Breathing Man meditating - breathing optimally...

How Would Optimal Breathing Feel to Your Body?

What Does Functional, or Optimal Breathing Look Like?

Normal breathing is defined as:

  • A silent, gentle wave pattern
  • 8-10 breaths per minute
  • Through the nose
  • Tongue resting at the roof of the mouth.
  • Driven via the diaphragm with minimal or no upper chest or shoulder movement
  • Yielding a tidal volume (volume of air in and out) of 4-5 litres per minute.

These diagnostic norms combined with the optimal concentration of CO2 in arterial blood of 40mmHg partial pressure (based on the previous discussion about the Bohr Effect), will ensure that the pH of the blood is maintained at its ideal levels (7.35-7.45), and result in optimal energy production in cells.

The respiratory centre(s) in the brain control breathing rate and depth and primarily use the concentration of CO2 in arterial blood (pACO2). pAO2 is also used in part (via receptors in the carotid arteries), but, as oxygen availability in cells is directly related to pACO2 (The Bohr Effect), CO2 concentrations remain the primary determinant.

A functional or normal breathing rate of 8-10 breaths combined with pACO2 of 40mmHg will allow for maintenance of pH in the ideal range of 7.35 to 7.45.

Therefore if pACO2 drops below 40mmHg, it follows that the breathing rate will have to increase to maintain this ideal pH range.

If the pACO2 remains below ideal for an extended period of time (as is the case with over-breathers or those with chronic breathing disorders such as asthma, snoring, hyperventilation etc), the brain will accept this as normal functioning and will adapt by establishing this elevated breathing rate as normal. So the respiratory centre(s) in the brain will now have a lower pACO2 as a ‘trigger point’ to re-instigate breathing via the diaphragm.

As mentioned earlier, the diagnostic norm of 8-10 breaths per minute translates to 12,000-14,000 breaths per day. Yet the average person breathes up to 30,000 times per day. This suggests that the average person breathes roughly twice as often as we are ‘designed’ to and, more seriously, that the average person does not meet diagnostic norms for breathing. And therefore, is not capable of breathing functionally or optimally due to habitual over-breathing patterns.

Indeed, our clinical experience has confirmed this. Using CapnoTrainer biofeedback technology, we have not found a single person, without previous training, capable of breathing at a level that is considered functional according to diagnostic norms. So we are all over breathers – both in rate and volume until we are trained to breathe functionally again.

Common sense, reinforced by research, suggests that performing a bodily function at a level that is considerably inferior to that which is found to be optimal (from an evolutionary perspective) will ultimately lead to a compromise in function, including pathology, elsewhere in the body.

For example, we all know that living with blood pressure that is significantly above or below what is the diagnostic norm for blood pressure (and, as such, the blood pressure our system was designed to function optimally at) will lead to serious side effects or pathology. Indeed, high blood pressure and low blood pressure are both medical conditions that are taken very seriously by the medical community.

Similarly, if insulin levels are constantly elevated compared to diagnostic norms (via elevated blood sugar levels), then diabetes can eventually be the result. Obviously, diabetes or hyper-insulinaemia are both treated as serious or chronic life threatening medical conditions that are in epidemic proportions in the Western world.

Yet, whilst it is common knowledge that most or all of us over-breathe compared to diagnostic norms, why is it that over breathing is not treated as a serious medical condition?

Perhaps because breathing is so central to our functioning at all levels of the body and in all systems of the body, the side effects of over breathing are not as obvious as they are with the above abnormalities in our physiology or biochemistry.

Understanding the problem requires an understanding of the current medical model and its origins.  The medical system which evolved to deal with the historically predominant threats of infection and trauma became a system which focuses its energy on acute treatment of distinct, specific diseases, seeking to eliminate a single causative agent, with the patient as a passive recipient of the ‘cure’.  We can see how this approach is out of alignment with the new wave of chronic disease.  Instead, these patients require long term management, of multiple, overlapping states of dysfunction, driven by numerous causative factors, with the patient being required to take the primary role in their own risk reduction.

