I own a chiropractic clinic in Memphis Tennessee, and I did a little self-study at my clinic for one month. I asked my patients to fully relax; take a deep breath in; and then out. Of the 175 people, only 10 people correctly knew how to breathe. I took this as a huge red flag. What is causing us to be so out of tune that we are forgetting how to properly breathe? A function that our body does at a minimum, 17,000 times a day. Yes, that is 17,000 times a day. That’s not counting all the panic attacks people have, or the daily stressors that shorten the breath and make people breathe more frequent and shallow. If this is you, you could be breathing up to 30,000 times a day. That is almost double, yes DOUBLE! Do you know how much more energy and resources our body must come up with just so we can breathe?
What if we could all breathe correctly?
Think of what your body could do if you saved up all the energy from properly breathing. Do you think your shoulder pain might go away? Or your chronic knee pain? Or how about your digestion issues. Maybe it could help you sleep better at night? Anger issues? Chronic Anxiety? The list goes on; and the medical field never addresses, or cares to find the root problem of a condition. They simply treat the symptom at hand by adding in something. This usually is a pharmaceutical, or better known as a drug. It is very common in this day to continually add things in to treat symptoms, where maybe if we take a step back and CHANGE some of our existing habits, we could slowly fix the problem at the root cause. Yes; I did say slowly. Nothing is easy in life, and things take time to change. If you have been breathing inefficiently 30,000 times a day for 5 years, it is going to take a few reps to change it back. How long it takes you to change your habit solely depends on your determination to change the habit. YOU are the only person that can change YOUR habits, no one else.
How to properly breathe!
So, how are we supposed to breathe? Well the answer is to go back to the very beginning. Yes, when we were all babies. At this age, we are not influenced by environmental factors and we are just eating, sleeping, breathing and pooping. Have you ever watched an infant breath? Do they breathe shallow and at the neck? No, they rarely do. They are belly breathers and this is how we should breathe. I want you to do an exercise; lay on your back; take one hand and put it on your stomach; take the other hand and put it on your chest. Now, take a deep breath in. Which hand moved first? The hand on your stomach should have been pushed up and out while the hand on the chest should have slightly moved up at the very end of the inhale. It should look like a wave starting down at your abdomen and ending up at your chest. Now during the exhale, it should do the opposite. How did you do? Of the 175 people, only 10 did that correctly in my office. The other 165 people sucked in their stomach during inhale and the hand on the chest was the only one to rise. When I told them to do it correctly they had to think really hard about doing it. Most people couldn’t even do it at first. This isn’t good
Why are we changing the way we breathe?
Our breathing is closely related to our mood or how we feel. If we are feeling good and relaxed we are breathing nice and low, but if we are fast paced and stressed, it is usually high and shallow. Our society has led us to become more fast paced, because everything is a contest. We need to push ourselves and become the best or someone else will beat us. This leads us to become more stressed on a daily basis. Thus, leading us to become more shallow chest breathers. 100 years ago there weren’t nearly as many chronic conditions because chronic conditions take time to develop. Has the age of technology pushed us to become more shallow breathers? In-doing so creating more chronic conditions? I believe this to be a major contributing factor to the decline in health and wellness. We are forgetting how to do common functions and are driven to much by fear and competition that we never stop and take a moment to be present and breathe!