With novel coronavirus rocking the world I feel that our perspective on health has become more preventive than rehabilitative. As a pain clinician, the power of proper breathing has always fascinated me. Using breath as a natural painkiller and immunity booster has been the core of my prescriptive treatment. This blog is for those of you who want to take charge of your health and immunity.
What are our breathing parts?
Rib cage and lungs-Lungs are enclosed in a mobile structure called the rib cage. It is moved by muscles called the Intercostals ( between the ribs), muscles of the spine, muscles of the neck and shoulders.
Diaphragm– Dome-shaped muscle separating the chest and abdominal cavity. Its flattening helps us to fill the air in the lungs and doming up pushes the air gently out. It is the main breathing muscle.
Abdominals– The outward movement of the abdominals help in the downward descent of the diaphragm. They set the rhythm of the diaphragm and the overall rate and quality of breathing.
Repetitive postures like prolonged chair sitting and tight clothing causes rounded shoulders and sucked in belly. This does not the free outward movement of the abs leading to reduced movement of the diaphragm. Due to this we unknowingly start overusing the muscles in the neck and shoulders causing further stooping. This causes shallow breathing from the upper chest, increasing the breath rate and reducing the quality. In short faulty breath, pattern puts our sympathetic system into overdrive and causing immune hyperactivity to fight an unknown antigen. Years into this pattern overuses the immune system and causes metabolic fatigue. This is a point where the immune system is unable to fight the real antigen as it is tired of fighting an imaginary one.
1.While chair sitting try to sit away from the back of the chair. This helps to train a neutral spine
2.Untuck your tailbone ie unround your lower back.
3. Sit on your sit bones.
4. Can try a different sitting position like floor sitting, low cushion sitting.
5. While standing back your pelvis and hips back.
6.Always hinge from the hips to bend and not from the waist.
7.Keep the shoulders down and back and keep the lower ribs down.
WHAT TO DO
Kneeling chest opener– Kneel on all fours with the hands right under the shoulders. Keep the shoulders and spine relaxed. Breathe in and pinch the shoulder blades together without lifting the hands … breathe out and come back to starting position. Breathe in 4 counts and out 4 .. slowly aim at making the exhale double of inhale. Repeat 2-3 times every 90 min.
Belly breathe in kneeling- Starting position same as above. Breathe in and allow the belly to loosen towards the floor. Breathe out and gently pull the navel to the spine without arching or rounding the back.. Breath count and rep same as above.
Bearhug– Sit cross-legged or in a chair, breathe in and lift the arms up and outward. Breathe out, curl the spine and hug yourself gently. Repeat and breath count as above.
Belly breathing – Can do this in any position like sitting, standing lying or even moving. Mindful practice keeps stress breathing low. Choose any comfortable position . Keep the spine in neutral and relax or drop the shoulders . Breathe in counting to 4 such that the abdominals move out . Keeping the same neutral breathe out gently counting to 8 pulling the navel gently to the spine.. Repeat as comfortable.
Hope the above read helps you to breathe well and remain healthy…. Take care