The Breathing Dynamics program will retrain you to breathe at functional, or optimal levels. Your energy levels, sleep, performance, circulation, digestion, nervous system, and many other systems in the body will see the benefits of this….

Breathing is a function that is vital for life - yet most of us completely take i8t for granted, and don't even though that we breathe way below optimal levels...

BREATHING FOR LIFE – OR DEATH!!

Introduction to Breathing Dynamics – Why is Proper Breathing So Important

Breathing is the most central process of our functioning that we have direct conscious control over and the area where we can have the most influence regarding whole health.

Breathing is central to all life – we cannot live without it for more than a few minutes.

It is the one thing we do more than anything else – the average person breathes 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? For example, diagnostic norms suggest that we should breathe 12-14,000 times per day rather than 30,000 times.
  • 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? It is a lack of oxygen released into cells (due to low levels of carbon dioxide) caused by OVER-BREATHING OR DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING!!!!

So why do most of us take our breathing for granted?

Why do we accept less than optimal breathing function?

Perhaps, until now, we have not been aware of the link between dysfunctional breathing and symptoms of ill-health or disease. Some of these symptoms include:

 

Fatigue & Lethargy Digestive upsets – IBS, constipation, diarrhoea. Irritability Waking un-refreshed
Anxiety Allergies Shortness of breath Headaches/migraines
Depression & emotional disturbances Skin irritations – eczema etc. Breathing difficulties – asthma, wheezing. Sinusitis & excessive mucus production
High blood pressure Poor  concentration Night-time toilet trips Frequent colds & flus
Dental problems &/or deformities Memory loss Poor sleep or leep disturbances Muscular or nerve chest & pains

Also, very few of us are aware that we could make significant changes to our health, stability, posture, attention, composure and sleep quality by learning how to breathe functionally. In addition to reversing the symptoms of ill-health or disease mentioned above, some more of these changes include:

 

Enhanced energy levels Greater endurance & stamina Improved focus & concentration
Improved immune system function Improved blood flow to extremities Improved responsiveness to stressors
Better posture & stability Delayed lactic acid onset during exercise Greater access to “Zone” states during exercise/performance
More relaxed muscles/joints Better focus & concentration Enhanced happiness/self image
Improved flexibility Improved mood stability Lower heart rates

 

Breathing Dynamics aims to restore optimal or functional breathing and therefore maximise delivery of oxygen to cells (for energy) by offering a variety of understandings and techniques that encourage:

 

  1. Breathing through the nose at all times.
  2. Using the diaphragm as the principal or primary muscle for breathing.
  3. Regulating breathing rate and volume.

 

We offer breathing retraining courses for individuals and groups, which usually run for 8-10 hours (broken up into a few sessions) plus ongoing evaluation. These courses have a strong practical focus. To facilitate learning, we use CapnoTrainer® biofeedback technology, which gives an individual information on their own functioning from their own body’s perspective rather than just relying on coaching or feedback from a another person. By the end of the course we give clients the knowledge and understanding, both theoretically and practically, for them to be able to breathe functionally or optimally in many of life’s varying circumstances.

We also offer online modules (purchased via the online shop) on breathing retraining to optimize function and facilitate healing for a number of ailments and purposes. These include:

  1. Asthma
  2. High blood pressure/hypertension
  3. Fatigue
  4. Anxiety/depression
  5. Snoring/sleep apnoea
  6. Eczema/skin conditions
  7. Stress management
  8. Allergies
  9. To facilitate dental corrections
  10. Enhanced sporting performance
  11. Enhanced work performance – artistic and business.
  12. Ability to hold the breath underwater (specific to surfers etc)
  13. Breathing for yogis.
Keys to maintaining constant energy levels throughout the day, and preventing illness.

Optimal Performance Nutrition for Feeling Awesome

Blood Sugar Regulation for Optimal Performance

Blood Sugar Regulation is aimed at regulating blood sugar levels to optimise energy production (and remove slumps in energy levels – such as mid afternoon).

Most of us over-consume or eat mostly carbohydrate rich foods, which the body converts into high levels of glucose for energy production in the cells. It is estimated that the average Westerner consumes at least 50% more carbohydrates daily than our hunter gatherer ancestors. In response to a higher carbohydrate intake, the pancreas produces high levels of insulin, which is used to transport this glucose to the cells for energy production.

