An enormous amount of energy has been spent on research for a better means of preventing/treating cardiovascular disease, the #1 cause of death. Reliance on medical saviors obscures the simple fact that our own breathing habits may be the most important determinant of coronary health. This failure to recognize the value of learning to breathemore fully is unfortunate because we are thereby forfeiting a powerful means of maintaining heart health.
Efficient breathing requires effortless expansion of the thoracic area drawing air into the lungs. Muscle tension in any of the muscles which affect the ribs and breastbone reduce expansion. For example, many adults hold their abdominal muscles tight on inhalation, thus inhibiting the depth of thoracic movement. The shallow more rapid breathing style produced causes hyperventilation syndrome, characterized by elevations in blood pressure.
Essential hypertension (80-90% of cases) is persistently high blood pressure not due to any identifiable medical pathology. Hypertension is associated with substantially increased risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. The links between habitually shallow breathing, chronic high blood pressure and the incidence of cardiovascular disease are well known.
We can learn to improve our respiratory habits, breathe easier and reduce our disease risk. A field of study and practice known as Somatics has developed in recent years, as discoveries in neuroscience and biofeedback have shed light on the internal self-regulatory abilities demonstrated by students of so-called “mind-body” disciplines (yoga etc.). A wealth of learning in methods of intelligent self-care and healing await those willing to take responsibility for their own well-being.
David MacDougall MA LMT is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain. He will offer an Intro workshop “What is Somatics?” at One Big Roof on Sat. Oct. 13th, 10:30-11:30am. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, join us for “Somatic Self-Care,” and learn an easy to practice set of somatic exercises that will enable you to reduce unwanted muscle tension and restore/maintain comfort and ease of movement with 10-15 minutes a day of pleasurable movements. Finally, on Dec. 3rd, Dave teaches us “A Somatic Approach to Better Breathing.” Contact Dave to register.