It may seem like a silly thing to say, but the majority or people are not breathing properly...what??!!!! I hear you cry.
Some experts think that as many as 9/10 people are using their neck muscles to breathe (secondary helper muscles when it comes to breathing) rather than their powerful primary breathing muscles. This seems to be because of a few factors. When we are in a state of stress we drop our heads forward and use these muscles to pull air into the top of our lungs so we can run away from that tiger. We spend a lot of time in modern day society sitting with our heads dropped forward mimicking this stress posture. We learn our breathing patterns from those around us as we grow and copy our stressed out parents and family....scary, isn't it? Correct breathing helps us sleep better, think better and move better. For those of us in pain or discomfort, it also helps us control and diminish pain sensations. A win all around.
What we need to do is teach ourselves to use the bigger muscles around the bottom of our lungs. When most people take a deep breath in, they can feel themselves grow a bit TALLER when what they should be feeling is they grow a bit WIDER.
A simple way to learn better breathing techniques and strengthen the primary breathing muscles is to sit or lay somewhere quite and relax. Place your hands at the bottom of your rib cage and take a deep breath in, concentrating on making your hands move apart as you breathe in and squeeze together when you breathe out. Do this a few times every day and you will soon find yourself reaping all the benefits of improved oxygen levels and those lovely relax hormones that are released when you are breathing correctly!
If you are spinally strong, you can do some simple stretches to help improve your spine and rib movements. Ask your chiropractor if you are ready for these and add them into your daily routine.