The Anti-Snooze Webinar: March 30th at 12 Noon

I’m really looking forward to hosting Anti- Snooze Lunch Webinar: March 30, 12 pm
It will explore a variety of ways to beat the 3.30 slump. Understanding and managing fatigue. Preventing Burnout :
The MLT WELLBEING Team invite you to a FREE anti snooze Zoom lunch with Tim Altman, Kay Clancy and Jen Bishop.

We use a multifactorial approach to preventing and treating fatigue, burn-out and overwhelm in the work place and creating a balance between work and family life.

Our approach is based on the understanding and research that has stemmed from the field of evolutionary medicine, which draws from genetics, epigenetics and anthropology.

In short, we discuss the mismatch theory of human evolution with research suggesting that the assimilation of change in our environment takes tens of thousands of years for our body to assimilate.

As such,  we’ve created a huge mismatch between the body we have inherited from our hunter gatherer ancestors some 40,000 years ago or more, and the high paced, intense world we have created via rapid technological advancement over a comparatively much, much shorter period of time.

To quote world leading evolutionary medicine expert from Harvard University, Dr Daniel Lieberman:

Interactions between the bodies we inherited, the environment we create, and the decisions we sometimes make have set in motion an insidious feedback loop. We get sick from chronic diseases by doing what we evolved to do but under conditions for which our bodies are poorly adapted, and we then pass on those same conditions to our children, who also then get sick. If we wish to halt this vicious circle then we need to figure out how to respectfully and sensibly nudge, push and sometimes oblige ourselves to eat foods that promote health and to be more physically active. That too, is what we evolved to do.” Daniel Lieberman, ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health & Disease.’

In this webinar we explore a number of aspects of how we live or interface with the world that dramatically influence our well-being, energy levels, immune system, and our mental health. In each of these aspects, we compare how we typically perform these functions in the modern world with how the body we inherited would ideally perform these functions – in an environment in which we thrived.

I will cover tips and strategies on how to manage all aspects that affect fatigue and energy levels including specifics on:

1. Breathing techniques to regulate your autonomic nervous system.
2. Daily nutrition strategies for peak mental/brain performance.
3. Sleep hygiene, managing airways and new dental approaches for fatigue prevention.
4. Movement, exercise and stabilising for energy.
5. Techniques and workplace tools for managing stress in the new pivot economy.

MLT colleague and super coach Kay Clancy, will discuss the PERMA model of well-being and how to apply this to your workplace and lifestyle.

Finally, MLT Wellbeing founder Jen Bishop will discuss the gut/brain connection latest research from the Florey Institute and the impacts on fatigue, sleep and function.

Come join us March 30 packed with deep info and insight on harnessing and your greatest resource – your energy. Bring loads of questions and lots of water !

Click on this link to register: http://bit.ly/MLTantisnoozeMar30

Take A Breath Podcast Interview with World Renowned Yoga Teacher, Simon Borg-Olivier

In the linked (at the bottom of this article) episode of the Take A Breath Health and Lifestyle Show, which I co-host with Matt Radford, we interview world renowned yoga teacher and physiotherapist, Simon Borg-Olivier.

Simon’s accomplishments in his field include teaching yoga for over 30 years, founding Yoga Synergy in Sydney, authoring the book ‘Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga’, and he now trains yoga teachers all over the world.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Simon’s introduction to free diving as a 6 year old, and pranayama breathing techniques not long afterwards.
  • How Simon’s training as both a scientist & physiotherapist, and yoga practitioner allowed him to merge the scientific paradigm with yoga.
  • The clash between the ‘core training’ approach to posture and stability held by the physiotherapy and fitness professions for many years with the understanding of the importance of free movement of the diaphragm for correct breathing.
  • Simon’s belief that the first thing that should be taught to students for their long term well-being is the restoration of natural breathing as most people’s breathing is so inefficient that, if they are given specific breathing techniques, they will tend to over-breathe and over-tense.