Excessive production of insulin is termed hyperinsulinaemia, and prolonged hyperinsulinaemia can result in the cells becoming insulin resistant. The cells do this to prevent more energy being produced than our body demands at the time. What this means over time however, is that the cells, having become conditioned to being resistant to insulin, can no longer get the glucose they need for energy.
The cells of the body make up all of the systems within the body. If these cells cannot produce enough energy to function properly, then the systems begin to break down leading to the indicators of lack of health mentioned earlier. And, ultimately to more the deep seated, chronic pathological conditions.

In addition, insulin resistance is a process that is inflammatory in nature. It is no surprise also, the the chronic illnesses that we most commonly suffer from, and that account for 90% of deaths in the Western World, are inflammatory conditions.
Unfortunately, as is very often the case, if the input of fuel for energy outweighs the demand for energy, then this glucose floating around in the blood stream must be stored. Apart from the small amounts of glucose that can be stored in the liver and skeletal muscles as glycogen, the main storage mechanism of this fuel involves converting the glucose to fat and storing it wherever this fat may be deposited (and most of us are aware of these areas in our own bodies).

What compounds this even further, is that insulin is a storage hormone, and elevated levels of insulin, or hyperinsulinaemia, prevents the release of this converted glucose from the fat stores when it is required. Fat is the most efficient source of fuel for energy in our bodies (in terms of amount of energy produced per gram), and when the cells can no longer gain access to this extremely efficient fuel source, apart from the circulating glucose in our blood or glycogen stores in the liver and muscles which are very limited, the body must access our protein stores for energy. Our protein stores include our muscles and vital organs. Not ideal.

Extensive scientific research has shown that the number one biological marker in the body of ageing is a reduction in our muscle mass to fat ratio. And this marker adversely affects all other biological markers of ageing; such as basal metabolic rate, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, HDL (good fat) to VLDL (bad fat) ratio, bone density, blood sugar tolerance, aerobic capacity etc.
So, in addition to our systems not producing energy efficiently and adequately, and potentially leading us down the path to obesity, we are also accelerating our own ageing process. This all leads to a poor quality of life in comparison to what is available to us all if we are prepared to open up to our genetic potential.

If you are lean it does not mean however, that your cells are not insulin resistant. It just means that you are burning all of your circulating glucose for fuel before it gets deposited in the fat cells. The excessive levels of carbohydrates and resultant insulin resistance will still cause the body to function less efficiently as it will not produce the energy required at the rate that it is demanded, as it can’t get access to the fuel quickly enough. And body will also be inflammatory.

The “Optimal Performance Nutrition” program is based on predominantly eating foods that our hunter gatherer ancestors ate, as, from a genetic perspective, our body still functions as if we were still wandering the bush. These foods are generally low glycaemic load (GL) foods. The GL is the ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels and the amount of sugar they contain. The lower the GL, the lower the sugar content, and the better the food is for you.

Some of the benefits of a low GL diet:
• Improved energy levels.
• Maintenance of healthy cardiovascular function.
• Weight/fat loss.
• Low GL foods keep you feeling fuller for longer.

It was once thought that table sugar and particularly sugary foods such as sweets were the only foods that had to be avoided by people trying to control their blood sugar. However, the GL has shown us that complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, and particularly refined grains such as white flour (bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, many cereals etc. etc.) and white rice can have an effect that is comparable to eating table sugar. And our hunter gatherer ancestors did not have access to these foods either.

One of the reasons for this is that refined grains have the fibrous, outer (often brown) shell removed. This outer shell, or husk, contains a lot of fibre which slows down the entry of the sugar into the blood stream. Fibre is also very important in maintaining the motility of our digestive system, and keeping our bowel movements regular. Given that up to 70% of our immune cells line our digestive tract, it is far more healthy to have an efficient, regularly moving digestive system than one that is blocked, irritated and festering!!!!

In addition, the husk also contains most of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the grain. These micronutrients are essential in so many of the chemical reactions and processes that occur in the body. If these vitamins and minerals are absent in the food we consume, then the body will take them from its own stores.

