*Face palm emoji*
We’ve been breathing since the dawn of time but the majority of people don’t know anything about it. They don’t know what’s normal. They don’t know what’s abnormal. And they don’t know that abnormal breathing can be the cause of your problems from jaw pain to anxiety to reflux.
When I decided that I was going to start working for myself in this area in the middle of a pandemic, I did think to myself………..WHAT. A. LUNATIC.
Actual conversation I had with myself – We’re probably heading for a recession and you’ve decided to offer services (amazing and brilliant and life changing as they are) to a bunch of people who have NO IDEA that their breathing is weird and that it’s making them feel the way they do. Oh, and loads of people have already tried to get this message across in various ways and to various degrees of success. So, the chances of you actually making this work are slim to none?
I mean, yeah, that sums it up quite nicely. Hahaha (nervous laughter).
But I feel really passionate about this, mainly because it affected my life so significantly over the years, and I’m good at making people better. So, I’ll give it a shot anyway.
I’ve been having lots of great conversations with people over the last couple of weeks. Contacting MSK physios, osteos, personal trainers, life coaches and therapists. And most of them are like “this is super interesting, but I need to know more”.
So, my plan over the next few months is to cover all of these basics, how the different parts of how breathing can go wrong, how that might present itself, and most importantly, how to breathe well.
So, what do I do?
Put simply, I fix dodgy breathing patterns. But in reality, it’s far more complicated and important than that.
I teach you how to not get anxious when you’re standing in a queue for the shops. I teach you how to take control of your stress levels. I help you to find your voice again so you can speak publicly with ease and authority. Return your confidence. Get rid of your nagging jaw, back or shoulder pain.
It’s about breathing how we’re meant to. Like how humans are meant to breathe.
It might be not be sexy. In fact, it’s probably a bit boring. The in-vogue stuff we’re hearing a lot about at the moment has an air of the superhuman about it – some sort of mystical, magical power.
That’s not really my style.
I don’t ask you submerge yourself into ice cold water or teach you to hold your breath for 6 days. Sorry. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’re probably better off somewhere else!
I certainly won’t get you sitting crossed legged saying OMMMMMMMMM either. I’m a scientist, a true healthcare professional through and through. But……I like to laugh. I say things I probably shouldn’t. And I tell it like it is. But I’ll listen and take the time to really get to grips with what’s going on with you.
I want to teach everyone what normal breathing should look like. What abnormal breathing is and what it can do to our bodies and mind.
Its basic physiology. A reset button. I teach you to unplug yourself. The old ‘switch it off and on again’.
Ideally, I want to stop people experiencing horrible symptoms. I don’t want people to feel anxious because of their breathing. I don’t want people feeling like they’ve lost control because of their breathing. I don’t want people to experience pain because of their breathing.
I totally understand that achieving this would put me out of a job, but I’d rather that than people having to live with a bunch of awful symptoms that can seriously impact their quality of life.
Breathing isn’t spoken about in the mainstream health arena and I wonder if it’s because it’s gone a bit way out nowadays. It’s viewed as hippy dippy, mumbo jumbo. It’s lost its medical importance. We need to change the narrative.
If we don’t breathe well then we don’t function well. I think we should teach kids this at school. It’s an actual life skill.
And it’s not just the general public who need to up their breathing game, it’s the entire medical world.
Someone’s asthma symptoms are worse – just give them another inhaler. Errrrrrrrrrr has anyone looked at how they’re breathing? Maybe ask them what’s going on in their life?
Someone’s feeling anxious, losing control – just give them some sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr has anyone looked at how they’re breathing?
Someone sees GP with shortness of breath and palpitations – goes to cardiologist. Nothing wrong. You’re just anxious, try relaxing, maybe some yoga. Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr has anyone looked at how they’re breathing?
Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooo????????? Frantically waving from the side lines.
Yes, some people do need a new inhaler or anti-anxiety meds, but it shouldn’t always be the first or only port of call. At times I could scream. Big pharma is laughing!
This crazy busy, everchanging world we live in is pushing humans so far from what we are and should be. We never switch off, we’re losing meaningful connections (particularly in the isolation of the covid world) and we’ve lost our connection with the world, with nature. I genuinely believe we’ve forgotten how to human.
We have to turn off daily. We have to turn ourselves off and on again daily. And we can do that with proper breathing and relaxation.
My aim is to teach you how. Many people can follow the basic advice I’ll post but for those who are really struggling or who have significant symptoms you must be assessed properly by someone who is a specialist in treating breathing pattern dysfunction.
But, if you have symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations or shortness of breath, your GP must rule out any serious underlying cause. Don’t just assume it’s breathing dysfunction.
But what I’d like you all to do is start paying attention to your breathing. Is it through your nose or mouth? Does your nose feel blocked? When you breathe in does it move your chest or diaphragm (tummy) more? How does your breathing feeling feel when you’re stressed or anxious? Does it change? Is it deep or shallow? Are you sighing or yawning loads? Are you carrying lots of tension in your body? Is your jaw clamped shut or your shoulders up around your ears? Get familiar with it.
Spend some time becoming aware of your breathing and your body. And if you want to know if it’s right, check in next week because I’ll be talking about ‘normal’ breathing. Because if we don’t know what’s normal then we don’t know when we’re doing it wrong!