  • And that natural breathing is most effectively learned by combining it with moving the body, especially the trunk in certain ways that improves breathing in many ways.
  • What is over-breathing.
  • How Simon teaches breathing to students – including restoration of natural breathing, as well as other specific pranayama techniques.
  • Simon’s 5 features of natural breathing:

  1. Inhalation is felt very low.

  2. Exhalation is passive.

  3. Breathing is minimal – no more than you need.

  4. It can run on automatic.

  5. Through the nose.

  • Simon’s views on the Wim Hof method, including the strengths and limitations.
  • An incredible experience Simon shared where he was recorded in a laboratory doing hyperventilation breathing techniques (similar to the Wim Hof techniques, but more complex) followed by a 6 minute breath hold, then a spontaneous 8 minute breath hold immediately afterwards.
  • Techniques for learning to increase breath hold time – including connecting with the 12 areas of the body that allow dual control between the conscious and sub-conscious – the ‘12 bridges’.
  • Why Simon believes that most modern yoga is no longer yoga – it involves over stretching, over-tensing, over-breathing, and over-thinking, and therefore blocks the natural movement of energy and information through the body. It is more like a work-out.

More information on Simon, and his yoga teaching can be found at www.yogasynergy.com, and the Yoga Synergy Youtube channel. Plus www.simonborgolivier.com

If you’d like to learn how to breathe correctly to improve your well-being, treat illness or improve performance, either sign up for my comprehensive ‘Breathing Dynamics’ online course on the home page of this website, http://timaltman.com.au/, or contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or +61425 739 918.

https://www.takeabreath.com.au/post/interview-with-simon-borg-oliver

 

 

‘Take A Breath’ Podcast Interview with Dr Craig Hassed

Linked below is a great interview on the ‘Take A Breath Health and Lifestyle Show’ podcast that I co-host, with Dr Craig Hassed, world renowned researcher and lecturer on mindulness, meditation and psychoneuroimmunology, Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), also referred to as psychoendoneuroimmunology (PENI) or psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology (PNEI), is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body.

Dr Hassed has written many books on mindfulness, meditation and mind-body medicine, including ‘The Freedom Trap – Reclaiming Liberty and Well-being’, and ‘Mindfulness For Life’ among many more.

His fantastic book, ‘New Frontiers In Medicine: The Body As a Shadow of the Soul’ was a huge inspiration to me many years ago during my studies into natural medicine and in my process to optimal health & living following my successful and complete recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Both myself, and Take A Breath co-host Matt Radford (https://www.takeabreath.com.au/) were super nervous prior, and a bit star struck during our interview as Dr Hassed has been such an inspiration to us. However, we was super friendly and relaxed, so we really enjoyed it, and his discussion on the podcast is brilliant. I highly recommend you take the time to listen.

https://www.takeabreath.com.au/post/interview-with-dr-craig-hassed

Podcast Interview: The Power of Correct Breathing with Tim Altman via Lionheart Workshops

Linked here is a podcast interview I did recently with Jenni Madison of Lionheart Workshops which offers Online courses for your health, natural and spiritual wellbeing.

The ‘Breathing Dynamics’ online course for correct breathing to improve your health & wellbeing, vitality and performance is now available on this website,  http://timaltman.com.au/ , and  the Lionheart Workshops website.

In addition, I am part of the Mindful Life Training team, who will be offering in person and virtual wellbeing/leadership courses to organisations and workplaces that are customised for your team. These will include courses on ‘Breathing for Anxiety/Stress’ and ‘Breathing for Peak Performance’. Enquiries or bookings can be made now on the website.

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Breathing is something that we do automatically it is the foundation for life. Learning to understand the dynamics of breathing within the body and to breath correctly can stimulate a depth from within you and transform your entire well-being. Yogi’s know this!

Due to the mismatch that has been formed withing our evolutionary biology (between the environment our body evolved to thrive in, as hunter gatherers, and the fast-paced, high tech world we have created) with regards to the bodies evolution, natural and unnatural stress responses and the way we actually see or perceive ourselves as human beings today.

This mismatch of evolution has led to an unnatural response to life through feelings of anxiety triggered incorrectly by stress responses. Hence the ‘mismatch’, and resultant common experience of compromised health, anxiety, fatigue, burn out, lack of performance, joy and fulfillment.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or unwell, a powerful solution could be as simple as the way you take in your air.

Whilst we have evolved in so many ways, and it may not be right for us to return to hunter gatherer days, we must also understand what our body is naturally built for and that the flight or fight response is not a permanent state of being.