An example of this is Calcium. The main stores of calcium in the body are in the bones and muscles. Calcium is essential in firing many of the chemical reactions in the body, including the production of energy in the cells. If Calcium is deficient in the food we eat, then the body will remove it from the bone and muscle stores. Maybe this may go a long way towards explaining why in the Western World, whilst we are the largest consumers of dairy (which are high in Calcium), we also experience the far higher rates of osteoporosis in comparison to countries where the population eat predominantly whole foods, and are far more active. Is it possible that because we eat such extraordinary amounts of refined carbohydrates, that our bodies end up leeching our bones of major minerals such as Calcium or Magnesium to perform their functions?
So, essentially, when consuming refined grains, you are eating nothing more than empty, sugary calories (see Table 2 – Pasta & Sugar Equivalents).

In addition to low GL foods, the Optimal Performance Nutrition program may require you to modify your protein intake. More specifically, to have small amounts of protein regularly. This is because you may not have been eating enough protein at certain times of the day, and too much at other times. A healthy protein intake improves appetite control, increases metabolism and helps maintain lean muscle mass. It is important to note that this does not imply or suggest a high protein diet – just a small to moderate amount regularly.

On the Optimal Performance Nutrition program you will also need to ensure you consume adequate amounts of “good” fats, known as ‘essential fatty acids’. Whilst saturated fats and trans fats (a thickener found in margarine, spreads, biscuits etc.) are very bad for you, certain fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids are very good for us and have important health benefits. Fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil anti-inflammatory and immune stimulating. They improve a wide range of conditions and may even help improve your mood and skin.

To gain optimal performance from your nutritional program, certain basic guidelines need to be observed.

In this program Tim will assess your current daily food intake and offer solutions to optimise your health and energy production by providing a plan which focuses on your body’s needs.

Follow up consultations will continue to assess your performance and energy levels while building a solid foundation for a healthier, happier you.

Mickel Therapy

Mickel Therapy. A potent cure for CFS, Fibromyalgia, IBS & Anxiety. Also fantastic for Performance

Article: Why it’s time to eliminate ‘should’ from your vocabulary.

In Mickel Therapy we show how being guided by our Primary emotions can lead to health & wellbeing. It’s amazing how little words like “should” “must” and “have to” can prevent us from taking the action that feels right in our gut. This is an excellent article that highlights the danger of a little word like “should”.

http://coach.nine.com.au/2016/12/08/13/55/attack-of-the-shoulds

Since I’ve taken on Mickel Therapy as a modality nearly 3 yeas ago, I’ve seen more complete recoveries in clients suffering CFS, fibromyalgia, IBS and anxiety than I’d seen previously in my 16 years of practice specialising in treating these chronic ailments, or that I’d heard from other practitioners, including integrative doctors.  It is also fantastic for performance, relationships, work-life balance etc.

The results have been a wonderful surprise. After investigating it and understanding it properly, I knew it made sense, bu I did not expect it to yield such outstanding results. It shouldn’t be a surprise in theory, given it gets to the root cause by targeting a hypothalamus in overdrive (in perpetual fight or flight) and dealing with how we uniquely process stress as individuals. Stress, especially internalised stress, then adversely affects the performance of all other vital functions that influence our health – nutrition, sleep, how we move and stabilise, breathing, all automatic functions, how we rest and rejuvenate, and how we think and emote.

 For more information on how Mickel Therapy could help you, please contact me. I would be happy to offer a fee 15 minute initial chat to see if it resonates with you and could help you.
Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Benefits of Sauna Therapy

Sauna Therapy and Pine Needle Oil research:

The skin is the body’s largest organ and our interface with the physical world. Through perspiration, it acts as an important vehicle for the elimination of toxins. The skin is often referred to as the ‘third kidney’.

Saunas assist greatly in the elimination of toxins. In the process the skin is cleaned of surface bacteria and dead skin cells – something that cannot be done by just taking a shower or bath. The sauna also cleans the capillaries, resulting in vastly improved skin condition.

