What Capnometry Biofeedback Technology Looks Like and Measures

In a follow up to my last video discussing the potency of Capnometry biofeedback technology for assessing and retraining client’s breathing, I discuss what this technology measures and what you will see on the screen as you are being measured.

Firstly, Capnometry is measuring the volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air that you are exhaling. In hospitals it is used to monitor a patient’s breathing, especially if they are unconscious or have undergone an anaesthetic or are in a coma. The graph starts to curve upwards at the beginning of exhalation (with a slight delay) as CO2 increases, and it curves downwards as exhalation ceases (again, with a slight delay).

The technology provides 2 measurements which give us great information on breathing efficiency for assessment and training:

1. Breathing rate per minute – ideally 8-10 bpm in adults at rest.

2. End-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) – ideally 40mmHg. This is a measurement of the volume of CO2 in the lungs at the end of exhalation. This ETCO2 is essential for respiratory efficiency as it acts as a reservoir of CO2 that permeates back into the blood stream to maintain ideal levels of arterial CO2, which plays a major role in allowing the passage of oxygen from the air we inhale in the lungs, to the cells of the body for energy production. This process is based on the principles of the Bohr Effect and discussed in my last video/post. However, in short, without sufficient arterial CO2 levels. this process is impaired and we produce insufficient amounts of energy, which can lead to fatigue and many other symptoms of illness, including asthma, breathing difficulties, anxiety, sinusitis, snoring & sleep apnoea, headaches & migraines, memory problems, cognitive disturbance etc.

The beauty of this technique is that not only is it fantastic as an assessment of breathing efficiency (non-diagnostic), for breathing retraining it provides in the moment feedback about the efficacy of techniques and rhythms we implement to improve a client’s breathing to ideal, or optimal levels.

As such, we are able to find the best techniques and rhythms specific to each client, and therefore provide them with a specific, individualised breathing retraining program to remove symptoms of illness, improve quality of life and sleep, give them greater energy levels and relaxation, and improve performance.

Breathing as a function, and modality of health is as important and nutrition and exercise. In fact, it is more central than both of these, so it certainly should not be ignored, neglected, or taken for granted (as most of us do).

If you’d like your breathing assessed and to work out an ideal retraining program for your breathing, contact me via me website, www.timaltman.com.au, or email tim@timaltman.com.au.

Video: Capnometry Biofeedback Technology is Super Potent for Clinical Assessment & Training of Breathing.

After learning extensively about the science of breathing, and techniques for optimising breathing, implementing biofeedback technology called Capnometry, which us used in hospitals to monitor patients breathing, into my clinical work with breathing has seen my understanding of breathing function, and the best techniques for retraining breathing function to optimal levels skyrocket.

In clinic this technology is highly effective for assessing the efficiency of a client’s breathing based on breathing rate per minute (ideally 8-10 bpm), and end tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2), or the amount of CO2 in the lungs at the end of exhalation (ideally at least 40mmHg).

The body regulates breathing based on arterial levels of CO2 predominantly, rather than arterial oxygen (O2). This is because the challenge with breathing is not getting enough oxygen in. We have heaps. In fact, at rest, we utilise less than one quarter of the O2 we inhale (the rest is exhaled), and we have heaps of oxygen stores in our blood stream (known as oxygen saturation levels, which are typically 97-99%).

The challenge is actually getting the oxygen we have in our blood stream, or that we inhale, into our cells for energy production (the main purpose of breathing). If we fail to do this, the consequences are fatal. CO2 plays a major role in this process. Rather than being a waste gas that we completely exhale, we store CO2 (as there’s only 0.03% in atmospheric air, so we can’t rely on this) as it is the limiting factor in determining breathing efficiency,

Based on the principles of the Bohr Effect, CO2 facilitates the passage of oxygen from our lungs to our cells for energy production. If CO2 levels are too low, we simply don’t get enough oxygen to our cells, so energy production is impaired, and survival is threatened. Conversely, if CO2 levels are too high, it upsets respiratory balance, and our body will increase breathing rate and volume to reduce levels. In order to maintain sufficient CO2 levels, our body stores CO2 in our lungs at the end of exhalation, known as end-tidal CO2, which then permeates back into the blood stream to maintain respiratory balance.