Breathing correctly and understanding the dynamics of correct breathing once again can help to mitigate the unnecessary, self created concept of ‘threats’ to our survival, that is the flight or fight response.

The approach to health, well-being and performance is more hands on, and takes some practice, but yields super potent and long term results.

Breathing Dynamics can help with:

√ deepening your meditation practice

√ improved quality of sleep

√ better digestion and immune system function (and therefore increased resistance to illness – including viruses).

√ less anxiety or the release of anxiety

√ improved mental clarity

√ better work and sports performance

We really do often over look such a natural autonomic physiological response to life in many ways. And we have far more potential than we realise that can be accessed via correct or optimal breathing function.

Use The Breath to Control The Mind

Breath and mind arise from the same place and when one of them is controlled, the other one is controlled.
Watching the breath is one form of pranayama (meditation/mindfulness).
Merely watching the breath is easy and involves no risk”

Ramana Maharshi

My comprehensive online course for correct breathing is available on the home page of this website – http://timaltman.com.au/

Also, at Mindful Life Training we offer evidence based diaphragmatic breathing and mindfulness courses to organisations both in person and online to help you optimise your wellbeing, performance and state of being. Details linked here – https://www.mindfullife.com.au/breathing-for-anxietystress

Take The Mind Out of Mindfulness – It’s Also a Physical Thing!

In my last post I described Meditation as Medicine courtesy the huge amount of research pointing to the physiological and psychological benefits, and the breathing is the centre or anchor of all meditation, and mindfulness is the objective.

If it is so good for us, why has it not caught on more?

Perhaps, because we are so engaged in our heads, or our minds are so busy all of the time, sitting to meditate and quieten the mind is just not that easy.

Many people struggle to quieten or focus their thoughts, or experience ‘mindfulness’, for more than a few minutes at a time. Some struggle to do this at all.

For so many sitting down to meditate or even practice mindfulness whilst going about their day can feel like mental effort, or be frustrating, or futile – people often say that ‘meditation is not for me’.

I dispute that. It’s just that they haven’t learn how to do it properly or consistently yet. It doesn’t have to be only a mental thing, or a mental effort.

The base of all meditation, mindfulness, yoga, martial arts etc. is the breath.

By relaxing and focusing on the breath, you firstly settle the nervous system.

By focusing on the breath, the mind focuses.

By settling the breath, the mind settles and quietens.

One experiences mindfulness.

We know from research on mindfulness and meditation, that when your nervous system becomes parasympathetic dominant, you experience the ‘relaxation response’ and you are more likely to experience mindfulness at a greater depth.

We also know that the nervous system that regulates whether we are relaxed or stressed, also regulates all of our automatic functions, and, of all of these automatic functions, the breath is the one you can consciously control or modify with ease – with training.

Therefore, by learning to use the breath correctly, using the nose, diaphragm and in certain rhythms, one can settle the nervous system, relax and increase the likelihood that you will experience mindfulness, or meditation, and as a result, you get the most potent medicine available to us – and all of the physiological and psychological benefits that go along with it.

What makes this even better is that meditation, or mindfulness is not a mental effort, or solely a mental process. It’s also a physical process. And this part is easy to learn.

If you find meditation difficult to do, or difficult to maintain for periods of time, then make it a physical thing more than a mental effort. Learn how to breathe ideally to create the physical state that will make you more likely to be mindful more often, and to either begin your meditation practice, or take your current practice to a much deeper level.

At Mindful Life Training, www.mindfullife.com.au, we offer both online and in person courses on both functional breathing for meditation/mindfulness, and mindfulness courses t businesses and organisations.

You will also find my comprehensive online breathing course on the home page of this website – http://timaltman.com.au/

MEDITATION IS MEDICINE

MEDITATION IS MEDICINE

After 20 years as a clinician working with health, wellbeing and performance both one on one or with groups, if, for some hypothetical reason, I were restricted to only having one modality/intervention to improve any of these outcomes, I have no hesitation in saying that it would be meditation.

I heard it described by a very wise person once that ‘Meditation is Medicine’, and if you look at the overwhelming amount of research evidence that points to the physiological and psychological benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and breath work, there can be no doubt about it.

