After all, you are still alive, so you must be breathing correctly, right?
In reality, the way we breath has a significant impact on our general health and wellbeing.
Nobody teaches us the right way to breathe when we are young, so we often develop bad habits.
However, it is possible to retrain ourselves to breathe better.
Read on to learn why it’s important to breathe correctly, and how something as simple as a chair massage can help you...
The correct way to breathe is to use the entire diaphragm. Known as abdominal or belly breathing, this type of breathing supports optimal blood flow, helps the lymphatic system operate correctly, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure.
However, many of us don’t breathe deeply into our diaphragms. We may only use our chest cavity, and some barely get the air past their nasal passages!
These restricted breathers lack oxygen, which can impact multiple systems in the body.
To see what kind of breather you are, lie down with one hand over your chest and the other over your belly button. Breath normally. If only the hand on your chest rises, you are not breathing to full capacity.
Symptoms of incorrect breathing
If you are someone with chronic incorrect breathing problems, you may experience increased anxiety, changes to your blood pH level, and be more sensitive to pain and nervous system problems.
There are numerous other symptoms, including:
- Lower back or neck pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Blood glucose disorders
- Calcium and magnesium deficiencies
- Cold extremities
- You may notice that you sigh or yawn a lot, as your body tries to get more air into the lungs. Your breathing may be more rapid, and it’s hard to hold your breath for very long.
How Massage Can Encourage Better Breathing
When you are stressed or anxious, you tend to take shorter, shallower breathes.
Over time, the muscles around your neck, shoulders, ribs and even abdomen become tight (but no, it doesn't give you abs), making it harder to breathe correctly.
The forward head posture that is almost a natural state of sitting nowadays due to computer screens, actually hinders you from take a deep breath. As your head goes forward, your shoulders automatically comes up. This means that you cannot physically take a deep breath from the diaphragm, and therefor you start to rely on your secondary respiratory muscles, the scalene, the pec minor and the SCM. This now makes the smaller muscles that were only assisting with breathing, the primaries.
This is how tension starts to build up in the shoulders (static position) and in the neck (over working).
Massage can directly relax these important respiratory muscles, allowing your body to naturally take in more air. Massage can also help improve your posture (due to relaxed muscles being able to move again). When you stand upright with your shoulders back and chest open, the lungs can operate optimally with no restrictions (as long as the chin is pushed back.
Because we are often too busy to literally stop and take a breath, we probably don’t even notice that our minds are racing, our bodies are full of tension, and our breathing is rapid and shallow. However, when we put it all aside during a massage, we once again connect with our body.
Taking time out from your hectic life for even a 15-min chair massage, can begin to relax your nervous system. As you become more relaxed, you will notice your breathing automatically slows down and becomes deeper.
The beauty of the chair massage is that in the 15 or 20-min we don't take your nervous system fully into the autonomic nervous system, so you will feel relaxed and can breathe better, but your mind is still alert enough to go back to work (yeah, sorry about that but you still have to go back to your desk).
Sometimes, this is all it takes to realize we need to make some changes. Once you see how stressed, tired, and tense you are, then notice the difference in your mind and body following a massage, you will pay more attention to your breathing and what else is going on inside your body.
Of course you don't always have time to book a full body massage and take time out of your busy life to attend. So why not let the massage come to you and your colleagues at work? A corporate chair massage session could be the recharge that your team needs to improve your breathing and productivity.
Give us a call at Bodyworkz today to talk about how this might fit in with your team and workplace.
Breathing is much more than just a primary survival function. It affects your thoughts and emotions too. Learning to breathe correctly helps balance your mind and body, helping you better deal with the stresses of daily life!