Saunas have been used for thousands of years by Scandinavians, Russians, North American Indians and many others.

In Russia and Finland, there is a saying that every day you take a sauna is a day that you are not ageing.

Hippocrates, the founder of Western medicine more than two thousand years ago, said: “Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease”.

Although misunderstood as a symptom of disease, fever is actually a part of the body’s natural healing response. During a fever, the functioning of the immune system is stimulated, whilst growth of bacteria and viruses are inhibited. All of us would be aware of the great feeling of cleanliness and well being experienced after a fever has passed through us. Saunas elicit similar responses and are often called ‘artificial fevers’.

Extensive research over many years has shown numerous benefits of saunas, including increased circulation, detoxification and oxygenation of tissues and cells, stimulation of the immune system, reduction of stomach acidity, reduction of cold/flu symptoms, increased lung capacity, relaxation, enhanced quality of sleep and reduced soreness post exercise/injury.

Research has supported the use of saunas for treatment of pain management (including arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries etc), in detoxification programs, weight loss, lowering of blood pressure and stress relief.

Russian and Finnish research has shown the sauna to be an irreplaceable training modality for athletes, reducing recovery time and soreness post exercise/injury, and increasing muscle power and concentration. It also reduces the cold, nervous feeling that causes shivering before competition and that can make athletes prone to injury.

The psychological impacts of the sauna have been shown to be just as significant. After a sauna, feelings of stress, lethargy and tiredness are replaced with a generalized feeling of well-being which includes lightness, energy, relaxation and optimism.

Prior to the late 1980 Olympics, forest biochemists in the former Soviet union developed a pine needle oil derived from the non-water soluble fraction of the paste from Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and European Spruce (Picus abies) needles combined with the oil fraction isolated in Siberian Fir (Abies siberica) needle extraction. Their research found that it significantly enhanced the therapeutic benefits of sauna therapy including elimination of lactic acid and reduced recovery time and soreness post competition, training and injuries.

The oil is a natural complex containing many biologically active substances including vitamin E, carotenoids, phytosterols, terpenoids, polyprenols and pure conifer essential oil. It is rubbed on to the torso and any sore or injured areas during a sauna

Research in Russia found that the positive, therapeutic effects of saunas were significantly enhanced when used in conjunction with this oil based conifer needle extract.

This research compared those who used saunas alone with those who complement their sauna with the needle extract. Specifically it was found that far greater than using a sauna alone, using Pine needle oil in conjunction with a sauna:

  • Increased muscle concentration and power.
  • As a result it helps replace areas of dimply ‘cellulite’ skin with a toned, muscular look.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Improved detoxification and elimination of toxins, lactic acid and other metabolic wastes.
  • Improved detoxification and elimination of heavy metals.
  • Reduced soreness post exercise and injury, and speed up recovery time.
  • Activation the immune system and increased antimicrobial activity both in the skin and further internally.
  • Increasing adipose tissue in the skin, making the skin softer, more hydrated and younger looking.
  • Increase the skin’s resistance to irritants.
  • Leading to a generalized feeling of well being.
  • Promoting a great night’s sleep.
  • Assistance with recovery from jet lag.

Book Release: ‘The Breathing Dynamics Solution to Snoring and Sleep Apnoea’

I am proud to say that I’ve written and published my first book. It is a full information guide and four stage course or training program on the use of breathing retraining as a solution to snoring and sleep apnoea.

Whilst the standard medical treatment for apnoea is a C-PAP machine, it is both expensive and annoying. As such compliance is very low – as low as 15% or less.

But there are more natural, and less expensive alternatives, and breathing being one of them.

As both snoring and sleep apnoea are both fundamentally a breathing issue at their core (or original cause – in most cases due to the mouth being open whilst one sleeps), breathing retaining provides a brilliant solution that is inexpensive and can be learned quite simply, even at home. And it doesn’t take long to see results.

Or, in cases that also involve rectifying an existing obstruction, it is an excellent adjunct to treatment options that look at this.