Linked below is a research review I wrote on meditation that was written nearly 20 years ago, so the weight of evidence has grown significantly since – http://timaltman.com.au/meditation-is-medicine/

This evidence also applies to consistent practice of breathing rhythms and mindfulness, which are forms of meditation. Actually, breathing is the base or anchor for all meditation and mindfulness practice (as well as yoga, martial arts, tai chi etc), and mindfulness is the desired result, or ideal state of meditation practice.

At Mindful Life Training we offer online and in person breathing courses to organisations for stress management/relaxation/anxiety and for performance/flow states, as well as a range of mindfulness courses.

Also, my online breathing retraining course is available via the homepage of this website – www.timaltman.com.au

 

3 Top Health Tips For Surviving CoVid and Thriving Beyond

After having specialised for many years in treating people with chronic illnesses such as CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive complaints, as well as working at the other end of the well-being spectrum with corporates and athletes to improve performance, here are my top three well-being tips for surviving/thriving during CoVid and lessons we can learn so we thrive, going beyond.
These draw from research in nutritional medicine, neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, epigenetics, evolutionary medicine, physiology and biochemistry.

1. Practice diaphragmatic breathing rhythms 3 times daily for 10 minutes ea.

Most people breathe nowhere near their full potential – twice as often as we should (according to diagnostic norms) using our chest and shoulders instead of our diaphragm, and with our mouth in addition to, or instead of our nose. This impairs energy production by the cells, upsets our nervous system putting us in constant low to mid-level fight or flight mode, and can significantly reduce our performance and contribute to many health conditions, including:

  • asthma and breathing difficulties
  • sleep issues – including snoring and sleep apnoea
  • fatigue and chronic pain
  • anxiety and depression
  • headaches and migraines
  • allergies and sinusitis
  • IBS and other digestive complaints
Breathing is also the central, or base practice in meditation, most martial arts, yoga, tai-chi etc. The volume of research on breath practice, and particularly meditation is now huge.
Enough to say that breath-work and meditation are medicine – both physically and mentally.
If you already have a meditation practice, incorporate the breathing rhythms into your practice, especially at the start, as it will settle your nervous system into relaxation mode more quickly, and take the practice to a deeper level.
If you don’t, start with the regular breathing rhythms.
To start, see my online breathing course via  http://timaltman.com.au/

2. Eat more fruit and vegetables.

The most common denominator from the last 100 years or so of nutritional research is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the better your quality of life, and immune system, and the more you prevent the chronic illnesses that account for 90% of medical expenses and deaths in the western world.

Aim for a minimum of 6 full handfuls (your handful) of vegetables and 3 handfuls of seasonal fruit to your climate daily.
That = 9 handfuls of fruit and vegetables daily. If you struggle to achieve it, reduce your intake of processed foods, grains, dairy etc. as they provide nowhere the bang for buck nutritionally that fruit and vegetables do, but fill you up so there’s less room for the quality stuff.
If you eat meat (read meat, fish, poultry etc), have no more than a palm size portion in each meal, and buy organic wherever possible as the quality of the meat and the fats is much, much better.

3. Get more variety and reward in your day.

Research in genetics, anthropology and evolutionary medicine tells us that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for change in our environment to be assimilated by our bodies at DNA level, meaning that our body evolved to thrive as we lived 40,000 years ago at least, as hunter-gatherers. The way we spend our days has changed dramatically since then, but we can learn plenty about what our bodies are built for, or what environments cause them to thrive or fail.
The average hunter-gatherer population spent 15-25 hours per week hunting and gathering. So they got far more variety, balance and down time in their day than we did. We are simply not built to work as much as we do, and it takes its toll on our physical and mental health in more ways than we may realise.
Whilst, for a number of reasons it may not be easy or realistic to reduce your working hours so much straight away, or at all, we can learn so much from what our body is built for and apply the following principles into each day. Some tips include:
  • Combine work with reward; i.e. 45 minutes on, 15 minutes reward, or 2  hours on, half and hour reward, 3 hours on, 1 hour reward etc.
  • In your reward time, gut up from your desk and do something different – that you enjoy.
  • On that note, spend more time each day on activities you enjoy for no reason – your brain and nervous system will love you for it. If the list of things you enjoy has grown small over the years of grinding at work, think back to what you used to enjoy or what you’d like to do more of, and start applying them.
  • Get more variety in the tasks you do each working day. For example, if you spend long hours at your computer, then schedule in work calls regularly, and get up from your desk if you can and move around or go somewhere else whilst taking the call.
  • Sit less. Find ways of working in different postures – a standing desk, ergonomic chairs etc. I often lie on the floor and work on my computer when working from home.
  • Spend more time outside every day.
  • Take time after work to transition from work to home/social life. The breathing techniques above are great for this.
  • These adjustments require a significant shift in attitude, but most people who take the leap and start to implement these changes find they get far more done in each day, in less time than they did previously. Plus they don’t experience the burn-out and lack of joy that so many of us do.
I work one on one in clinic and with corporate or sporting groups as a natural medicine practitioner, breath coach, wellbeing coach, and also coaching paddlers ranging from beginners to international level. See  http://timaltman.com.au/ and https://www.worldpaddle.com/
I also work with wellbeing and performance online and in person in the corporate sector (see https://www.mindfullife.com.au/?loaded), and now have an online breathing course available via  http://timaltman.com.au/   or   https://www.lionheartworkshops.com/breathing-dynamics-tim-altman

