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Breathing Retraining – An Osteopathic Approach

Published by Better Health Osteopathy on 16 March 2020, Breathing

Many people may not realise something as simple as breathing can have a huge impact on their daily health. Dysfunctional breathing often goes undetected, sometimes leading to a lifetime of poor breathing habits.

Are you breathing correctly? Training yourself to breathe properly can have lifelong implications for improving your overall health as well as aiding in the management of conditions such as; stress and anxiety, neck pain, headaches, jaw pain, asthma, digestion issues and sleep apnoea.

Read on to find out more about the signs and symptoms of dysfunctional breathing and how Osteopathic treatment can help with breathing retraining.

10 Signs And Symptoms Of Dysfunctional Breathing

Is your health being affected by dysfunctional breathing patterns? Here are some common signs and symptoms relating to dysfunctional breathing.

  1. Neck Pain
  2. Headaches
  3. Numbness around the face
  4. Hyperventilation
  5. Panic attacks
  6. Anxiety
  7. Frequent sighing
  8. Inability to take a deep breath in
  9. Over-tiredness and lack of energy
  10. Dizziness
  11. Unexplained digestion issues

Causes Of Dysfunctional Breathing

What causes a person to develop abnormal breathing patterns? There are many factors that can contribute to developing poor breathing habits, these can be from as early as when you were a newborn, a toddler, a young child or even as an adult following an usual period of illness or stress-related anxiety. Some of the more common causes of dysfunctional breathing are:

  • Stress, emotional trauma, shock
  • Upper back, lower back, neck and rib dysfunction
  • Dysfunctional and tight diaphragm
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Breathing difficulties as an infant
  • Allergies and sinus related issues

Osteopathy And Breathing Retraining

As part of their holistic approach to helping the body heal, Osteopaths are able to assist in identifying breathing issues and will work with you to correct your breathing technique. An Osteopath will assess your current breathing technique, take a complete medical history and use this information to evaluate symptoms and identify the underlying causes of breathing issues.

Osteopathic treatment of the underlying dysfunction in ribs mechanics, thoracic and cervical spine, along with treatment of the diaphragm normally forms an integral part of osteopathic treatment of poor breathing patterns. This is then followed by training the patient diaphragmatic breathing techniques, where the patient learns to better engage their diaphragm whilst breathing. 

 

How To Tell If You Are Breathing Correctly

The aim of this exercise is to bring awareness to your breathing habits, during this exercise your chest should remain relatively still with the abdomen noticeably rising and falling.
 
  • Lying flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen just below your belly button.
  • Start to breathe in slowly using only your nose, aim for the feeling the inhaled air pushing deep into your pelvis and raising your stomach before feeling movement (if any) in your chest.
  • When you breathing out, simply relax your abdomen, the natural contraction will push air back out of your lungs

6 Benefits Of Good Breathing Techniques From An Osteopathic Perspective

  1. Better response to neck, back, shoulder pain.
  2. Helps ease headaches.
  3. Relaxes the nervous system and helps ease stress and anxiety
  4. Helps promote better sleeping
  5. Management of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma
  6. Beter management of stressful situations through diaphragmatic breathing
  7. Improvement of overall posture

If you think you may be breathing abnormally or maybe having difficulties taking a deep breath – please do not hesitate to contact the Osteopaths at  Better Health Osteopathy Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or Book Online.

Better Health Osteopathy

Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible. Lorraine is also a clinic tutor on the Osteopathic Course in Ara and relishes the opportunity to teach the next generation of osteopaths.