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BreathWorks

How many times has someone told you to take a deep breath, only to find that you feel worse? The common misconception of taking a “deep breath” often includes a big inhale, expanding your chest, and elevating your shoulders. However, this is not truly deep, nor effective in oxygenating our system. A true healthy breath is deep in the diaphragm and abdominal region while being gentle and quiet. It also emphasizes the exhale portion of the breath to facilitate oxygen delivery in our body. Both the inhale and the exhale are gentle and adjusted to only what you need in the moment.

The strain of our everyday lives may affect our ability to maintain a harmonious breathing pattern, and may be further aggravated by acquired habits and postures.  We can support healthy breathing by increasing our internal awareness of the demands of our body during work, play, while sitting, standing, perceiving, thinking, talking and interacting. This includes noting the tensions and potential negative habits, which can drain our energy and affect our mind, body posture and breath.

It is important to stop frequently, both during rest and activity, to ask “What breath do I need?” In this moment of pause creates the opportunity to reflect on “How am I being?”  To ask whether you’re holding your breath, breathing too fast or shallow, clenching your teeth, carrying unnecessary tension, or dropping your chest.  Then you may allow yourself to finally flow back to that free, gentle and harmonious breath. The more often you ask the question, the easier it becomes to identify your triggers and to return to your relaxed breath.

Improve your breathing with BreathWorks

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What Conditions May Benefit From BreathWorks?

    • Chronic Pain and fatigue
    • Stress/Anxiety
    • Neck or Back Pain
    • TMD (temporomandibular disorder or jaw pain)
    • Scoliosis or other spinal/ribcage changes
    • Recurrent injuries
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches

What To Expect:

    • Program participants can expect 3-6, 30-60 minute visits. Visits are typically spaced 1-3 weeks apart.
    • Please wear comfortable clothes, as breathing is a whole-body activity.
    • Home programs will include a mix of educational material, exercise, and activities.
    • We may work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals who are also addressing breathing, as well as sleep disorders. This frequently includes dentists, nutritionists, and physicians.

Healthy breathing requires much less breath than you think you need and often is improved with a gentle focus on your exhale. 

Less is More: The Story of CO2

Breathing less means that we build up more CO2 and take in less oxygen. Believe it or not, that equates to our cells getting more oxygen.

Breathing Basics:

When we breathe in, we inhale oxygen to our lungs all the way down to the alveoli. These are little air sacs where oxygen is then transferred into the blood stream via hemoglobin on the red blood cells. The oxygen is then transported via our arteries to all the organs and tissues in our body. Once it’s arrived at those tissues, the oxygen should be released for us to use. The hemoglobin exchanges the oxygen for the carbon dioxide byproduct of using the oxygen from the last trip and brings it back to the lungs for you to exhale.

That is how it SHOULD work. It doesn’t always function properly.


The Importance of pH:

The oxygen won’t be released when it gets to the tissues UNLESS the pH balance of your blood is ideal. If the pH is too low or too high, the hemoglobin will hold onto the oxygen and NOT release it to the tissues that need it. If this happens, we get symptoms of dysfunctional breathing that can range greatly. This could include: air hunger, sighing, pain/fatigue, increased muscle tightness, dizziness, headaches, tingling, chest pain, anxiety/panic, change in blood pressure, etc.

The pH depends on both your kidney function (which is very slow to change) and your breathing (which can change very quickly). More specifically, it depends on your carbon dioxide. If you have too much or too little carbon dioxide then you won’t be able to use the oxygen you inhaled.

The connection between pH, kidney function, and carbon dioxide is shown in the Henderson-Hasselbach or H-H equation:

pH = kidney bicarbonates / carbon dioxide

BreathWorks graphic

 

 

 

BreathWorks_Exercise

Are you a good candidate for BreathWorks?

Take the Nijmegen Questionaire to objectively identify the possible presence of breathing dysfunction.


Patient Education Resources:

Phase 1: BreathWorks Overview

Phase 1: A Case for Nosebreathing

Phase 1: Less is More_The Story of CO2

Phase 1: The Diaphragm

Phase 1: The Real Deep Breath

 

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