More important than eating or sleeping
Nothing changes how you feel faster than how you breathe. Just a few seconds of shallow breathing will have an immediate effect on your state of mind, your body’s pH and on how tense your muscles are. When we get stressed, fearful, overtired or overwhelmed, one of the first things is that your breathing changes, usually without even your realising it. Once you have been taught to recognise this pattern you can start to change it.
How is my breathing?
Am I hyperventilating?
I know how to breathe, I’ve been doing it all my life!
You might be surprised how many people, perhaps including yourself, have very poor breathing habits and don’t realise it. Breathing quickly and shallowly from the upper chest, rather like panting, is called hyperventilation and is what leads to most people’s panic attacks. Overbreathing is like a long drawn-out version of this, like a prolonged panic attack, but less severe and can last weeks or even months. When someone has a habit of breathing poorly like this and it is causing him or her distressing symptoms, we call this Breathing Pattern Disorder.
How can breathing possibly cause all my symptoms?!
Breathing poorly is a bad habit, just like poor posture, not a disease. We understand that if we stand or sit badly for a long time we might get something like neck pain. So it follows that if we breathe badly for some time that this could cause problems as well, even if this is not the cause of all your symptoms. Change the breathing habit and your symptoms will change as well.
So all I need to do is breathe differently?
Basically, yes. But this needs to be done in the right way or the results wont stick. We carefully assess your breathing pattern using four methods: observation of movement, with Nijmegen analysis, with a machine called a Capnometer and through symptom reporting. All of this gives us a clear understanding of your current breathing pattern and how it needs changing. We then take you through breathing retraining to correct the breathing pattern now and in the future. This is know as Capnometry Assisted Respiratory Training (CART).
Symptoms that may be due to poor breathing habits include:
- General anxiety
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Weakness, fatigue, tiredness
- Light headiness, giddiness, dizziness
- Headaches, neck and upper body aching/pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pains
- Dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, lump in throat
- Colds hands and feet, numbness, clammy hands
- Tremors, sweating, faintness