Why do I tell patients to take a deep breath?
Besides being necessary for our survival, breathing techniques can be used to communicate with different parts of our nervous system.
During short term and acute stress (for example, you slam the brakes suddenly to stop your car), your breathing will increase to get more oxygen into your blood. More blood flow going to your muscles will help you run away from or fight any threats.
These "stress breaths" tend to be quick and shallow. You are mostly breathing into the upper lobes of your lungs.
If you go from this acute stress state into to a chronic, long-term stress state, this shallow breathing will continue and this sympathetic breathing pattern will be your normal.
When your body is in the sympathetic stress pattern, a certain pathway of chemicals are released and your body has a set response....and important things like digestion and healing are put aside.
When you are in a state of relaxation, your parasympathetic nervous system is dominant and your breaths are deep, slow and rhythmic.
Air fills all the lobes of the lungs. You may even see your belly rise and fall with your breathing.
Start by tuning into your breath and noticing the way you breathe. Studying your breathing patterns will give you an indication of the state of your body. While you may or may not feel like you are stressed, you body may still be stuck in a stress pattern.
This is a great time to come in for an appointment so we can change the state of your breath.
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Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization Chiropractic in Ottawa, Canada.