22 Dec 2015 So you think you can breathe
by Declan Clark
For most of us, what we have come to know as breathing is in fact over-breathing. Taking in and breathing out a higher volume of air than our body needs at any given point. So why should this be a problem you may ask. Isn’t lots of deep breathing healthy? It’s a fair question, based on what we think about oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Up to a few years ago, I was firmly in the ‘oxygen good/carbon dioxide bad’ camp with most others. Only now, since studying breathing in more depth, do I understand how valuable and scarce carbon dioxide is for our bodies. This is not to be confused with the CO2 emissions in the environmental news. The way our bodies work, we have to make the CO2 we need and hold on to it for internal use, but with all this deep breathing and over breathing, we lose what we need and this creates symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, snoring, sleep disruption, poor digestion and many, many others.
Our bodies can so easily get into the bad habit of over-breathing without our noticing. We can redress this, but like breaking all bad habits, it takes knowledge, discipline and practise and this is where we as humans are the weak link in the process. Changing the way we breathe is a training and like any training programme, we have to really be ready to make those necessary changes.
Declan’s work focuses on the links between breathing, posture and mobility and how this trinity affects metabolism and vice versa. This wonderful chemistry set that is our body requires careful adjustment for it to work well. Declan’s approach is to identify and change habits, so that long term benefit can be found.
Teaching anatomy, physiology and bodywork for eighteen of his twenty-three years as a therapist is just the start of learning. There is so much more to know and every year brings a new challenge.