Breathing is one of the primal characteristics of any life. Breathing is vital for speech, singing, crying, laughing, etc. A little imbalance in breathing can affect all these processes. It should be noted that, apart from alternative therapies that treat breathing, certain practices, like yoga, tai chi, qi gong and Optimal Breathing, are of importance as they emphasize breathing and various breathing exercises. The ones that emphasize forced breathing often cause distortions in breathing mechanics and need to be taught quite carefully by an experienced teacher.
While performing and practicing any kind of calming, deep breathing exercises, perfect balance between the oxygen intake and the carbon dioxide released should be maintained unless the person has been properly trained to do otherwise. Any disorder or interruption in this regard can invite physical warning signs.
There are numerous ways and therapies by which breathing problems, such as asthma, can either be resolved or worsened. Some of the popular methods are yoga and pranayama, the Buteyko method, or Inspiratory Muscle Training. The Feldenkrais method, the Alexander Technique, and natural breathing therapy are the safest but may or may not provide the benefits many people need because they lack a strong enough breathing foundation. Any others may help, but may also hinder. There are oxygen-therapy treatments such as O2E2
and different exercises associated with these approaches that are useful or helpful in alleviating many health challenges.
Most asthmatics seek a therapist’s help to know about the causes of their breathing problems. Simple emotive reactions like crying and laughing can lead to an asthma attack. “Why does this happen to me?” they ask. It is largely due to the uncontrolled sudden rush of air into the upper portions of the lungs, and also related to respiratory psycho-physiology or mind-body energetic influences both subtle and obvious.
The truth is that simple, emotive (breathing based) reactions can trigger asthmatic attacks that present themselves as shortness of breath and wheezing. The unrestrained, swift air enters the lungs, which puts the person’s respiratory system under tremendous high-chest air pressure, resulting in a constricted vessels and lessened ability to access the lower lobes of the lungs and a high propensity toward limiting the air supply inviting shortness of breath. It may also have to do with human psychology and negative thoughts arising and causing physical constrictions or distortions of breathing patterns. It is mostly psychological over-reactions to emotions via high-chest-dominant or distorted breathing patterns that cause this vaso-constriction and shortness-of-breath-based anxiety. Regardless of what goes on in the mind it is possible to train oneself to not overreact in the body, basically by optimizing your breathing. “You can have your thoughts and emotions without your thoughts and emotions having you!”
Physiological equilibrium has to be maintained in inhaling and exhaling. Both oxygen and carbon dioxide must be present in appropriate pressures (millimeters of mercury) in the blood. Involuntary breathing is controlled by the hypothalamus
. It monitors the oxygen and carbon dioxide ratios in blood and hopefully delivers the rate and the depth of breathing that needs to take place. But one can consciously override this balance for positive or negative outcomes more than people realize. The way we go about gaining this control can set up restrictive breathing patterns that may feel like better breathing, but still be limiting to the potential for optimal breathing and for life.
When we observe breathing exercises and programs in today’s context, we see that many forms that have been developed are amalgamations of two or more original forms that have been customized to meet individual needs. The Buteyko method is one of the most popular forms of alternate therapy giving notable results when it comes to asthmatic treatment. It is opined that most of the asthmatics hyperventilate, which is the root cause of asthma. Hyperventilation can worsen the situation.
Buteyko lays emphasis on simplistic breathing approaches by putting a stop (a control pause) on the breathing altogether, and never from the mouth. It teaches people to take small breaths with regular pauses between the breaths. Here, the practices can appear contradictory to yoga breathing exercises, where emphasis is placed on taking longer and deeper breaths. The common purposes of these asthma breathing exercises are stress relief, meditation, relaxation, and calming. These approaches can be helpful but can be in contradiction to one another and harmful or limiting to long-term health and vitality. If it works, do it but be careful of doing the same one for too long. If it does not work or make positive change in 1 or 2 sessions, then you might be on the wrong path or with the wrong teacher.
Breathing techniques need to be discussed and, more precisely, the process by which the breathing can be normalized. Taking long breaths may be good to relax the body but doing them too frequently may change the breathing patterns in incorrect ways. “Practice does not make perfect—perfect PRACTICE makes perfect!”
Overeating and especially the high intake of animal proteins can lead to dominant acidity within the acid/alkaline balance that breathing attempts to maintain, but is thrown off balance due to these excessive acid-forming proteins. This causes increases in the oxygen cost of breathing and makes what breathing you do less effective. Other factors like narcotics, contact with certain chemicals, prescription drugs, and excessive physical labor or exercise can trigger so called asthma like symptoms.
One of the most prominent questions asked is, “Am I breathing properly?” Most people breathe too shallowly or too predominantly in the high chest. This causes what is called hyperventilation or over-breathing, but the over-breathing definition implies that breathing less is better than breathing more. Breath is life. I counsel people to breathe life to the fullest. The issue is HOW we breathe or the pattern and whether it is high chest or low front, side and back abdominal based, not how much. The breathing development exercises we teach will allow for this seeming contradiction to be understood. Gradually by putting these concepts into practice, asthmatics can learn to regain their normal breathing without being “hungry for air”.
If you have asthma like symptoms try this specific program that includes proper asthma breathing exercises: www.breathing.com/no-more-asthma.htm
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