About 18 months ago I stumbled upon a piece of technology that I knew immediately would play a role in not only treating and healing disease, but understanding the processes that lead to optimal health or peak performance.
This technology is known as the CapnoTrainer and it measures end-tidal CO2 levels during respiration. Because CO2 plays such a huge role in determining the availability of inhaled O2 to tissues and cells for energy, and CO2 is not readily available in the atmosphere at ground level (we produce CO2 as a bi-product of metabolism), it is vitally important we maintain a reservoir or store of CO2 in our lungs at the end of exhalation (otherwise known as end-tidal CO2) so that it can be made available in arterial blood to optimize release of oxygen to our cells.
As such, the CapnoTrainer is a fantastic opportunity, via biofeedback, for us to measure the efficiency of our breathing (or respiration). The biofeedback provides the chance to verify any theoretical understanding with a first person view of breathing efficiency.
My interest in breathing stemmed from 2 sources:
- My involvement in sport at elite levels as both an athlete and coach for well over twenty years. I had read a couple of years earlier an article from a leading and well respected sports physiologist who had said that, given the advances in understanding of physiological training and recovery over the last twenty years or so, breathing was the area that was least understood and held the greatest potential for improvement in sporting performance in the future. So my radar was up.
- I have had an interest and involvement in meditation for 20 years and yoga for the last 5 years. Both of these pursuits place a huge emphasis on breathing and efficiency of breath. As I was a regular meditator and had a regular practice in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, I was very open to understanding how to improve the efficiency or rhythm of my breathing.
The last 12 months, in conjunction with a colleague of mine, Mark McGrath who is a Movement Coach and Bodyworker and a leading professional in the field of Deep System Stabilisation, has involved us conducting extensive research in breathing physiology and biochemistry, the role of breathing in both disease and optimal health (or meta-health as it is often referred as), and methods to improve breathing efficiency.
We combined our previous learning in our areas of expertise with current scientific and medical knowledge of the respiratory system, and existing understandings and methods for improving breathing efficiency (including Buteyko breathing and the work of several pioneering and leading breathing experts – including Mike White, John Douillard, Roger Price and Dr Peter Litchfield).
We verified our theories and ideas using CapnoTrainer biofeedback technology to determine if the idea or theory was replicable in the human system.
From this we developed our own system of breathing and postural retraining called Breathing Dynamics. We have been using this clinically and in courses to improve efficiency of breathing, health and performance in a variety of circumstances including:
Performance work with
- Those involved with the arts.
And, in treatment of a number of conditions including:
- Asthma and breathing difficulties
- Anxiety and depression
- Stress management
- High blood pressure, hypertension
- Allergies (eczema, hay fever etc.)
- Digestive complaints (IBS, constipation etc.)
- In conjunction with corrective dental work.
The results we have been achieving with clients have been both outstanding and in some cases we have been nicely surprised.
As a result of this, and the fact that breathing is the function in our body that we perform the most whilst having some conscious control over it (and therefore is possibly the most central function in the human system that we can regulate or re-train), we believe that breathing retraining is a modality that should play a major role in most holistic health practices.
Why? Because the things that adversely affect breathing the most are the stressors that we are exposed to on a day to day basis, including:
- Postural and musculoskeletal stressors.
- Environmental stressors – what we ingest (eat, drink, inhale etc.).
- Psychological and emotional stressors.
These sources of stress, and the ailments resulting from them, are the direct focus of practically all of the holistic healing and medical modalities currently available.
That breathing retraining plays a major role in management and treatment of conditions addressed by these current modalities is a new concept, yet one that should be taken very seriously.
At Breathing Dynamics we offer group courses or one on one work in breathing retraining that can be tailored specifically to your circumstances or needs.