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Proper Respiratory Patterns & Breathing

by | May 2, 2019

Breathing is something that we do everyday that effects how we feel and most of ups don’t even know it. Dysfunctional breathing can contribute to problems of overall health and neuromusculoskeletal problems. Poor breathing can be related to problems with motor control and movement, balance and even decreased thresholds of pain. There are several schools of thought in yoga, meditation and martial arts on how to breathe properly depending on the focus. There are many components to proper breathing and one type of type or assessment will not be complete, but there are steps that people can take to get an idea if their breathing is dysfunctional. Take a look at the video below to get an idea if you are breathing properly while at rest. 

People that have dysfunctional breathing  generally have a hard time regulating core musculature as well. This means that it can contribute to issues related to stabilization and support of the lumbar spine. Abdominal muscles that help with proper breathing are actually some of the same muscles that make up the core. Imbalances in the muscles of the neck, shoulder, spine and pelvis can occur in part due to breathing pattern problems. People that have tenderness in the muscles of the neck and upper back often have issues related to breathing. 

If you are interested in the breathing assessment forms that I mentioned in the video, click on the form below to download it. Fill out the questionnaire to determine if you might have problems with breathing dysfunction. 

Video Transcript

Hello, welcome to Healthy Hints for Harmony. My name is Dr. Bryan Royer, and today we’re gonna talk about breathing. So the first thing that we’re gonna talk about is doing a breath hold. And when we do a breath hold, basically for this, we’re gonna be trying to take a breath in as much as we possibly can, and hold it for as long as possible.

And again, when you do this, this would be something that you’d need to have a stopwatch for. So you can either get out your phone or if you have an actual stopwatch and then basically you want to time yourself. And the way that you’re gonna do it is, you’re gonna take a big, deep breath in. You’re gonna take a breath out and then you’re gonna take another big, deep breath in. And the second time you’re gonna hold your breath for as long as you possibly can.

So again, you would clamp down on your nose, you would hold it, and then you’re gonna basically struggle to hold it as long as you possibly can. Again, you take the deep breath in, deep breath out, deep breath in, and on that second deep breath in basically you’re going to hold onto your nose and gonna time it from once you get to that full inspiration. And you’re gonna see from there.

You should be able to hold that for at least 35 seconds. If you hold it for less than that, then you probably have something that’s going on. But ideally you want to be able to hold that for 60 seconds. So that’s something that can give you an idea. If you’re in between that 35 to 60 seconds kind of window, then there’s probably some things that you can do in order to improve your breath just by doing some breath training.

So, when it comes down to it, the way to assess whether or not someone’s breathing correctly is to take a look and see, and actually watch them breathe. So this is something that you can do to yourself. So go ahead and bring your legs up. So you just want your knees bent, just so you can take a little bit of the curve out of the lower back a little bit. And then go ahead and put your hand on your belly, and the other hand on your chest.

And then, this is gonna be something that you’re gonna do just to be able to see what’s going on. So, first thing is, just go ahead and take a big breath in for me, and blow it out. Good. Go ahead and do it again. And out. Now, again, you’ll notice that when she’s doing it again, she’s breathing more with her chest. And, technically, this would be something that would be not what you want. You don’t want the chest to be dominant when it comes to breathing. You want the belly to be dominant.

The other thing that you’re looking at is that you you’re looking to see whether or not you have a paradoxical breathing. So, sometimes people can actually breathe in, and when they breathe in their belly will actually sink in. And that’s not what we want. We don’t want the chest expanding and the belly coming in.

So again, we’ll have her go ahead and breathe in again, just normal breath. And out. Good. And again, you can see that there’s more chest movement, than there is belly movement. So the way that you would try to work on this, and then there’s multiple different steps to this, and we’ll show a different one here in a second. But, what I’m gonna have you do is go ahead and just try to breathe in just with your bell. Hold onto your chest, and just try to tighten up your chest and make it so that your chest isn’t moving. And go ahead and blow it out. Excellent. Good. Now go ahead and take another breath in, just with the chest, and not with the belly. Again, you can see the difference that’s there. Go ahead and let it go.

And when you are really trying to do this is that you want to actually get a full breath in, and you want to get all three areas, the belly, the chest, and actually the back, should be able to expand and do a breath as well. And that’s a little bit more advanced, but we’ll have you go ahead and do enough other one. This time I want you to breathe in with the belly as far as you can. And then breathe in with the chest and expand as far as you possibly can with everything. Good. And then go ahead and blow it all out. Good. So that’s the general way.

One of the ways that sometimes it can actually be something that you can do to change it is, that sometimes people actually have an issue with that. So we’ll actually have you flip over and go face down. Sometimes when people have a hard time doing the other one, this is another one that you can do. So go ahead and just take a normal breath like you were breathing before.

Okay. So that normal, big breath with the belly, go ahead and breathe in with the belly. And again, you can see that moving in through here. And when you do that again, you can feel your belly going into the table, right? Yeah. So this is something you can feel when you’re going face down.

Again, go ahead and try to take a breath in with the chest. And again, this is another way that you can actually kind of take a look. Again, you should be breathing more with the belly or more with the lower back and less with the chest that shouldn’t be dominant. The thoracic spine shouldn’t be dominant when you do this.

So this is one of the different examples of how you can assess for breathing. And, from here, again, it’s trying to work on making the abdominal area be more dominant when it actually comes to taking in breaths. Thanks for watching.


Dr. Bryan D. Royer has been practicing chiropractic medicine in the Toledo area since 2005. He has a specialty in Sports Medicine and is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician® (CCSP®). Dr. Royer is certified as a Graston Technique® Specialist (GTS), a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP) and a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES). He is also a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and he has been voted “Best in Toledo” by readers of the Toledo City Paper five times. 

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