Case Study: Anxiety, IBS, Psoriasis and Breathing Dynamics

Can Breathing Retraining Help To Resolve Ailments Such As Anxiety, IBS, Sinusitis and Psoriasis?

Woman – 65 y.o.
Suffering from:
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.

My thoughts

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:

http://timaltman.com.au/breathing-life-death/

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.

http://timaltman.com.au/category/breathing-dynamics/page/3/

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.

Treatment

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.

This included:
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.

http://timaltman.com.au/video-theres-far-more-to-healing-the-gut-than-correcting-the-microbiome/

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.
For example:
• 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.

5 Day Juice Fast: A Super Thorough Case Study

Article: “My Guided 5 Days of Fasting / Juice Cleanse (What Really Happened)”, by Cam Nicholls of www.bikechaser.com.au

Linked below is an article written by a client who embarked on a 5 day fast with me supervising him, as an experiment to improve his immune system and performance in criterium cycling races.

I won’t say too much here as the article, videos and podcasts say it all. He has certainly been thorough in his application, and documentation of the process. It was a pleasure working with him, and despite his difficulty in giving up coffee and his impatience to recommence, we are both glad he didn’t as it gave him an opportunity to experience some of the benefits of fasting, and therefore experience the level of health, energy and clarity that is inherent in us all – if we give our bodies a chance to show it 🙂

The benefits included:

  • Improved and sustained energy levels.
  • Great sleep.
  • His sinuses are the clearest they’ve ever been.
  • Dramatically improved concentration and mental aptitude.

Whilst it’s super thorough, if you’re interested in fasting or considering doing a fast/cleanse, I highly recommend you have a read, listen, watch as he covers just about everything you’ll need to know. Obviously, if this motivates you to act, then i can help you. I offer supervised fasts in my clinic addresses in Torquay, Sth Melbourne and Barwon Heads, or online.

Another CFS Recovery using Mickel Therapy and Breathing Dynamics

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 tim@timaltman.com.au 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.

Breathing Retraining Can Help Sleep Apnoea Quicker Than You Think

Correct Breathing: A Natural Cost Effective Solution For Sleep Apnoea and Snoring

Below is a text that came from a sleep apnoea client the day after our first session – I’ve modified a name and omitted the client’s full name for privacy purposes.

Last night had 2hrs more sleep and haven’t needed a sleep so far today. Enjoyed a session with #$% and run up the stairs ! Wow!……..When I woke just breathed properly and off to sleep I went!! Many thanks Tim.” Jan, Torquay

We don’t always see such a quick response, and this client still has a long way to go in terms of making permanent change as, whilst correcting a person’s breathing can definitely yield fantastic results very quickly, it does take consistent practice over several weeks to make those results permanent.

This is not a surprise given the fundamental pathology in sleep apnoea is caused by the consequences of dysfunctional breathing whilst sleeping – especially mouth breathing. See the inserted link for more information on the role of breathing retraining in sleep apnoea and as a solution for snoring and sleep apnoea.  http://timaltman.com.au/breathing-dynamics-solutions-snoring-sleep-apnoea/

This client may also require a few other interventions if an obstruction in the airway is evident.  These include dentistry and orofacial myology (if the jaw position is leading to an obstruction), weight loss (as excessive weight can obstruct the airways) and other body work (physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy). Time will tell. However, the combination of breathing retraining with these interventions very frequently yields fantastic results that can prevent a sufferer of sleep apnoea from a life time of dependency on an obtrusive, and expensive CPAP machine. Or a lifetime of fatigue, and many other side effects of sleep apnoea (see link above).

Nevertheless, this is a great start. And a great living example of the effectiveness of breathing retraining in treating sleep apnoea.

If you or someone you know suffer from sleep apnoea and would like to source a natural, cost effective and easy to learn solution, then contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

 

Fasting Testimonial

Another Fasting Success Story

The following quote came to me as a text message less than a week after she started a program combining intermittent fasting with blood sugar regulation.

“I FEEL AMAZING. I woke up after my fast day and my skin is glowing and I have so much motivation and energy. Oh my goodness, I’ve never felt this good.”

This is from an 18 year old woman who was struggling with depression, weight gain, poor energy and her skin had really broken out in rashes and pimples.
She had experienced skin reactions to certain foods (particularly dairy) for most of her life.                                                                    Unfortunately, her diet was poor, so she failed to regulate blood sugar levels (as she had never learned how to do so) and, as such, she craved processed foods and sugar – many of which were exacerbating her intolerances, poor skin, lack of energy and depression.

