Breathing Exercises: 5 Tips From a Myofunctional Therapist
There are lots of different voices out there today about how to optimize your health. What we eat, drink, sleep, even how much screen time, nature, job fulfilment, relationship quality, etc. It seems like just about everything we do is being scrutinized like never before. But with all that noise, one part of our health that often gets overlooked is our breathing quality.
According to Lung.com 37 million American’s have a chronic respiratory issue, with an estimated 25 million yet undiagnosed cases. That is almost 1 out of 5 people! Yikes! It is obvious that the US is in real need for information and healing when it comes to our relationship with good ole’ Oxygen. It starts with how we intake our air. Once we form good habits with our breathing, we are that much closer to forming healthier patterns in other aspects of life as well. Like, the relationship between body posture and getting good oxygen both come from tongue suction! Who knew right, and you can’t know what you were never taught, so lets talk about breathing exercises!
As a Myofunctional Therapist, RDH, OMT, it is my job to help my patients learn many exercises and routines that will strengthen the entire upper respiratory system, promote proper body chemistry regulation as well as improve sleep, reduce stress, and even tighten your face muscles and jaw line. Too good to be true, not at all, because what I want to tell you about is orofacial myofunctional therapy and utilizes your bodies amazing self-healing and habit forming genetics to undo years of what poor diet, bad posture, and even medical misdiagnosis’ that have been piling up on you. Hope and Healing! So let's talk about breathing!
Tip #1: Lip Seal
Practice keeping your lips closed when you breathe. We’ve all done it, whether it is allergy season or not, keep those lips closed and your nasal cavities will not fill up as quickly through the day. You will feel reduced facial pressure under your eyes, and experience increased hydration levels throughout the day.
Tip #2: Chin Up
It’s not just about confidence, looking straight forward with our chins up actually opens the airway ever so slightly. This can make a big difference! It is like unkinking your garden hose after a long winter, except you won’t need to get all tangled up. Keeping your chin up can ease effort of breathing and reduce acid reflux/heartburn
Tip #3: Head Back
Remember when you saw your family from out of town at Christmas and in that inevitable family photo someone yelled out “stand up straight”, well turns out you should give that person a high five for getting it right! In fact standing up straight and practicing good posture not only help increase oxygen absorption rates but also increases blood flow also. Because standing up straight puts pressure on the right parts of your body and relieves pressure on parts that have been compensating; patients breathe easier, have increased circulation, less chest pressure, and stimulates health hormone release.
Tip #4: Tongue Position
This is the most difficult of all the tips to get down, in fact much of what I do as a Myofunctional Therapist is help my patients improve tongue strength, suction and flexibility. So if you find keeping your tongue suctioned to the upper palate all day to be difficult it might be a good time to think about myo as an option for your health. Individuals who practice keeping their tongue at the roof of the palette experience proper regulation of growth hormones, strengthening of the jaw/jaw line, reduction in fascia tightness.
Tip #5: Breath Into your Belly
Take a deep breath, a real deep breath. The kind that is like a vacation from the moment. Now do it a few times, you have my permission to take a minute for yourself and just breathe deeply into your diaphragm. Do you feel more relaxed? You should and that naturally occurring calming effect you are experiencing is a result of nitrous oxide released when you breathe into your diaphragm. This is the way we should be breathing ALL THE TIME, however shallow breaths have become commonplace and many of us are not getting the body’s natural stress regulation like nature intended. Patients who can breathe into their diaphragm more often experience reduced cortisol, less stress tension, increased focus, and even improvement in mood.
There you have it; 5 actionable steps to improve your breathing and overall wellness. They are small steps but they make a big difference. If you find difficulty with any of these steps or your body isn’t habit-forming these improvements then send me a message and I will customize a program based on your specific needs. Myofunctional Therapy has changed my life and countless others for the better. At any age we can take advantage of what myofunctional therapy can offer. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me, and happy breathing everyone.