Good Breathing: Detoxify, Relax and Feel Great
By Dr. Molly Casey
Breathing is a pretty important part of life. Without it, you’re sunk. One of the most overlooked aspects of health is the quality of the breath you take. Chiropractors frequently address this with patients because the quality of your breathing directly impacts the quality of your health.
A Good Breath
What, you may be rightly asking, even constitutes a good breath? It’s a slow, deep breath in which, on the inhale, the air is brought down into the belly and the belly expands as the air arrives. The exhale is equally as slow and the belly flattens as the air leaves.
What happens in the body with a good breath? There are numerous processes that are improved with proper breathing. One can safely say that when proper breathing is a regular practice, all aspects of the body function better -- physically and mentally. Here are just a few:
Detoxification - Deep breathing assists the body in detoxifying more efficiently. The lymphatic system is responsible for cleaning toxins and waste from our immune system. We encounter these toxins in many different forms throughout the day. We are bombarded with toxins in ways that go far beyond what most of us are aware of. The lymphatic system relies heavily on proper, deep breathing to move this waste because it doesn’t have its own built-in pump.
Relaxation - The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for the relaxed, easy state that the body is intended to reside in -- and function from -- for the majority of life. Most in our society don’t actually reside in this state, rather they reside in the fight/flight (stressed mode) of the nervous system. Proper deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps mitigate the effects of stress.
Decreasing Pain - Have you ever noticed that when you’re in pain, you hold your breath? Most people do. This is exactly the opposite of what’s helpful for easing the pain naturally. A common direction I give patients is to breathe deeply and imagine breathing directly into the site of the area where they feel the pain. The reason is the breath helps ease pain. Try it next time, you may be amazed.
Chiropractic and Breathing
How does chiropractic assist in your slow, deep breathing? Many ways. The longer answer is that by improving the communication within the nervous system -- which is encased within the spine -- it allows more efficient responses in the musculature needed for breathing. It also assures the greatest amount of motion in the thoracic and rib joints that move during the breathing process. The better the joint motion, the greater the opportunity to take the deepest breath.
Better breathing equals a healthier life. A healthier life equals a better life. Choosing to improve your breathing is a choice to improve your health and your life. Your chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic can teach you what a proper breath looks and feels like, and help maximize your body’s ability to take the most fulfilling breath possible.
Life’s too short to not get the most out of every breath you take.
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