P is for Pelvic Floor

Your pelvic floor is a hammock or sling of muscles found in the base of your pelvis. Our pelvic floor supports the bowel, bladder and in women, the uterus, all the while, playing a role in supporting the spine. The combined forces of the pelvic floor muscles form a supporting mechanism for the pelvic viscera from below – imagine interlocked fingers cradling a bowl. This hammock of muscles also interacts with the diaphragm when the abdominal pressure inside changes – as happens when we breathe. Breathing can be affected by a weak pelvic floor, possibly contributing to dysfunctional breathing patterns. We … Continue reading

Breathing, Stress and how to Chill Out

In our article titled “O is for Overbreathing” we talk about how dysfunctional breathing patterns can affect emotional and physical factors – sleep, mood, recovery from exercise, and indeed performance during exercise. Since qualifying as a Personal Trainer, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many people over the course of several months, and often years. In this time, I have witnessed the typical cycles of life – the joy of birth, grieving, stress accompanying job changes and house moves, to mention a few. What I have come to learn is that throughout happy and sad times, most of … Continue reading

Breathing, your diaphragm and strength training

Is it your legs or lungs that give out first when you are running? It used to be a combination for me, but lately it’s swayed towards my lungs. I find that my legs feel as though they could run forever (obviously not if I’m sprinting) but my lungs just can’t suck enough air in. On a run the other day I recalled how Mo Farah’s face looked at the end of the Great North Run…mouth wide open, gulping in air as he pushed his body to the limit seeking that first place finish. You could see him desperately trying … Continue reading

X is for Xiphoid Process

The Xiphoid Process is a small piece of cartilage which is located at the very bottom of your sternum – the breast bone. Although technically a joint, the cartilage and bone of the sternum become fused together in adults, so it really is just a small protrusion. But, it is important, because your diaphragm, rectus abdominal and transversus thoracis muscles attach onto it. As massage therapists we frequently treat muscles associated with breathing – which includes the diaphragm. Any point where a muscle attaches is a potential area for tightness, adhesions or scar tissue to develop and soft tissue therapy … Continue reading

O is for Overbreathing

“Proper breathing at all times is important. If breathing is not effective, the ability to exercise is compromised. Breathing patterns, both functional and dysfunctional, are a direct link to … mood, feelings, and behaviour. Especially when working with athletes, the breathing function may be a causal factor in many soft tissue symptoms.” Sports & Exercise Massage, Sandy Fritz. With dysfunctional breathing, the muscles which attach onto the ribs will frequently become shortened, and incorrect upper chest breathing patterns result. The outcome of this can be chronic overbreathing and overbreathing pattern syndrome symptoms. Which, as Sandy Fritz states so well in … Continue reading

Massage for vocalists

Vocals. They are our natural instrument with which we can interact with the world. Some of us do that in delightful ways, entertaining us with singing or acting, and others still inspire us with lectures and teachings about the world we live in. We all communicate with our voice, and the creative ones amongst us use their voice as their instrument. But why is massage therapy important if you use your voice to earn your living or entertain people? Just as a dancer or athlete seeks out regular maintenance massage, a vocal artist should also consider this as a tool to … Continue reading