So, we introduced intermittent fasting in combination with regulating her blood sugar levels (during non-fasting periods) as a way of changing her eating habits, creating permanent weight loss, and allowing her body to regulate rest and cleanse itself internally.

I am also monitoring her body composition, inflammation levels and energy production via bio-impedance testing. It was clear on the initial test that, whilst she carries too much body fat, her muscle mass is also quite deficient (which will ultimately mean that it will be harder for her to burn fat, and have consistent energy levels). So we also recommended that she do regular resistance training along with regular protein in her diet to improve muscle mass.

From the above, it seems that it is ‘so far, so good’.

I saw her a week later and her skin is much clearer, she had lost fat, her energy was great, her disposition much brighter, and her attitude was much more positive.  As is so often the case, her body responded extremely well to her regular short one day (or 36 hour) fast, combined with keeping blood sugar levels regular, and some minor fasts during the week (akin to the 16:8 program).

She is not clear yet. These are only the early stages, However, the changes we have made have stimulated the necessary internal improvements we are seeking. Persistence and consistency will be required to continue these improvements, and maintain them long term.

But, for now, it is great that she feels so positive, and that her skin and weight have responded so well.

 

Testimonial: CFS and Anxiety Recovery

Natural Recovery From Anxiety and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Below is a testimonial from a lovely client of mine who made a full or complete recovery from a long term case of debilitating anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

She sent me a letter and some amazing chocolates also as thanks which was very nice – and yummy.

I’ve included part of the letter also as it gives a bit of an idea of the process we follow and the guiding and supporting relationship I play as clients navigate their way back to health. We worked initially via a one on one consultation in person, and then mostly via phone due to simplicity and to eliminate the need for Em to drive too far to consultations. At that stage I worked only in Torquay and Em lived in Melbourne. Nowadays I work both in Torquay and Melbourne.

 

“This is just a little something to show you my gratitude for having you as a guide over the last year. Your phone calls were often a light at the end of the tunnel for me. Not only did your support and insight get me through some rough days, but the tools you have taught me have become part of my everyday routine and have permanently transformed the way I live my life.”

“Looking back to where I was before I started sessions with you, I can’t believe how much has changed. My energy levels are sustained throughout the day, my anxiety attacks have subsided and I deal with my emotions in a much more healthy way. My life has reached a new level of balance that I did not see possible. Using this holistic approach and working from the root level has enabled me to resolve deep issues and create new habits and pathways for myself that I will use for life. For this, I can’t thank you enough Tim.”

Whilst it is very flattering to receive such kind words, I am constantly humbled by both the potency of the techniques I use with clients, and the openness, courage and persistence of many clients in implementing them. It is clients such as Em who deserve the most praise. It is so rewarding to see the transformation in them, and their recovery.

I won’t be falsely modest and say that I don’t need or enjoy some kind words occasionally however 🙂 And chocolates of course!!

If you suffer from anxiety and/or CFS, or know anyone who does, and would like to explore a natural, and permanent recovery, then contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

Testimonial: Anxiety and PMS Success Naturally

A Natural and Complete Recovery From Anxiety and PMS

Below is a text message received from a client who came to me suffering from anxiety since she was 8 (in her 30’s now), and severe PMS since the birth of her son 3 years ago.

Her doctors tried to prescribe her antidepressants and the pill, but she decided against this path, coming to see me instead.

The treatment protocol I used was 3 fold:

  1. A combination of herbs for PMS to regulate her hormones, addressing relative oestrogen excess.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises to help regulate her nervous system allowing her to be more relaxed, more often. The carry on effect of this is that it will deal with anxiety as it arises and make it less likely to surface in the long run.
  3. Mickel Therapy to address certain lifestyle and behavioural factors that were putting her hypothalamus in overdrive, or leading her to internalise stress. Given that the hypothalamus regulates endocrine glands, and therefore hormone balance; as well as the automatic nervous system, and neurotransmitter production, the imbalance in this system will contribute to both the anxiety and the PMS at higher levels – in fact, one could argue that this is the ultimate cause and the symptoms are the end result.

Regardless, of what is higher, or the cause, and what are the results, or symptoms, to be more thorough, we addressed both.

I saw her in person the first time and then via Skype/phone from then on (it was easier for her due to having a young child).

The result was fantastic, and achieved in only 3 sessions. I think the text speaks for itself. She gave me permission to use this as a testimonial, so here it is:

“Hi Tim, I’m well thanks….I’m actually doing really good…I don’t have a lot to go over with you tomorrow. My anxiety is at an all time low, my PMS has disappeared, and I’m feeling the best I have in years!. So, would you mind if we touched base in 4 weeks for a catch up?….You’re doing you job too well”   Laura, Keilor

Well, I do say that my job is to ultimately make myself redundant by teaching skills for health and lifestyle that clients continue after treatment. It is a very thorough approach initially, but the rewards are worth it – more comprehensive results and the client is set free. So, I’m happy to have a client reschedule the session for this reason.