We definitely should not fully exhale all of the air in our lungs in order to maintain respiratory balance (at rest) – the exhale is simply a recoil of the diaphragm and lungs.

Unfortunately, without realising it, the vast majority of us breathe nowhere near ideal efficiency- we breathe twice as often as we should and with far too much volume.

This adversely affects our arterial CO2 levels, and therefore the balance in our respiratory system, and ultimately energy production. The consequence of this long term is that our body starts to produce symptoms of illness as a result of the body’s attempt to compensate for this inefficiency and restore balance. These symptoms include difficulties in breathing & asthma, anxiety, sinusitis, snoring & sleep apnoea, fatigue, digestive complaints, headaches & migraines, ADHD and many more.

Therefore this biofeedback technology is fantastic for assessing respiratory efficiency, and also in implementing techniques and rhythms to retrain breathing back to ideal, or functional levels. In so doing, with regular practice, clients experience greater energy levels, relaxation, and reduced symptoms of illness.

In addition, as clients can see significant differences on a screen of their baseline breathing efficiency and when they introduce optimal breathing techniques, so compliance of clients to their at home breath training improves significantly also.

Finally, as a result of measuring and observing the breathing of thousands of clients over the years, my understanding of breathing function and ideal techniques has grown exponentially.

If you’d like to have your breathing efficiency assessed , or learn how to breathe optimally, please contact me for a one on one clinic  appointment, or inline consultation.

Another Chronic Fatigue (CFS) Recovery Using Mickel Therapy, Breathing Exercises and more..

Below is a testimonial from a client who made a great recovery from chronic fatigue (CFS). It’s so humbling to witness the freedom and accomplishment clients experience after recoverng from chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, anxiety & depression, IBS etc.

Especially given they are so frequently told by medical practitioners and ‘research’ that a cure is not possible, so most sufferers end up feeling so helpless. It is so confidence and soul destorying for them.

Having experienced this myself, I know how they feel, and that is why I have been so motivated to find the most potent modalities to achieve recoveries over the last 20+ years of practice.

Plus it gives me such joy and a warm heart to see the change in them. As mentioned, it’s extremely humbling to guide them on their journey to recovery.

“After years of struggling with chronic fatigue with no improvement, I had lost hope of ever getting better. But working with Tim led to a huge boost in my overall well being. Using Mickel therapy, breathing exercises, and a variety of lifestyle enhancements, I’ve had levels of improvement that I didn’t think would be possible. He told me from day one that he wanted to help me become more resilient, and that’s exactly what we accomplished together.

My primary care doctor once told me that recovery from CFS is a game of percentages — that anything you can do to increase your energy by a small percentage is considered a success. And I can say that working with Tim has dramatically flipped those percentages in my favor. At my worst point, I spent a solid 90% of every day feeling absolutely miserable. And now I’d say it’s comfortably the other way around. I’m able to work full time, maintain a healthy social life, and even mix in some exercise at this point! I can’t recommend highly enough.”

But, wait there’s more. He sent me an addition a little while later:

“I also want you to know that I played my first 20 minutes of soccer in over two years this weekend! ……….I can’t tell you how great it felt to be on a field playing again.”

I love it. What was even more cool, was that this client lives on the other side of the planet from me, so all of the work we did together towards his recovery was done via online consultations.

If you suffer from CFS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, IBS or any other chronic illness, and are suck of feeling helpless, then contact me to have a chat about a potential recovery.

 

 

 

 

A Super Effective Post Viral Syndrome & Long CoVid Herbal Treatment

In the many years that I have been treating clients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS); otherwise known as post-viral fatigue/syndrome, adrenal fatigue, and more; I’ve reserached and trialled many remedies for treatment and prevention of these/this chronic ailment, including many herbal and supplemental remedies.