Take A Breath Course for Sportspeople at Stable Base

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.

 

For more details please contact info@stablebase.com or 9041 2850 or Tim Altman at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918

 

 

 

 

 

                         

5 Ways Mouth Breathing Can Cause Fatigue

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 tim@timaltman.com.au 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.

 

My 8 Minutes of Fame!! A Short Radio Interview on Breathing.

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmAsUUXZYQE

Performance Breathing Course led by Tim Altman @ One Lifestyle, RACV, Torquay

I’m excited to be offering a 6 week performance breathing course in October-November as a joint venture with One Lifestyle Fitness Centre, RACV, Torquay.

It is suitable beginners, or as ongoing training for those who’ve already done a breathing course with myself or anyone else before.

Ideal for surfers, water and land based athletes, asthma sufferers, or those wanting more energy and relaxatation, or to manage stress more effectively.

Details linked:

Performance Breathing Course with Tim AltmanBookings essential.Register at One Lifestyle reception 52611661http://timaltman.com.au

Posted by One Lifestyle – Fitness Centre at RACV Torquay Resort on Saturday, 29 September 2018

 

 

 

 

Video: Breath Training To Improve Sporting & Surfing Peformance

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 tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918 to discuss or make an appointment. I work one on one, with groups or online.

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 tim@timaltman.com.au 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.

Tim Altman Talks Men’s Health @ Surfcoast Wholefoods, Torquay

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.  tim@timaltman.com.au 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.

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 Dynamics For Optimal Health and Performance

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? 

OVER BREATHING!!!!

OVERBREATHING/DYSFUNCTIONAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:                                      

  1. Snoring, sleep apnoea, waking un-refreshed         

  2. Asthma, breathing difficulties  

  3. Anxiety, panic attacks

  4. Hypertension, high blood pressure

  5. Eczema, dry skin, skin irritations

  6. Fatigue/lack of endurance or stamina

  7. Allergies, sinusitis, excessive mucous production

  8. Teeth deformities

When you reduce oxygen release to cells, those cells lose functionality or under perform.

 

OPTIMAL BREATHING CAN RESULT IN:

  1. A full night of quiet sleep. Waking refreshed. 
  1. Controlled, easy breathing (even when exercising). 
  1. Greater energy levels and vitality. 
  1. Greater mental concentration and clarity. 
  1. Significantly improved work, sporting and/or artistic performance. 
  1. Clear skin. 
  1. 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.

THE CapnoTrainer™

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:

  1. Use of a greater surface area of your lungs for gas exchange.
  2. Increase oxygen release to tissue and cells of your body.
  3. For athletes – delay onset of lactic acid.
  4. Reduced heart rates even under pressure or at higher levels of exertion.
  5. Greater relaxation at all levels of stress or exertion via increased parasympathetic nervous system activation.
  6. Greater access to ‘Zone’ or ‘alpha’ states during performance, exercise or racing.
  7. Increased deep system stabilization (postural) via diaphragmatic control.
  8. 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

 

 

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF MUSCLES INVOLVED IN BREATHING

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:

INSPIRATORY MUSCLES:

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.

EXPIRATORY MUSCLES:

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-

gary@torquaysmc.com.au, 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”