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Nose Breathing

Nose Breathing -

Did you know that on average, we all take between 12-20 breaths per minute…that’s between 17,000 and 30,000 breaths PER DAY!! This is just when you are at rest.

Okay…? But why should we care?

Often we use accessory muscles to assist with getting the air in.

Isn’t that a good thing?

No. No it is not a good thing. If we rely on our accessory muscles (which are usually much smaller and not equipped for the job) they end up working much harder than they have to.

This creates repetitive USE –> which leads to OVERUSE –> and continues down a path of MISUSE –> until eventually ABUSE is the end result.

Think of it this way….if you did anything 17,000 times, something is bound to break down, right?

The same holds true with the accessory muscles. With the excess tension that is created, compounded by decades of misuse, eventually something will go wrong.

So how SHOULD we breathe?

When you inhale through your mouth, you almost always will recruit the inefficient accessory muscles (i.e. neck or shoulders)

This is often why your upper trapezius, the muscles on the nape of your neck are so tight.

When you inhale through your nose you begin to recruit the correct sequence of muscles. Also, it isn’t JUST about the inhale, it is about the exhale. Getting the air out allows you to become MORE efficient on the very next breath.

Be mindful on your breathing: (Try this – Ideal position is lying on your back with your knees flat and no pillow)

  1. Inhale IN through your nose and exhale through your mouth (exhale should be 2-3 times longer than your inhale)
  2. Place your hands on the bottom of your ribs. Use your hands to help guide the ribs downward toward your spine
  3. Pause for 3 seconds (so your brain can “feel”)
  4. Softly inhale without allowing your ribs to come back up (put the air SOMEWHERE ELSE)
  5. Perform this in sets of 10, each exhale becoming more mindful and aware of your anterior ribs approximating toward your spine.

Click here to talk to a professional

Deanna at Centered Physical Therapy focuses on realigning your body with your breath!

Dr. Deanna Elliott, DPT


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