Breathing to Live- Proper breathing to live longer and healthier!
Ever been to a yoga or a meditation class and hear the instructor asking you to breathe through your stomach? I knew that breathing through your stomach was beneficial to one’s health in that it was supposed to help relax the body and make you a happier person overall but never truly understood the logic behind it. After some thoughts and research, I have now learned why this specific action can have long lasting health benefits! There are two BIG reasons why this type of breathing is beneficial to your health. In this post, we will discuss how it helps your internal organs.
First let’s take a look at a dome shaped muscle that sits beneath the lungs called the diaphragm. It is chiefly responsible for aiding in the expansion and contraction of the lungs to ensure proper breathing. Within this muscle, there are many blood vessels from the heart along with two major nerves that passes through it. The two nerves that come through this muscle have important, unique roles to the body. One of the nerves called the phrenic nerve, controls the function of the diaphragm (expansion and contraction of the lungs). The other nerve, very vital to human living, is called the vagus nerve. This nerve, considered the longest cranial nerve, begins from the brain travels through the neck and diaphragm, connecting to all the internal organs of the body. It is the essential link between the human brain and the rest of the body i.e. it helps with the proper functioning of all internal organs of the body!
Since the diaphragm is a muscle, it performs optimally when it is in its natural relaxed state. It is also at this state that the muscle can stretch to its fullest and further enhance its own functions. A simple way to look at it is, if the diaphragm is stretched and functioning properly, the internal organs work at its peak. This is because the vagus nerve is not impinged. In contrast, if the diaphragm is malfunctioned due being weak and stiff, the vagus nerve will be pinched and the rest of body will not function at its utmost capacity.
Unfortunately, due to our current working and studying environment, the diaphragm is often constricted and becomes inflexible. With many office and school work environments having improperly sized furnitures and equipments, many people tend to develop a ‘forward flexion’ posture where the neck, the shoulder, chest, and upper back all curved or hunched forward. Added to this, people with these postures tend to ‘slouch’ when they sit and walk with their feet flared outwards.
With the ‘forward flexion’ posture, the upper half of the body is curved forward causing the diaphragm to be in a contracted position and making it very difficult to fully expand. When this occurs, the vagus and the phrenic nerves are pinched, limiting their proper function in the assistance of the digestion and respiration. Added to this, the diaphragm also has an important role in the absorbing oxygen intake to the body, specifically in how we breathe. It is responsible for the expansion of the lungs. When the lungs are limited in their expansion, the heart rate increases causing cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure.
Fast Relief Acupuncture has a very safe and effective treatment protocol in assisting/ guiding the body to naturally fix its posture along with the functional improvement of the diaphragm. The treatment consists of properly aligning the patient’s body along by releasing/ relieving any restricted muscles that can hinder a patient from standing upright. It is gentle, effective, and importantly can have long lasting results without the use of chemical substances or invasive surgeries. Call today and get back into the game FAST with Fast Relief Acupuncture!
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