Respiration involves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs as well as within each cell of our bodies. Many people breathe very inefficiently and it is often undetectable through simple observation. This inefficiency of breathing will alter respiratory chemistry and can lead to a multitude of physical symptoms such as:
• Tightness or discomfort in the chest
• Shortness of breath
• Tingling in the skin
• Cold and/or sweaty hands
• Numbness of the fingers and toes
• Muscle tightness or body tension
• Light-headedness or dizziness
• Blurred vision
• Sighing or gasping
• Difficulty with concentration
• Gastrointestinal issues
If you experience any of the above symptoms you may be OVER-BREATHING. Over-breathing can be effectively treated through the use of a biofeedback device that helps to retrain efficient and optimal breathing patterns while restoring normal breathing mechanics and chemistry.
Are you breathing efficiently?
There is no single "correct way” to breathe. Each of us has our own unique breathing pattern, at various rates, volume and rhythm. However, some patterns are more effective than others.
What is your breathing pattern?
To assess this, follow these steps:
• In a sitting position, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
• Focus on your breathing and feel the pattern of movement and think about it for a few minutes
• Ask yourself, are you breathing through your nose? Which hand is moving first and the most? How many breaths do you take in 1 minute?
• A good pattern of breathing will include:
1) 8-14 breaths per minute,
2) Air going in and out of the nose,
3) The lower hand will move first and will have the greatest amount of movement, and the upper hand will have very little movement,
4) Each breath should be slow, rhythmical and quiet.
If you feel that your breathing pattern is not optimal, a physiotherapist can perform a breathing evaluation using a technique called capnography to assess and treat any issues that are found. Please contact Back Works for a breathing evaluation with David Gilman, Registered Physiotherapist.