Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2021

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 31 The Impact of Breath on the Body Try These Four Techniques By Cindy Williams¦ education | BACK TO BASICS practice on a few of the key systems of the body, as well as an overview of some simple techniques, will encourage you to add it in both contexts. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF BREATH: A SIMPLE VIEW Breath is the movement of air into and out of the lungs. The primary function of breath on a physiological level is the exchange of gases in order to sustain life processes in the body by giving oxygen to the organs and tissues, and removing waste gas. The exchange happens in the lungs as well as in the capillary beds throughout the body. Breath requires the movement of two cavities of the body—thoracic and abdominal. Both change shape in the process of breathing. However, only the thoracic cavity changes in volume as air is pulled into and then released from this space. The diaphragm is the divider between the thoracic and abdominal cavities and is the primary muscle of respiration. When you inhale, the diaphragm flattens, and ribs lift and expand by way of the external intercostals to make room for air to be drawn into the lungs by a suction force. The scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, pectoralis major and minor, and serratus anterior assist this action. Simultaneously, the abdominal cavity descends down and forward, causing the abdomen to swell outward. When the thoracic cavity increases in volume with air, the space of the abdominal cavity has to shift in order to make room, so when an inhale causes the belly to expand, it's a surefire sign that it is deep rather than shallow. While exhalation is primarily passive, when you exhale (especially consciously), abdominal muscles push the abdominal cavity back toward center and up. The diaphragm releases, ribs release, and the rib cage narrows with the help of the internal intercostals. Air is released (and can be consciously pushed) out of the body. The actions of these muscles in the processes of inhalation and exhalation are collectively known as the respiratory pump. WHY DOES IT MATTER? Research into the physiological effects of deep breathing have illuminated significant effects on the respiratory, Sometimes the simplest changes produce the greatest results. We study and study to wrap our minds around complex concepts. While there is nothing wrong with that, sometimes complexity makes us miss the simplicity in front of us. Or, better said, right inside of us. You breathe every second of every day, but likely without placing your attention on it. It just happens. This life-giving force has the power to heal, but often goes under the radar instead of being given the acknowledgment it deserves. It is a tool in your therapeutic toolbox that gets dusty even though its versatility can facilitate the repair of stressed tissues. How often do you bring breathwork into your practice? How often do you bring it into your life? Perhaps a reminder of the vast and profound benefits of this simple

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