT