Breathing for Better, Safer Surfing Performance – contact me to register – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0425 739 918
Here are details of my upcoming breath coaching course at Stable Base Personal Training and Pilates.
Breathing Dynamics for Sporting Performance and Stress Management/Relaxation
www.takeabreath.com.au OR www.stablebase.com
Tuesday July 2nd, 6pm-9pm @ Stable Base Personal Training and Pilates – 1350B Toorak Rd Camberwell.
A 1/2 day (3 hour) Diaphragmatic breathing course
Led by respiratory therapist and Molokai surfski champion, Tim Altman that will lead you through breath-holds and diaphragmatic breathing techniques and rhythms, including the Wim Hof Method that will maximise your athletic performance and stress management skills by:
- Increasing breath hold time
- Developing advanced aerobic capacity
- Learning how to breathe at lower breathing rates and lower heart rates at high levels of exercise
- Delaying lactic acid onset
- Reducing recovery times between efforts
- Increasing relaxation during exercise
- Allowing greater access to ‘zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during exercise
- Improving relaxation and calmness within minutes
- Improving postural stability
These techniques are also fantastic for preventing and treatments ailments such as asthma and breathing difficulties; anxiety; snoring and sleep apnoea; IBS, reflux and other digestive complaints; fatigue; chronic pain; headaches and migraines.
They are simple to learn, and don’t take long before you will notice a difference.
The Mouth is For Eating, Drinking, Talking, Singing, Kissing, but Only For Breathing in Emergencies – Not All of the Time!!
Based on how the anatomy and physiology of our respiratory system is set up, and the biochemical principles that describe how oxygen in the air we inhale in our lungs, most efficiently arrives at the individual cells in our body (via the bloodstream) for energy production (described in intimate detail by ‘The Bohr Effect’, for which Danish biochemist Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize in 1903), it is beyond question that the nose is specifically designed for breathing. Not the mouth.
Yet, most of us do not realise or understand how important this is. We take our breathing for granted thinking it is fine, yet the vast majority of us over-breathe using our mouth as well as our nose, breathing twice as often as we should (based on medical diagnostic norms) and with far too much volume.
The mouth is for eating, drinking, talking, drinking, kissing, but is only useful for breathing in emergencies. But not breathing.
Your breathing is as, or more important than nutrition for your health and performance, so there are consequences to mouth breathing:
- Too much volume of air leads to too little energy – mouth breathing allows up to six times the volume of air to enter our lungs and respiratory system, which seriously upsets the delicate biochemical balance that governs how efficiently we get oxygen to our cells for energy production (mentioned above). If you breathe with your mouth open or with parted lips, you will produce energy far less efficiently and therefore get tired more quickly.
- It kicks you into fight or flight mode – when you breathe with your mouth it puts you straight into emergency mode. For example, when someone gives you a fright, you take a big gasp which involves a big mouth breath using the chest and shoulders. This puts you straight into ‘fight or flight’ mode, but is only useful in short bursts. As such, mouth breathing a lot will wear you out. A lot.
- You by-pass an incredible air-conditioning process – for respiration to work efficiently, the air reaching the lungs needs to be filtered, disinfected, humidified and heated or cooled. Breathing through the nose does exactly this. The nasal hairs filter the air, the mucus in the nose and sinuses disinfect, humidify and heat or cool the inhaled air. If we by-pass this incredible air conditioning system by mouth breathing we make the lungs work harder, expose ourselves to higher risk of respiratory tract infection, minimise oxygen uptake in our lungs, and reduce energy production.
- Much less nitric oxide – nose breathing leads to 50% higher production of nitric oxide than mouth breathing. Nitric oxide acts as a neurotransmitter, immunoregulator and vasodilator, particularly in the gut and lungs. Some of its’ actions include: regulating blood pressure, boosting the immune system, fighting bacteria and viruses, fighting cancer, increasing blood flow to cells, in muscular control and balance, and protecting against cardiovascular disease, impotence, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Over breathing – nose breathing contributes to over-breathing, or breathing too often as well as with too much volume. The body’s reaction to counter this is either apnoea episodes or constriction and spasm of the smooth muscle surrounding our breathing tubes (this reaction is typical of symptoms seen in asthma and breathing difficulties). Unfortunately this can create a flow on affect and affect other systems in our body serviced by tubes contributing directly to, or predisposing us to a number of ailments: fatigue, asthma and breathing difficulties, snoring and apnoea, headaches and migraines, anxiety, IBS, reflux and other digestive complaints, chronic pain and many more.
Put simply, mouth breathing is far less efficient, and it will make you more tired – and sick. Don’t do it unless it’s an emergency.
Contact me via email email@example.com or phone 0425 739 918 to have your breathing efficiency assessed or to learn how to breath more efficiently to eliminate illness, enhance performance or increase relaxation and wellness.
ABC National Radio Interview on Breath Coaching with Joel Spry
A recent radio interview on ABC National radio with Joel Spry, a former client, now good friend of mine with whom, we used a combination of MIckel Therapy and Breath work to overcome IBS, anxiety and CFS. Interview linked at the bottom.
We discussed breath coaching and many things breathing related – that most of us don’t breathe correctly; we over-breathe. The consequences over over-breathing, including:
- Lack of energy
- Apnoea episodes
- Constriction of our breathing tubes as we see in asthma and breathing difficulties
- Constriction in other tubes in our body, as seen in IBS, reflux and constipation, which are so often worse when we’re stressed and we breathe more rapidly.
We also discussed the affect of slouching whilst we’re sitting on our breathing; why we over-breathe in the first place; and what we can do now to correct this.
Finally, we finished with a simple diaphragmatic, nose breathing exercise.
See www.takeabreath.com.au or www.timaltman.com.au for more details.
Can Breathing Retraining Help To Resolve Ailments Such As Anxiety, IBS, Sinusitis and Psoriasis?
Woman – 65 y.o.
Anxiety – prone to anxiety regularly. Her osteopath (who referred her to me) says that she has an extremely tense body to touch – especially shoulders.
Also IBS < stress. Takes a probiotic daily. Stiffness and pain in neck and shoulders – unable to turn head around without pain. Polymyalgia rheumatica -> discomfort. Arthritis in hands.
Member of weight watchers.
Recently has had lots of sinusitis, and congestion in upper chest/throat.
Gets tired very easily.
Also psoriasis – very itchy.
Read my book on breathing and thinks she over-breathes.
As a 14 y.o. had severe asthma – in children’s hospital for a year. Did postural drainage (was called nervous asthma) and lots of deep bx. No longer has asthma.
Sleep – thinks she bx’s rapidly – almost panic. Thinks it affects sleep. Sometimes has trouble with sleep. Wakes with a dry mouth. Definitely snores. Sleeps on side. Dry mouth in am and during the night. Night time toilet trips – at least 2 per night (for the last 20 years since menopause). No water at night.
Supplements – Magnesium and a probiotic. I suggested also a fish oil (for anti-inflammatory properties, and glucosamine for the arthritis).
Medication – Voltaren cream for arthritis when needed. Previously on steroids for her arthritis, but she discontinued as she gained too much weight.
Looking at her symptom presentation and history, she has a history of issues that can be related to dysfunctional breathing – asthma, sinusitis, anxiety, IBS, poor sleep quality. As such, it is possible that breathing is a major contributor to her current health picture.
Her nutrition is quite good (compared), with very little indication of hypoglycaemia, or fluctuating blood sugar levels, and no clear or significant excesses or deficiencies.
Therefore, correcting her breathing function could go a long way to resolving many of these issues. Her breathing patterns at night; snoring, dry mouth, frequent night time toilet trips, tired in the morning; all indicate mouth breathing whilst she’s sleeping, which is dysfunctional breathing. Linked is an article discussing the importance of breathing for health:
As such, I felt the first priority to assess her breathing efficiency using the capnometer – a biofeedback driven technology used in hospitals to monitor whether a patient is breathing, that measures breathing rate and exhaled carbon dioxide (measured as the volume of CO2 in the lungs at the end of exhalation – end tidal carbon dioxide – ETCO2). My blog, linked below, will discuss the importance of ETCO2 as a parameter in measuring breathing efficiency; however, in short, CO2 in our blood stream governs how efficiently we get oxygen (O2) from the air in our lungs, to the cells of our body for energy production (the purpose of respiration). Whilst oxygen is essential for energy production, without CO2 being present in our arterial blood stream, the oxygen would not be able to get to our cells in sufficient quantity. And given there is only 0.03% CO2 in our atmosphere, we must store it to have access to it. Therefore, it could be argued that CO2 is the limiting factor in respiration.
CO2 is a by-product of energy production, so we make it, and whilst some CO2 is available to us in our venous blood supply (as it makes its way to the lungs to be exhaled), there is not enough here for efficient energy production, so we ideally have a store of 6.5% CO2 in our lungs at the end of exhalation (ETCO2), which translates to 40mmHg partial pressure of CO2 as a minimum ideal for efficient respiration, and energy production. This ETCO2 permeates back into our blood stream to allow the O2 to get to our cells.
So, ideal levels on the capnometer for functional breathing, based on medical diagnostic norms, are 8-10 breathes per minute and an ETCO2 of 40mmHg.
This client’s initial base reading was between 13-16 breaths per minute, which is at least roughly 50% higher than the ideal average of 8-10 bpm.
And her ETCO2 was 30.8-32.0mmHg, so around 25% lower than the minimum ideal of 40mmHg.
This suggests that she breathes at 25-50% below what is considered as functional – which is not at all uncommon. But is sufficient that it will definitely result in reduced energy production, and is likely that it will start to result in symptoms in the body.
On further investigation, I also determined that we needed to address both breathing rate and volume in this client.
Based on these thoughts and the breathing analysis, her only treatment after this initial session involved retraining her breathing so that she could breathe closer to functional levels at all times, including whilst sleeping.
The objectives of treatment were:
1. Breathe through the nose at all times (unless exercising at high levels).
2. Use the diaphragm at all times.
3. Increase tolerance to elevated CO2 (hypercapnia).
4. Reduce rate and volume of breathing to optimise O2 delivery to cells for energy production and allow dilation of airways, blood vessels, GIT etc.
5. Regulate the autonomic nervous system (via the diaphragm) to increase the parasympathetic (PSNS – relax, rest and digest): sympathetic (SNS – fight or flight) ratio.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing rhythms that aimed at having her breathe only through her nose, using her diaphragm only (not chest and shoulders) at rhythms designed to retrain her day to day breathing rhythm. 2-3 x 10 minutes each per day.
2. Preventing mouth breathing at night by keeping the tongue at the roof of the mouth, and/or taping the mouth closed at night using 1 inch porous paper tape; i.e. Micropore tape.
3. Practising breath holds to increase the brain’s tolerance to higher CO2 levels which will result in the body accepting lower breathing rate and volume (and therefore more efficient breathing) more permanently. 3-5 per day at least.
I didn’t make any nutritional changes or add any herbs and supplements at this stage as I wanted her to focus on the breathing retraining. Plus I didn’t want to overwhelm her.
Outcome 1 – 3 Weeks Later
She said she is snoring much less, although she didn’t tape her mouth at night as the adhesive on the tape made her itch. She did concentrate on keeping her tongue on the roof of her mouth as she went to bed prior to sleeping. In addition, she did plenty of breathing rhythms and breath holds – at least the specified amount.
Her overall report was:
• Hasn’t had a night time toilet trip since.
• No dry mouth in the morning.
• She feels much better – more energetic. Much less fatigue at 3pm also.
• She also feels much calmer – less anxiety.
• No hyperventilating or feeling panic when going to bed.
• No clenching of her jaw.
• IBS symptoms much better – no cramps, pain, diarrhoea or constipation.
• Her psoriasis hasn’t been itchy at all, and the scabs on her head have mostly cleared up.
• Her arthritis was bad for 3 days last week – she thinks she overdid it with the gardening. It felt better after a warm shower and Voltaren cream.
Overall, I am not surprised to see results given her history of dysfunctional breathing, but these scope of the results were a very pleasant surprise.
I expected to see results with her sleep related symptoms and quality, anxiety, and possibly with energy levels and her IBS symptoms. Linked is an article and video on IBS and breathing.
However, I was surprised to see such significant results with her psoriasis. It makes sense that functional breathing can help with psoriasis symptoms, as it will create more vasodilation, and therefore more blood and lymph flow to the scalp; plus the diaphragmatic rhythms will help decrease sympathetic (or fight and flight) nervous system activation and dominance, and therefore improve immune function.
A bonus. But we need to see what happens over time. Will these improvements persist?
Capnometry results were also significantly improved – much closer to functional breathing.
Treatment as is.
Outcome 2 – 7 weeks from the start
A persistence in all improvements from last session.
• Still no night time toilet trips or dry mouth in the morning.
• Sleep quality is still good, and no snoring.
• Psoriasis nearly all cleared up – she’d had this for 20 years!!
• No jaw clenching.
• Also, significantly reduced tightness and pain in her neck and shoulders – her osteopath (who referred her to me) is amazed.
• IBS stable – no issues.
• No hyperventilation or panic when she goes to bed.
• Definitely calmer, more relaxed and better energy still. She feels quote distant from her worries now – she was in a family situation that would previously have wound her up, and she didn’t care.
She used to have pain in her ribs that musculoskeletal practitioners had said was cartilage damage, but it has cleared up, so it may have been an issue with tightness in her previously underused diaphragm.
She did have a cold for 3 days that blocked her up and she couldn’t nose breathe, which h she did not enjoy. But she was fine once it cleared up.
Her arthritis is still not great on a cold day however.
I advised her to continue with treatment as is, and take a fish oil, glucosamine, and turmeric for her arthritis.
Outcome 3 – 12 Weeks from the start.
Continuation of all improvements experienced thus far, so she’s very happy.
• Still no night time toilet trips – no urgency even on waking. Her husband is shocked.
• Also, still no jaw clenching at night or dry mouth in the am.
• She thinks he psoriasis is gone – only one tiny spot left.
• Still able to turn her neck around, and no pain in shoulders.
• No IBS symptoms – however if she overeats, gut is not happy with her.
The only thing that has not shifted is her arthritis – although this is manageable using Voltaren cream, or the occasional Panadol osteo if it flares up. Unfortunately she didn’t take the glucosamine, and fish oil I recommended.
She has maintained her breathing exercises now for 3 months, and the improvements in symptoms have now continued, so I am confident that her practice will continue and that she has established a pattern of breathing that will continue to yield these results.
It does not take long to see improvements in clients when implementing functional breathing practices, however it takes 3-4 months of continuous practice to make long term change in the way a client breathes. Once this is achieved, improvements in breathing and associated symptoms (with dysfunctional breathing), are likely to stick. In this client’s case, I believe she has reached this point, so she no longer needs to see me.
Whilst we do not see such significant and widespread changes in all clients when retraining their breathing, I do commonly see similar results, so I was very confident of seeing good results with this client, given her history of symptoms and conditions associated with breathing dysfunction.
I am not legally allowed to make claims that breathing retraining will resolve certain ailments, however I can report on how the client presented at each visit and the treatment strategies I implemented. – as I have done in this case. I’ll let you make your own conclusions on whether the treatment strategy was responsible for the change in symptoms.
And, I am very comfortable in saying again I regularly see similar outcomes or improvements by addressing dysfunctional breathing. Not surprising given that most people breathe dysfunctionally, or over-breathe – twice as often as we should, with far too much volume, using mouth and nose (instead of nose only), and using shoulders and chest instead of the diaphragm.
Breathing has been described by one of the World’s top sports doctors as the last unchartered frontier of exploration for sporting performance, and has certainly started to attract more attention of late, with increasing amounts of research stating to support the evidence for breath training. In fact, the Trek cycling team has just employed a breath coach to work with their professional cyclists.
One of the reasons we started to pay attention to breathing as a modality for improving performance was from the fact that we know that the average person breathes way below diagnostic norms for breathing – the average person breathes twice as often as we should; using the mouth instead of or in addition to only the nose; using chest and shoulders instead of the diaphragm; and we breathe fa too much volume of air. In other words, we over breathe.
By correcting this dysfunction in clinic and the lab has seen a consistent flow of research and clinical evidence as to the efficacy of breath work in treating ailments such as asthma and breathing difficulties, snoring and apnoea, anxiety and depression, fatigue, headaches and migraines, IBS, reflux and other digestive issues, chronic pain etc.
Similarly, correcting this dysfunction, and enhancing the function beyond norms can offer significant improvements in sporting performance for a number of reasons. By learning breathing in and out through the nose only, using the diaphragm to drive breathing you will slow down the rate and volume of breathing at any level of exercise, and will offer the following benefits or advantages:
1. Greater surface area of the lung used for gas exchange – therefore increase oxygen uptake.
2. Increased oxygen delivery to cells, and therefore, energy production – based on the principles of the Bohr effect (as reduced rate and volume of breathing increases blood CO2 and therefore delivery of O2 to cells – see previous videos of mine at my ‘Tim Altman’ Youtube channel or blogs on www.timaltman.com.au. Or my book, ‘Breathing Dynamics’). We have found that you can learn to breathe with nose only during exercise up to about anaerobic threshold (or roughly 90% of max heart rate). But it takes time for the brain to accept higher levels of CO2 – so be patient.
3. As a result of increased O2 delivery to cells, lactic acid onset is delayed.
4. Potential buffering of lactic acid by increased CO2 – as it can be converted to bicarbonate as well as carbonic acid.
5. Increased brain tolerance to CO2 allowing for longer breath holds (for surfers etc), reduced breathing rate & volume, leading to greater breathing efficiency.
6. Increased core stability via the role the diaphragm plays in core stability.
7. Reduced heart rate during exertion resulting in further efficiency benefits – because, of all of the automatic functions in our body (controlled by the autonomic nervous system – ANS), breathing via the diaphragm is the one function we can consciously control with ease. As such, diaphragm breathing at a reduced rate, will influence the ANS and lead to reduced heart rate (via increased parasympathetic enervation).
8. Quicker recovery between intervals – due to increased breathing efficiency, and increased parasympathetic enervation.
9. Greater access to zone states or alpha brain wave activity whilst exercising – because of increased parasympathetic activity.
I’ve used these methods when paddling and finished top 10 twice in the Molokai World Surfski Championships, despite being in my late 40’s. I nose and diaphragm breathed throughout and my experience was that, once I settled into a comfortable reduced breathing pattern, I felt fantastic, and relaxed, so was able to accelerate in the last half to two thirds of the race – something that was not typical for me previously.
If you would like to learn how to breathe more efficiently during exercise to hold your breath for longer, improve performance and recovery, increase relaxation and enjoyment of sport, and improve overall health and well-being, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0425 739 918 to discuss or make an appointment. I work one on one, with groups or online.
There’s Far More To Treating IBS, Reflux & Other Digestive Issues Than Correcting The Gut Microbiome
The gut has been topical of late – with terms such as ‘gut microbiome’, the ‘third brain’ etc. becoming very popular. It has certainly become evident that gut function plays a huge role in both our physical and mental health, and we have seen an increase in digestive issues such as reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac’s Disease etc. etc.
In treating such conditions, and indeed in exploring optimal health and well-being, we need to focus on correcting and optimising the internal environment of our digestive system. Treatments have included stool analyses, detox diets, eliminative diets such as FODMAP, paleo and gluten free programs, antibiotic treatments, prebiotic and probiotic treatments, digestive enzyme therapy etc. have become extremely useful strategies. However, very often these treatments struggle to yield significant or complete resolutions.
Given this, it is worth considering that there are other influences on digestive or gut function, other than what goes on inside the digestive system, and that ignoring these can lead to less than complete resolutions. 2 other influences that have a significant impact on gut function, and must be attended to in order to treat the gut more completely, include:
1. Our breathing via the smooth muscle that surrounds the digestive tract – the average person over-breathes, meaning they breathe twice as often as they should, and with far too much volume (because they use mouth and nose rather than nose only). This upsets the delicate biochemical balance in our respiratory system that governs how we get oxygen from the air we inhale into our cells for energy production (the mechanism of which is known as ‘The Bohr Effect’). One of the compensations that result from the upset in the respiratory system by over-breathing is for the body to constrict the smooth muscle around our breathing tubes – and we experience symptoms of breathing difficulties and asthma as a result. Yet, the rest of the tubes that service our body are also surrounded by smooth muscle and over-breathing can lead to constriction and spasm in our digestive system, which is in itself a large tube, forcing it into lock down and preventing the peristaltic action of the digestive system to work effectively, leading to digestive symptoms. This is particularly highlighted by the fact that a vast majority of digestive symptoms and ailments are exacerbated by stress, are often see associated anxiety along with them (especially IBS or reflux). When we are stressed or anxious we over-breathe or hyperventilate even more, which can really exacerbate this constriction and spasm in the digestive system.
2. How we process stress – which is regulated via our hypothalamus. Our hypothalamus, in the brain stem, regulates the automatic bodily functions (including the gut, breathing, circulation etc.), endocrine function (glands and hormones), immune function, sleep cycle, neurotransmitters, some cognitive function etc. It’s job is homeostasis, and it really is the general in regulating our body and keeping it ‘purring’ along. But a hypothalamus that is ‘angry’ or ‘overdrive’ because it is working too hard as we live in constant low level fight or flight in this modern world, can then dys-regulate the function of many o all of our automatic functions – including digestion and the gut. How we process stress in the brain is governed by the healthy working relationship between our two intelligence systems: our thinking, or rational brain, whose job it is to allow us to interface with the world we live in by analysing and interpreting information, data processing, solving problems (the world of thoughts and rational – including our story of our past, and future); and the pre-thinking, instinctive emotional brain whose role is to keep us safe, happy and comfortable by constantly scanning the environment around us (in the now) and warning us of any threat, or stress, via emotions, which serve as a call to action to deal with the threat. If these two work together we attend to emotions as they arise, our thinking brain interpreting the call to action and activating action, then we process stress effectively and we go back to being happy, safe and comfortable. However, we have created a big mismatch between the bodies we have inherited (from our hunter gatherer ancestors) and the high tech, high paced world we have created, and we are taught to ignore emotions and discomfort (therefore the call to action to deal with stress) – be tough, don’t be so sensitive/emotional/irrational, don’t be a girl/sissy, push though, tough it out, don’t show weakness etc. As such we have become top of the animal kingdom, but have forgotten how to be an animal, so we internalise stress rather that dealing with it effectively. This sends us into permanent low-level ‘fight or flight’ activation, leading to symptoms.
We must attend to more than just the inside of the gut to treat it effectively!!
Video: Breathing Retraining Provides a Fantastic Natural Solution for Resolving Asthma and Breathing Difficulties
Tim Altman. breathing coach and naturopath (www.timaltman.com.au) discusses some fantastic and simple to learn, natural solutions to asthma, that more often than not, will help you wean off your asthma medication for good.
Most people accept that the medical treatment of asthma using pharmaceutical drugs, such as preventers, relievers and the modern combination medicines of these two, is the only effective way to manage asthma long term.
This is not true.
Research has started to suggest that what is often diagnosed by GP’s as asthma is more likely breathing difficulty (in about 80% of cases). As such, the main pathology in most asthma is to do with dysfunctional breathing.
This is not surprrising given the average person breathes nowhere near what is considered functional, according to medical diagnostic norms. We breathe twice as often as we should, and with far too much volume (meaning that we over breathe), using our mouth and chest/shoulders to breathe, rather than mostly our nose and diaphragm. In fact, when not exercising we should use our nose and diaphragm only.
This over breathing upsets the delicate biochemical balance in our respiratory system that dictates how much oxygen we get from the air we inhale into our lungs to the cells of our body for energy production (the mechanics of which are described by the ‘Bohr Effect’). If we breathe too much, we fail to produce energy efficiently, and the body perceives this as a threat to survival, so it creates constriction and spasm of the tubes that service our lungs and respiratory system to prevent the excessive loss of air; which are the symptoms we see as asthma and breathing difficulty.
As such, whilst we must also address immune hypersensitivity in some cases, the treatment priority needs to be correcting breathing function – eliminating over breathing by retraining the breathing to functional levels, breathing more slowly and with less volume. This will naturally dilate the whole respiratory system and prevent, or make it far less likely that asthma and breathing difficulties will occur at all.
We use biofeedback technology (Capnometry) to assess a person’s breathing, and retrain them using specifically created breathing rhythms that retrain your breathing from the level you are at.
There are other breathing techniques that we can also to facilitate or speed up this process also. For example, we know that a 45 second breath hold will produce roughly the equivalent vasodilation in your lungs as a puff of Ventolin.
I have found that using breathing retaining to treat and prevent asthma to be a simple and easy to learn solution that will give most clients a permanent solution to their asthma and breathing difficulties with a couple of months. It takes practice and some persistence, but it provides a long term solution, that avoids the expense and negative side effects of long term use of medications. The only side effect of breathing retraining, other than being free of symptoms of asthma and breathing difficulties, are that you will feel more relaxed, and have more energy!!
Contact me at email@example.com or 0425 739 918 to make an appointment.
I offer clinical sessions online, or n person in Torquay, Barwon Heads at 13th Beach Health Services – www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au) and Melbourne.
Research Suggests the Average Working Week Creates Too Much Stress and Fatigue, and Reduces Productivity.
People Over 40 Should Only Work Three Days a Week, Study Concludes
The linked article below from the University of Melbourne echoes what I have noticed so often in clinic when working with clients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, post viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, IBS, depression and auto-immune illnesses.
When looking at what we’ve learned from neuroscience and neuropsychology about how our brains process information, especially stress, in combination with what we’ve leaned from genetic and anthropological research on how we’re built to live (our body’s still think we live as we did as hunter gatherers), we know that our essential biological needs as an animal are for food and water, shelter, safety and love – or happiness, safety and comfort.
It’s also been determined from investigations of existing hunter-gatherer cultures, and what we can tell from previous ones, that the overage hunter gatherer cultures worked between 15-20 hour per week. Yet, the modern day human works, on average, at least double this in the name of economics, which is a concept. In other words, it’s not real according to the body’s we have inherited.
This essentially means that the average worker sacrifices a sense of our basic biological needs, including work-life balance, happiness, variety, and fulfillment in the name of a concept. Similarly, in pursuit of material or fiscal success, another concept that is learned, and therefore not real, we so often sacrifice our basic need for fulfillment, variety and leisure – and therefore happiness.
This ultimately leads to us being permanently in over-dive or constant, unrelenting low-level stress, which in turn leads to symptoms of illness that we see in the above ailments, and in the general symptoms most people seem to accept as part of life in the modern world:
- Gut or digestive symptoms
- Difficult sleeping
- Lack of joy
- Brain fog
- And many more.
Yet, as per the quote below from the linked article suggests, and many more studies appearing are stating to suggest, fitting with what we have learned about how our hunter gatherer bodies are built to live, our productivity, presence at work, work-life balance, sense of fulfillment and happiness all improve when we work a little less.
“After factoring in people’s quality of life, economic well-being, family structures and employment, economic researchers found that individuals who worked an average of 25 hours per week tended to perform the best. In fact, overall cognitive performance would rise until people hit the 25-hour mark, at which point cognitive test scores began dropping because of fatigue and stress.”
Hopefully one day the economic system will focus more on quality of work, and worker satisfaction, than being focused mainly on dollars and quantity of time spent working (at the expense of workers).
Nevertheless, there is still plenty we can do to reduce stress and create more balance in our current working life by understanding what our bodies are built for. More focus on work-reward ratio, work-life balance, variety at work, and a greater focus on worker well being all make a significant improvement in client’s symptoms.
In clinic when working with a client, it’s just a matter of strategy, and then trial and error, using the client’s bodily results (in terms of symptoms and emotions) to determine the effectiveness of changes made. It takes practice, and perseverance, but it works a treat. And allows the body to heal itself, which saves a fortune on medications, and supplements.St
If you would like to find more work-life balance, experience less stress, fatigue, pain, gut symptoms, sleep more soundly, or just experience more joy and happiness, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0425 739 918. Working in this way with clients has yielded far more potent results than any approach I’ve seen; and it’s made a huge difference to how I, and many of my clients live – for the better.
Free Talk on Men’s Health Issues @ Surfcoast Wholefoods, Torquay
“Men’s Health Issues”
Free Talk by Tim Altman www.timaltman.com.au
Surfcoast Wholefoods, Monday 9th of July @ 7.30pm – Bookings not necessary. email@example.com or call 0425 739 918.
Over 20 years of practice these are the main complaints I hear from men, but most suffer in silence.
Fatigue, Burn Out or Lack of Joy
Stress, Anxiety or are ‘in your head’ a lot
Impatience, Irritability or Chronic Pain
Difficulty Sleeping or Poor Sleep
Breathing and/or Digestive Issues
Using an evolutionary medicine approach based on genetic, anthropological and neuroscience research, I outline simple and easy to implement solutions to this chronic issue by addressing not only nutrition, breathing and exercise, but also how we rest and rejuvenate, process stress, communicate, and find work/life balance.
A World-First Longitudinal Study by University led by the University of Melbourne has specifically looked at the long-term effects of removing the tonsils and adenoids in childhood.
“For the first time, researchers have examined the long-term effects of removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood, finding the operations are associated with increased respiratory, infectious and allergic diseases.”
In is fantastic that the linked article (below – and captioned above), by Dr Nerissa Hannink, of The University of Melbourne, has looked at the long-term risk of removing the tonsils and adenoids in childhood – and, especially that the conclusion was; “…..our results support delaying tonsil and adenoid removal if possible, which could aid normal immune system development in childhood and reduce the possible later-life disease risks we observed in our study,” Dr Byars says.
For practitioners working with the impact of dysfunctional breathing (according to medical diagnostic norms) in clients, we find this as no surprise, especially given that most people fail to breath anywhere near medical diagnostic norms for what is considered functional for breathing – and the dysfunction most often begins at a young age.
In the linked article the tonsils and adenoids are described as acting as first line of immune defense.
“But we now know that adenoids and tonsils are strategically positioned in the nose and throat respectively, in an arrangement known as Waldeyer’s ring. They act as a first line of defense, helping to recognise airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and begin the immune response to clear them from the body.”
However, when you look at the structure of the entire respiratory system, including the nose, we are designed to principally breathe in and out of the nose – the mouth being reserved for breathing in emergencies such as high level exercise or when one is startled or out of breath, and takes a gasp. The hairs in the nose filter the air we breathe, and the mucus in the nose and sinuses disinfect, humidify, and heat and cool the air that we inhale, so that when air reaches the lungs for gas exchange it is moist. at the right temperature and clean, optimising gas exchange.
As such, perhaps that tonsils and adenoids are not first line of immune defense. It would make more sense that the nose and sinuses are first and second line (in correct breathing), making the tonsils and adenoids third or fourth line of immune defense.
This may also then explain why the tonsils and adenoids become so inflamed in children. Given so many people mouth breathe instead of, or in addition to, primarily nose breathing, this would mean that the nose and sinuses are largely or completely by-passed by inhaled air making the tonsils and adenoids now first line of immune defense instead of 3rd or 4th. Therefore, perhaps they are being overworked by taking too much of the load of a function they merely assist in, rather than performing entirely – the resultant inflammation of tonsils and adenoids being a consequence of this overload.
In addition to delaying the removal of tonsils and adenoids as suggested by the research in the article, it may also be prudent to investigate the reason why the tonsils and adenoids become inflamed so often in children.
Correcting, or retaining breathing to functional norms, could be the first step in addressing this issue. That, on a few occasions has certainly has been my findings in clinic with clients, and that many of my colleagues report.
If you’d like to learn to retrain your breathing to correct, or functional levels, then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0425 739 918.
Testimonial: CFS Recovery using Breathing Dynamics and Mickel Therapy
Below is testimonial from a lovely client who recovered fully from CFS after 25 years of suffering from it. She was an online client and we used a combination of techniques including Breathing Dynamics, Mickel Therapy, Nutrition and Naturopathy.
“Earlier this year, I completed a course in Mickel Therapy with Tim Altman. I found this technique extremely helpful in my journey to wellness after 25 years with chronic fatigue. With Tim’s guidance, I found the programme easy to follow and was able to achieve improvement after just one session. This improvement has continued over time. I appreciate Tim for his depth of knowledge, empathy and honesty and would be happy to recommend him to others suffering chronic illness.” Andra Moores, Brisbane
Contact me at email@example.com or 0425 739 918 if you would like help recovering from CFS, ME, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, post viral fatigue, IBS, anxiety, depression or autoimmune ailments.
Tim Altman Naturopath – My Services – Nutrition and Naturopathy
A more in depth description of the nutrition and naturopathy work I do at 13th Beach Health Services, and my other clinic addresses in Torquay, South Melbourne and Ivanhoe. I discuss my approach to nutrition, regulating blood sugar levels, weight loss, detoxification, evolutionary medicine, fasting and intermittent fasting. I also outline that I focus on optimising nutrition and health habits, rather than prescribing lots of remedies and supplements. I also discuss the use of bio-impedance testing to give an objective measure of a clients body composition, cellular health, inflammation and toxicity, energy levels and biological age.
Areas I work on in this area include, optimal health and wellness, blood sugar regulation, weight loss, fasting (intermittent and extended fasting), elimination programs, GIT problems, fatigue, pain, chronic illness, performance for sport. work etc.
Www.timaltman.com.au or www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au
An introduction to myself, what led me to becoming a naturopath, nutritionist, respiratory therapist, Breath coach and Mickel therapist as I join the team at 13th Beach Health Services.
I also discuss my battle with CFS and, as a result of such a comprehensive recovery, what inspired me to explore optimal health and performance, and help others do so, or recover from chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue and pain, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety, depression, asthma, sleep difficulties, snoring and apnoea etc.
See www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au or www.timaltman.com.au.
BREATHING DYNAMICS FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE
Do you want to know how you can influence your quality of life by understanding the role of breathing in rest, activity, attention and composure?
Breathing is central to all life.
It is the one thing that we have conscious control of that we do more than anything else – up to 30,000 times per day on average.
BUT, did you know that:
The quality of your breathing affects the quality of your life?
And that most of us OVER BREATHE – both in rate and depth.
Normal breathing is 4-5 litres of air per minute at 8-10 breaths per minute (as opposed to 14-20 breaths that most of us take!!).
And breathing should always happen through the nose driven by the diaphragm. Most of us alternate between mouth and nose breathing using predominantly the chest and shoulders, causing us to breathe too much volume of air, with poor postural strategy using far too much effort in breathing.
This over breathing, or dysfunctional breathing, when repeated up to 30,000 times per day can result in significant compromises in optimal functioning.
Do you know what it means to breathe optimally?
The limiting factor in OPTIMAL RESPIRATION, and therefore OPTIMAL ENERGY FOR OUR CELLS, is not a lack of oxygen that we inhale? We breathe in 21% oxygen and exhale 16%, so we only use less than one quarter of the oxygen that we breathe.
It is a lack of oxygen released into cells due to low levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by OVER BREATHING OR DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING!!!!
Yet most of us OVER BREATHE or MOUTH BREATHE.
In 1903 Danish physiologist Christian Bohr won a Nobel Prize for his discovery that the lower the partial pressure (and therefore concentration) of CO2 in the arterial blood, the tighter the bond between circulating haemoglobin (Hb) and it’s bound oxygen (O2). The tighter the bond between Hb and O2, the less the amounts of oxygen released into tissues for energy production.
What causes low arterial concentration of CO2?
OVERBREATHING/DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:
Snoring, sleep apnoea, waking un-refreshed
Asthma, breathing difficulties
Anxiety, panic attacks
Hypertension, high blood pressure
Eczema, dry skin, skin irritations
Fatigue/lack of endurance or stamina
Allergies, sinusitis, excessive mucous production
When you reduce oxygen release to cells, those cells lose functionality or under perform.
OPTIMAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:
- A full night of quiet sleep. Waking refreshed.
- Controlled, easy breathing (even when exercising).
- Greater energy levels and vitality.
- Greater mental concentration and clarity.
- Significantly improved work, sporting and/or artistic performance.
- Clear skin.
- A well formed set of teeth.
When you optimize oxygen release, you optimize cellular performance. Cells flourish!!
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASURING AND MAINTAINING OPTIMAL CO2 LEVELS.
Over breathing causes hypocapnia (low partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood) which results in both vaso- and broncho- constriction. And if the required ‘reservoir level’ of CO2in the lungs after expiration (namely ETCO2) is too low there will be constant interference in smooth muscle tube function and fluctuations in oxygen concentration at cellular level – causing sub-optimal cell regeneration with the accompanying chronic tiredness, sleep disordered breathing, poor concentration and lack of energy and stamina.
This is a sophisticated bio-feedback monitoring instrument that optically analyses the exhaled breath, establishes the ETCO2 and displays it in various graphic formats along with measurements of breathing rate and heart rate variability. It connects via USB and works on most PCs and laptops.
ETCO2 consistently below the horizontal line which represents 35mm Hg pressure – minimum level for functional breathing.
ETCO2 above the horizontal line showing 40 – 45mm Hg pressure which is the correct level for optimal functioning.
We are the only clinic in Victoria to use this new CapnoTrainerTMbioefeedbacktechnology to assess your breathing levels and retrain you to breathe optimally.
For athletes and business people, the benefits of breathing retraining can be both surprising and life changing. Both performance and efficiency of movement will improve dramatically.
We focus on training you to:
- Nose breathe at all levels of exertion.
- Use your diaphragm (rather than the chest and clavicles) as the main driver of breathing.
- Reduce the rate and volume of your breath at all levels of exertion.
- Manage stress levels by regulating your autonomic nervous system – specifically by reducing sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) dominance and increasing parasympathetic (relaxation) function.
This will result in the following benefits:
- Use of a greater surface area of your lungs for gas exchange.
- Increase oxygen release to tissue and cells of your body.
- For athletes – delay onset of lactic acid.
- Reduced heart rates even under pressure or at higher levels of exertion.
- Greater relaxation at all levels of stress or exertion via increased parasympathetic nervous system activation.
- Greater access to ‘Zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during performance, exercise or racing.
- Increased deep system stabilization (postural) via diaphragmatic control.
- Relaxation of nerves prior to stressful events or races.
We teach Breathing Dynamics to the public both one on one in clinic or in courses for groups.
Tim Altman B.Sc.; B.H.Sc (Naturopathy) www.timaltman.com.au
Ph: 0425 739 918
Long Slow Breathing
A fantastic article, linked, posted on Facebook by Simon Borg-Olivier, founder of Yoga Synergy, on long slow breathing and readying your breathing for pranayama. Along with colleague, physio and Chinese medicine practitioner, Matt Radford, I interviewed Simon recently for our upcoming podcast, Take A Breath, and it was incredibly educational and inspiring.
Simon’s knowledge of breathing is incredibly thorough, and he has transferred this knowledge into his daily life and practice. I can’t wait to release the podcast so the general public can hear Simon’s great wisdom also. Coming soon.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF MUSCLES INVOLVED IN BREATHING:
I ran a Breathing Dynamics course for Surfers and Sports people over the weekend, (details linked here https://www.facebook.com/events/2083394425213514/) and a question came up about the muscles involved in breathing, and their relationship to posture. One of the attendees, Torquay myotherapist, Gary Javoneva was able to contribute some fantastic information. He followed up with this fantastic article on the ‘Anatomy and physiology of muscles involved in breathing.’ I have included the full article, including Gary’s contact details here.
“I have prepared this article to explain you the principle and the relation between breathing and your muscles and on how can your posture mess up with your training. I tried to keep it simple and brief.
BREATHING PUMP MUSCLE:
The breathing pump muscle are a complex arrangement that form a semi-rigid bellows around your lungs.
Essentially, all the muscles that attach to the rib cage have the potential to generate breathing action. Here are the main muscles involve in breathing and that can be treated during a myotherapy session:
The principle muscle of inspiration is the diaphragm, it attaches to the lower ribs and the lumbar vertebrae.
Diaphragm contraction induces the lower ribs upward and forward, increasing the thoracic volume.
The muscles of the ribs: The Intercostal muscles located in the space between the ribs. Contraction of the intercostals cause the ribs to move upward and outward.
Intercostal muscle contractions also stiffen the rib cage during lifting, pushing, and pulling movement.
Some muscles in the neck region also have an inspiratory function, the Scalenes and Sternocleidomastoid muscles are attached to the top of the sternum, upper two ribs and clavicle (Collar bone). When these muscles contract they lift the top of the chest, but the scalene muscles are also involved in flexion of the neck.
The most well known and visible expiratory muscle is the rectus abdominis (6 pack), the other muscles less visible, but arguably more functionally important in any sports with their primary actions are the transversus abdominis and the internal and exterior oblique muscles.
The internal intercostal which slope backward, when they contract the ribs move downward and inward. Both internal and external intercostal muscles are also involved in flexing and twisting the trunk.
HOW POSTURE CAN MESS UP YOUR BREATHING:
If you sit down and lean over, stretching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet, your breathing is far more difficult, because your lungs cannot be filled as easily with air.
What does this extreme example tell us? Quite simply, the more restrictions you place on your breathing, the harder it becomes. Leaning over squeezes your lungs, making them smaller, and decreasing your breathing volume. Shallow breathing means less oxygen into your system. Less oxygen means less energy support.
Sitting or standing straight for a few minutes after slouching most of your life is not good enough. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments become trained by constant slouching. You need to train them with an entirely new habit. You need to create a new “upright” lifestyle.
If you would like to learn more about your posture or you breathing muscles, feel free to contact me 0456074732-
firstname.lastname@example.org, or come in a for a chat at the clinic which is located in the heart of Surf City in Torquay. Torquay Sports Medicine Centre.
Gary Javonena – Myotherapist”