top of page

To breathe

Breathing

Our breathing affects basically all our bodily functions. The more efficiently we breathe, the better our body functions and the better we feel. At rest, a frequency of 6 breaths per minute is optimal.  

However, many people breathe significantly faster. This can be caused by haste, unrest or stress, among other things.

Breathing too quickly can itself cause restlessness. This can easily create a vicious circle. It is not that difficult to achieve balanced breathing. It is 'built-in' into the body. 

This is because your own body knows how much breath it needs, you do not need to learn any special technique for this.

If you are just starting out with this breathing exercise, we recommend doing it in a lying position in a space where you feel most comfortable. Later this can be done while sitting at the table, standing in line at the cash register or during a meeting. Feel free to experiment with that.

The most important thing is that you learn to listen to your body.

Therefore this preparation: For the first minute you only have to concentrate on your breathing... Where do you feel movement?... Do you feel movement in the chest?... Do you experience movement in the neck?.... Or feel do you have it in your whole body?....You don't have to change anything, just observe, be curious.

Feel if the movement is smooth or jerky…and again you don't have to adjust, just observe.

"The body is a fluid material, flowing around the breath"

free to Ida Rolf

Breathe calmly for optimal recovery
If you notice that your breathing is not so calm at times, ask yourself what it is that is causing you anxiety at that moment.

Explanation of basic breathing exercise

Follow the next 3 steps: 

  1. Low: start the breathing movement from the abdomen, when inhaling your abdomen bulges slightly, the chest may follow afterwards,

  2. Slow:All you have to do is breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly and then wait until you feel it is time to breathe in again.  

  3. Fewer: try to slowly breathe in a little less air (you can never breathe too little). By 'breathing deeply', 'low' does not mean 'a lot'.

 

Do this for a few minutes and you will feel that the body has found its own calm pace, a pace that provides relaxation and matches exactly what the body needs at that moment. Be aware of how you feel now.

 

For extra relaxation do the following:  

  • Every time you inhale, make a small smile and let it go as you exhale 

  • Think of something or someone you love, that you have warm feelings for 

For extra body awareness: 

Make very small movements on the inhale and release on the exhale, for example: 

  • Raise your eyebrows slightly  

  • Look up a little (can also be done with eyes closed) 

  • Stretch your neck a little 

  • Turn your arms outwards very slightly 

  • Curl your toes 

  • Or while exhaling: pull your pelvic floor in slightly (as if you want to hold in your pee).

 

To see if your breathing pattern is optimal, complete this questionnaire: [click here]

NB: This is a basic form of breathing that brings rest and recovery to most people. But it is not suitable for everyone or at all times. If it doesn't work for you, please contact one fysio therapist or respiratory therapist. Then an adjustment may be desirable.

Slowing down is a good step towards rest and recovery

It appears that nutrition also has an effect on breathing. Sugars and alcohol acidify the body. Besides the fact that this increases the risk of pain from the fascia, it can also lead to overbreathing. It is then an automatic reaction of the brain in an attempt to deacidify as much as possible. Breathing frequently and quickly has the side effect of putting the body in a higher state of stress. Choose a lakealkaline food can contribute to calmer breathing. it is better to do the deacidifying breathing exercise (see below) twice a day instead of overbreathing all day long.

Nose breathing

The mouth is for eating and talking, the nose for breathing. You can of course breathe with your mouth, but this is only intended for situations of heavy physical exertion. The nose is linked to the abdomen, the mouth to the chest. Nose breathing (in and out) has many benefits:

  • it heats, purifies and humidifies the incoming air

  • it intercepts bacteria and viruses

  • it ensures a more regular breathing pattern

  • it promotes oxygen absorption in all tissues (especially important for the brain and muscles)

  • it activates the diaphragm (important for removing waste from the entire body)

Practical tips and links:

  • Pay attention to your breathing every now and then, observe it and see if you can slow it down.

  • If you are unable to... If you have to adopt a calm breathing pattern, you may be hypersensitive to carbon dioxide. As a result, the breathing impulse is delivered too quickly and breathing remains too fast. Then it may be useful to look at the Buteyko breathing method (there are books and therapists). This method is aimed at reducing hypersensitivity. Definitely recommended for people with asthma.

  • Occasional maximum effort is the best incentive for a healthy respiratory system

  • We now talk on average 50% faster than 50 years ago. This can cause overbreathing. Try speaking 10% slower.

  • Watch your breathing with curiosity. When is it a calm wave, when does it accelerate, when does it stall? 

  • Train yourself to relax and breathe more slowly in the cold, this promotes your body's heat regulation. Don't brace yourself for the cold, just see it as a refreshing sensation. 

  • If it feels like there is a lot of tension in your stomach and/or chest, do so these exercises or make an appointment with one fysio therapist. Fascia therapists are trained to make all connective tissue membranes involved in breathing flexible again.

  • Hold your breath (belly in) when you get up from a chair. Then do it again, but this time breathe in calmly when you get up. Feel the difference. Holding your breath creates more tension in the entire body and less stability. True stability relies on relaxation, not tightening.

  • In case of pain: breathe out! Learn to relax, learn to soften.

bottom of page