breathing exercises for fibromyalgia

 

Everyone knows that breathing is essential to life but did you know that not everyone does it correctly? There is a tendency among many people to take small, rapid breaths using the muscles of the chest instead of breathing slowly and deeply with the muscles of the abdomen. 

 

This type of shallow chest breathing can cause a broad array of symptoms including mental fog, dizziness, irritability, chest, neck and shoulder pain, digestive problems, irritable bowel, and more.

 

Are Your Breathing Properly?

 

  • Sit up in a chair with your back straight.

  • Place one your hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

  • Breathe normally.

  • Which hand rises up and down the most as you breathe?

  • If your abdomen rises and your chest stays relatively flat, you are breathing properly.

  • If your abdomen barely moves and your chest rises, you are not breathing properly.

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Buteyko Breathing

 

I’ve tried many breathing techniques on myself and my patients and settled on the Buteyko method for four reasons: firstly, it’s very easy and intuitive to do, secondly, it’s backed up by solid scientific theory and research, thirdly, it’s effective for typical fibromyalgia complaints such as pain and sleep disorders, and fourthly, it calms the mind. 

 

Konstantin Buteyko was born about 100 years ago near the city of Kiev. Buteyko commenced his medical training in Russia in 1946 at the First Medical Institute of Moscow. 

 

Part of one of his practical assignments involved monitoring the breathing of terminally ill patients prior to death. After hundreds of hours spent observing and recording breathing patterns, he was able to predict with accuracy, often to the minute, the time of death of each patient. Each patient’s breathing increased as their condition deteriorated and as they approached death.

 

While at University Buteyko was diagnosed with malignant hypertension and was given a life expectancy of just 12 months. One evening in 1952 after suffering an anxiety attack he began wondering whether his deep breathing might be the cause of his condition. He checked this by slowing down his breathing. Within minutes his pain ceased. To confirm this he took five deep breaths and the pain returned. He again slowed down his deep breathing and the pain disappeared.

 

He did not appreciate it at the time, but this was one of the greatest, although as yet largely unacknowledged, medical discoveries of the twentieth century. Buteyko had realized that breathing was the cause of many of diseases of civilization, and thus could also be the cure. 

 

He spent the rest of his life working on the theoretical aspects of his discovery at the Central and Lenin Medical Libraries where he devised a programme to recondition patients to breath correctly. This involved:

  • Switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing.

  • Relaxation of the diaphragm until an air shortage is felt.

 

3 Breathing Exercises

 

The Control Pause

  • Sit down with your back straight

  • Breathe normally for a few minutes

  • After a relaxed exhale, hold your breath

  • Use your index finger and thumb to plug your nose

  • Hold your breath until you feel the urge to breathe and then inhale

  • Breathe normally for at least 10 seconds

  • Repeat several times.

 

Abdomen breathing

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor

  • Place your hands on your abdomen

  • Breathe in through your nose, counting to four. Picture a balloon in your belly that you're inflating with the air you are inhaling. Your hands should rise as your abdomen fills with air

  • Hold the breath for a few seconds

  • Exhale slowly through your nose counting to four. Picture letting the air out of your belly balloon. Your hands should go down as your abdomen deflates

  • Practice this exercise for a minimum of five minutes at a time, at least two or three times a day.

The Maximum Pause

 

  • After a relaxed exhale, hold your breath

  • Use your index finger and thumb to plug your nose

  • Retain your breath for as long as possible, which is usually twice the length of time of the Control Pause

  • Once you’ve reached the point of moderate discomfort, inhale

  • Breathe normally for at least 10 seconds

  • Repeat several times

 

When practicing Buteyko breathing always breathe in and out through your nose. If at any time you experience anxiety, shortness of breath, or intense discomfort, discontinue the practice and breathe normally. As you progress, you may be able to hold your breath for longer periods. Over time, you may be able to hold the Control Pause for 1 minute and the Maximum Pause for 2 minutes.

The Oxygen Advantage

Patrick Mc Keown

 

Patrick McKeown suffered from severe asthma, breathing problems, poor concentration and disturbed sleep. His asthma left him hospitalized and on ever-increasing medication. In the late 1980s Patrick read a newspaper article on the Buteyko method and tried one of the breathing exercises. He was surprised by how well it worked. After a lifetime of breathing problems, this simple experience left a profound mark on him. He ended up traveling to Russia to train with Dr. Buteyko and become a certified teacher of the Buteyko breathing method.

 

A simple yet revolutionary approach to improving your body's oxygen use and increasing your health, weight loss, and sports performance - whether you're a recovering couch potato or an Ironman triathlon champion. With a foreword by New York Times best-selling author Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Achieve more with less effort: The secret to weight loss, fitness, and wellness lies in the most basic and most overlooked function of your body - how you breathe. One of the biggest obstacles to better health and fitness is a rarely identified problem: chronic overbreathing. We often take many more breaths than we need without realizing it, contributing to poor health and fitness, including a host of disorders, from anxiety and asthma to insomnia and heart problems.

In The Oxygen Advantage, the man who has trained over 5,000 people - including Olympic and professional athletes - in reduced breathing exercises now shares his scientifically validated techniques to help you breathe more efficiently. Patrick McKeown teaches you the fundamental relationship between oxygen and the body then gets you started with a body oxygen level test (BOLT) to determine how efficiently your body uses oxygen. He then shows you how to increase your BOLT score by using light breathing exercises and learning how to simulate high-altitude training, a technique used by Navy SEALs and professional athletes to help increase endurance, weight loss, and vital red blood cells to dramatically improve cardio fitness.

Following his program, even the most out-of-shape person (including those with chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma) can climb stairs, run for a bus, or play soccer without gasping for air, and everyone can achieve:

 

  • Easy weight loss and weight maintenance

  • Improved sleep and energy

  • Increased concentration

  • Reduced breathlessness during exercise

  • Heightened athletic performance

  • Improved cardiovascular health

  • Elimination of asthmatic symptoms

  • And more

 

With The Oxygen Advantage, you can look better, feel better, and do more - it's as easy as breathing.

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