I decided to create a book/course on breathing retaining as I have found from several years of clinical experience as a respiratory therapist that, whilst most people take their breathing completely for granted, the vast majority of us fail to breathe according to medical diagnostic norms. And I have found time and time again, breathing retaining is an extremely potent method of creating solutions for many health problems and is excellent for both relaxation and performance outcomes.

I started with the subject of snoring and apnoea as it is so widespread and breathing retraining works so well in providing solutions. And the snorers or apnoea sufferers are not the only victims. Their partners, and even family, are often more affected that the actual snorers. And the snorers are often very averse to admitting their problem and seeking help.

I will write other books on a number of clinical and performance issues, including:

  • Asthma and breathing difficulties.
  • Headaches and migraines.
  • IBS and GIT disturbances.
  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Relaxation and stress management.
  • Sports and athletic performance.
  • Surfing performance (including breath holds).

I will also make these available as online, video courses soon.

For receiver of this newsletter, I will make the book/course available for $50.   The course provides the equivalent to 5 consultations with a professional as it is a comprehensive 4 step program designed to simulate how I would work with a client clinically.

Some clients still choose to work one on one with me, using the book as a background, for more personal guidance along the way. Especially given I train them using biofeedback control via Capnometry.

If you would like a copy of the course, please email me at tim@timaltman.com.au

Busyness As Usual

Addiction to “Busyness” and It’s Link to Unhappiness and Symptoms of Illness

Generation overstimulation? Generation Y’s addiction to being busy.

A fantastic article (linked below) shared by Laura Walsh at Quay Osteo in Torquay. I highly recommend Laura’s services to anyone on the Surfcoast and neighboring areas. Her awareness goes beyond the mainstream
This addiction to busyness is something I see regularly in the Mickel Therapy work I do with clients with chronic illnesses such as CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression and IBS, amongst many others.

But this addiction affects most of us. Not just gen Y’s.

And I believe the addiction to busyness is one of the primary reasons that most of us end up chronically hyper-vigilant or in ‘fight or flight’ responsiveness.

This creates an internal disconnect between our thinking or rational brain (our mind – or the voice in our head) and our more primal emotional brain centres or our intuitive body-mind (which sends pre-thought emotional signals to our body to keep us happy, safe and comfortable with relationship to our environment). These two intelligence centres exist in all animals and, ideally, or in harmony, work together.

When we become addicted to busyness, we get stuck in our head or rational mind and a disconnect occurs, meaning that we internalise or suppress stress, and resulting in our hypothalamus (in our brain) going into overdrive. As our hypothalamus is involved in homeostasis or regulation of most automatic bodily functions (including sleep, mood, cognitive function, temperature regulation, digestion, immune function, our endocrine systems, circulation, respiration, and the stress response), when it goes into overdrive for too long or too much, symptoms, and eventually syndromes or chronic illness can be the result.

This addiction to busyness is not a conscious thing. It is most often the result of a self-limiting pattern that has resulted from our childhood and is therefore sub-conscious and habitual.

Put simply, we develop a sub-conscious relationship between stress or busyness (interesting the similarity between busyness and business!!) and safety. As a child, if you are threatened physically or emotionally, a way to stay ‘safe’ (remembering that children haven’t developed a strong rational brain yet) is to be ‘on-guard’ or hyper-vigilant. Keeping yourself busy achieves this, and it helps you stay protected from physical or emotional pain. As an adult, this pattern becomes habituated and sub-conscious, yet it defines our life.
However this pattern no longer serves us as adults. We are no longer as unsafe or vulnerable as we were when we were children. Yet this pattern persists as it has no other choice – it is sub-conscious.
And, whilst it continues to do so, it continues to dis-regulate homeostasis or balance in our bodies and makes us unhappy, unfulfilled, far from optimal wellness, and predisposes us to many chronic illness.

When we break this pattern with clients, by an action-centred approach using Mickel Therapy, it is very common to see complete resolution of the symptoms of many chronic illnesses.

And it works beautifully even if you are not chronically ill. Both performance and relationships improve, and clients feel more free and happier than they have for most of their lives. Well, since they were young children before they felt threatened and contracted.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/generation-overstimulation-generation-ys-addiction-to-being-busy-20150625-ghxsde#ixzz3imYQAYbB