Breathwork



Nasal Breathing Vs. Mouth Breathing

How should we breathe? Through our nose, mostly. Your nose is designed to warm, filter, and direct air towards the lower lobes of your lungs(richer O2 exchange down there). Your mouth is desgned to dump large amounts of CO2(a metabolic byproduct). Thus, nasal and mouth breathing both have their place, below is a video and a breif synopsis of the roles of each these breathing modalities.

Appropriate Mouth Breathing

  • Elevated emotional states,
  • During brief, intense physical exercise,
  • Recovery from intense physical exercise.


Appropriate Nasal Breathing 

  • Calm emotional states.
  • Mindfullness.
  • Steady state physical exercise.

Chronic Mouth Breathing and Pain

Breathing through your mouth as a habit, when you are not in emotional or physical states that warrant it, is detrimental to your health. As it relates to the musculoskeletal system, breathing through your mouth can lead to the following:

  • Back Pain due to a weakened diaphragm and its role in stabilizing the spine.
  • Neck pain due to chronic use of secondary respiratory muscles. 


What to do?


Introductory Breath practice

  • Find a position of high stability - sitting in a chair with a back or laying on the floor on your back.
  • Breathing through your nose, slowly inhale to a count of 5(decrease the count or increase the count based on your comfort/ability).
  • At the end of your inhale, pause briefly.
  • Slowly exhale to a count of 5.
  • At the end of your exhale, pause briefly.
  • Repeat this breath cycle for 5 minutes.
  • Gradually, increase the time you spend on this exercise.
  • If you started this practice while laying on your back, progress to a supported sitting position. From a supported sitting position, progress to sitting unsupported.


Progressing your practice

  • Sit either supported or unsupported.
  • Breathing through your nose, slowly inhale to a count of 5(increase the count based on your comfort/ability).*
  • At the end of your inhale, pause for a count of 5.*
  • Slowly exhale to a count of 5.*
  • At the end of your exhale, pause for a count of 5.*
  • Repeat this breath cycle for 5 minutes.
  • Gradually, increase the time you spend on this exercise.


*A 5 count is a suggested starting point. Gradually increase this time for any or all of the points during the breath cycle.  


What to do next.........


Questions about breathwork or how to start a daily breath practice? Please schedule a call with a Doctor of Physical Therapy by clicking the link below.

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