- Your breathing pattern has an impact on your nervous system. The impact can be positive with a proper breathing pattern. (Abdominal distension, 3-D lower rib cage expansion followed by apical filling) With a proper breathing pattern, your exhale is longer than your inhale and this drives the autonomic nervous system into a parasympathetic state. This then allows you to focus, stay calm and relaxed. For children and adults alike, this state allows work to get done. If your breathing pattern is poor (example—breath holding, using accessory muscles excessively) the ANS can be driven into a parasympathetic state with a “fight or flight” response. This is a tough state in which to be productive.
- Your breathing pattern has an impact on you circulation. You know that blood flow to the tissues is important for healing. Breathing can affect circulation via the ANS. If the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated via your breathing pattern, the blood vessels are constricted. If the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, vasodilatation of the vessels occurs increasing the blood flow to the tissues.
- Your breathing pattern has an impact on how efficiently you use your musculoskeletal system. The muscles of respiration have a dual purpose—respiration and postural stability. With the contraction of the respiratory diaphragm upon inhalation, an increase in intra abdominal pressure occurs. This action is important for several musculoskeletal relationships. It provides passive stability to the “core” of the body allowing other muscles to be able to take a “break”. The muscles that might need a break are the cervical muscles, the paraspinal muscles or the pelvic floor muscles. When the diaphragm relaxes, the abdominal muscles engage and contract providing active stability. Therefore, a proper breathing pattern is very instrumental in facilitating core stability. In turn, core stability is needed for the production of efficient movement. Research is bearing out that the transverse abdominus contracts before the deltoid when doing an arm movement. An efficient breathing pattern is also being linked to pelvic floor health and in turn to bowel and bladder function.
The workshop “Air is Good” will focus on assessing breathing patterns and strategies to improve a poor breathing pattern. Prior to attending the workshop it would be very helpful for you to review the anatomy of the respiratory system and chest development.