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 the quote above, can lead to altered emotional and physical factors – or put another way, reduced or poor performance in activities.

Overbreathing can also affect decision-making and can have a negative impact on sleep and recovery. Fatigue can also occur because of dysfunctional breathing patterns.

All of these factors point towards sympathetic dominance which we have discussed in a related article on Overtraining.

Soft tissue therapy for dysfunctional breathing

Soft tissue therapy for dysfunctional breathing

During treatments we are able to assess for functional breathing patterns – or as the case may be, dysfunctional patterns. If we find that there are breathing issues, then as long as there isn’t an underlying condition (e.g. bronchitis), we can work on soft tissues to return breathing patterns to normality. Trying to rectify the breathing disorders without therapeutic intervention may not be effective – the mechanisms of breathing (muscle action) need to be normalised before the disorder can be fixed. During treatments we are also able to educate on the correct way to breath with the aim of preventing the issues arising in the future.

You may also be interested in reading another of our articles “And Breathe!” which also looks at breathing and soft tissue therapy and the benefits of breathing efficiently.

Both Tim and Lynne have attended a course run by the renowned Leon Chaitow, on Breathing Pattern Disorders.

Photograph credit: Dan Lane Photography

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