You might say that is a terrible business model for me, however it does create a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. And that makes one richer than any money can 🙂

Laura was an an absolute pleasure to work with, so she deserrved the results she earned.

 

 

 

Breathing Interview – ABC Radio National ‘Saturday Afternoon’

Recently I was interviewed on the subject of breathing for health and well-being by a former client, Joel Spry, who overcame IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), on his Saturday afternoon session on ABC Radio National.

We combined breathing retraining techniques and Mickel Therapy to treat Joel, and he applied everything with openness and enthusiasm (along with some trepidation initially, which is expected), and fully earned the full recovery he achieved.

It was a pleasure to work with a client who was very inspiring in his openness and application to his treatment.

And now he is working on national radio!! Woohoo.

No stopping Joel now.

Here is the interview..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsDO1umJLfA&spfreload=10

Testimonial: Eliminate Asthma with Breathing Dynamics

A lovely testimonial and great result from another happy asthma sufferer – soon to be former sufferer.

The reason I bang on so much about breathing retaining is that this kind of result is the norm using my biofeedback driven breathing retraining rhythms. The shame is that most asthma sufferers overlook this technique as it seems to simple to be true.

“Tim Altman’s breathing techniques made a dramatic improvement to my asthma. The breathing exercises were easy to incorporate into my life, and the biofeedback was helpful to refine the technique. After two weeks I have reduced my asthma medication by half.”

Tim L, Melbourne

Read previous blogs of mine on Breathing Dynamics, The Biochemistry of Breathing and Breathing Dynamics Solutions for Asthma.

Or watch my Youtube video; ‘Breathing Is Life’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zulIZxuEUvw&t=58s

I am also about to launch an online course for “Breathing Dynamics Solutions for Asthma and Breathing Difficulties”. If you are interested in the course, or would like to book a clinic appointment with me, please email or call 0425 739 918.

 

 

 

Breathing Away to a Dream Career.

Testimonial: A Fantastic Breathing Dynamics Success Story.

A great success story for a client who came to me after having been accepted into the RAAF, but failed a peak flow test, so he couldn’t be admitted. He had an opportunity again a few weeks later, so he came to me for breathing training.

The peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) is a test that measures how fast a person can exhale (breathe out). This test checks lung functioning, and is often used by patients who have asthma.

Measurement of peak expiratory flow gives an idea of how narrow or obstructed a person’s airways are by measuring the maximum (or peak) rate at which they can blow air into a peak flow meter after a deep breath.

Peak flow monitoring helps measure how much, and when, the airways are changing. Due to the wide range of ‘normal’ values and high degree of variability, peak flow is not the recommended test to identify asthma. However, it can be useful in some circumstances.

“Breathing training went great. I managed to pass the test earlier today. Can’t thank you enough for your help. I’m certainly going to continue the techniques taught by you”.   Josh, Torquay

Similar to the BMI test for obesity, the peak flow test is a very crude measurement for breathing performance in that the test itself forces the recipient to over breathe, and therefore making them susceptible to symptoms of over breathing. Including constriction and spasm in the airways, as displayed in asthma.

Nevertheless, within a 2 week period, we retrain Josh’s breathing so that his body would accept a lower breathing rate and volume, and he was able to extend both the duration and volume of hos exhalation. The result being that he aced the test on the second occasion.

As such, Josh was able to be admitted to the RAAF and begin training for a career that had been a dream of his.

A great outcome, and a pleasure to assist a person chasing their dreams.

Not only can breathing retraining assist with many aspects of health or illness, it can also be fantasting in enhancing many aspects of performance.

Feel free to contact me via email or phone if you’d like to explore how improving your breathing can help your life.

 

 

 

 

Nutrition for Health and Performance

A lovely testimonial, below, that shows that, with enthusiasm and persistence, anyone can achieve great health and performance outcomes via healthy eating.

“Hi Tim,
I’d like to drop a line to let you know how I am going with eating healthy food. So far, I am feeling great and noticed some progress with my health. I find that my swimming has improved from 1.8km to 3km in an hour. I have progress to second fastest lane group……..My motivation in doing things are great. My surgery has now been booked to remove cancer from my kidney…….Thanks for your outstanding consultation.
Jo alias “Smokin Jo”

If you are interested in feeling like you’re ‘smokin’, then contact me for a consultation.healthy-food