Undoubtedly the best or most successful herbal treatment I’ve found, and one that I still use to this date, is combining a couple of fantastic pure extract herbs from Siberia, which I came across via the Russian reserach biochemist & doctor who treated me in my recovery from CFS or post-viral fatigue/syndrome, and mentored me as a practitioner.

The same principles apply in use of these herbs for long CoVid as they do for any other post-viral fatigue I’ve treated, including post glandular fever (Epstein-Barr virus), post Ross River fever, chronic sinusitis, post flu etc etc.

Extensive Russian reserach on the first of these herbs has shown that is a fantastic anitmicrabial/antiviral herb as well as having immunostimulant, and potent liver rejuvenative and protective properties In a virus, the liver is put under huge load in order to detoxify and eliminate the viral load, so it is fantastic for helping to clear the viral load in the body, and to help rejuvenate the liver and immune system for the long term.

The other is a adatogenic herb which helps the body adapt to stress (the virus putting the body under huge stress) by supporting the adrenal glands, as well as stimulating the immune system, and building energy levels, endurance and stamina.

Here’s some brief information on each herb:

Conifer Green Needle Complex (CGNC) is extracted from green conifer needles, which was the first product of the Bioeffective family to be developed in the Russian science of forest biochemistry by Professors Solodsky and Agranat in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Initially (and still presently) in Russia it was used both topically for burns, wounds and frostbite, and to accelerate skin regeneration following surgery; and internally as a source of nutrition, vitamins and for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu’s and other infections. It saved many lives during the 900 day Siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in World War II when the German army surrounded and lay siege to the entire town. It was used as a nutritional enhancement or supplement in the bread (made from sawdust and a cellulose extract) and water that provided the staple diet that the starving population of Leningrad was forced to live on.

After the war successful trials led to Bioeffective A being embraced in Russia as a wide spectrum natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal preparation. Some 70 or more years and 3.5 million PhD hours of research later, CGNC has now been made available in the rest of the world.

This research has shown that CGNC has the following properties:

  • wide spectrum anti-microbial
  •  immune-stimulating
  • antioxidant
  • liver protective and regenerative
  •  haematogenic (blood building)
  •  tissue regenerative
  •  anti-atherosclerotic
  • anti-carcinogenic

Internally, CGNC is indicated for:

  • prevention and treatment of many disorders including infectious diseases such as colds, influenza and other acute respiratory viral infections
  • detoxification processes
  • drug and alcohol rehabilitation of liver diseases such as cirrhosis, hepatitis etc.
  • preventing or inhibiting the progression of atherosclerosis
  • reducing the risk of oncological disorders
  • treating toxic damage to bone marrow
  • as an adjuvant in treatment of chronic diseases of the lungs and GI tract (such as atopic gastritis, stomach ulcers, H.pylori infection, IBS etc.)

The second herb is an extract from the needles of Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) trees.

Fascinated with the incredible adaptive ability of Siberian fir and pine trees to endure the extremes of conditions in Siberia (temperatures ranging from -55 to +40 degrees celcius, and extended periods of 24 hour daily darkness), yet still thrive, remain disease free and maintain their green colour all year round Siberian scientists developed an extract of the biologically active extracts from the ‘live elements’ of these trees. The needles of these trees, the ‘live elements,’ have the ability to remain green and transform the energy of the sun into air and chlorophyll even in light deficient conditions.

These extracts are utilized readily because analogous compounds already exist in the human body. For example, chlorophyll has a structure similar to that of haemoglobin in the human blood (which transports oxygen to the tissues).

As a result, the Russian scientists were looking to mimic the incredible adaptive and enduring properties of Siberian pine and fir trees in the human body.

Their research on extracts from the needles of Siberian fir (Abies sibirica) trees have unearthed several astounding properties:

  • Potent antioxidant activity (ORAC values for batches tested to date are around 350,000 umol/L as Vit E equivalents)
  • Adaptogencic – trials indicating that they enhance functioning of the immune system
  • Ability to increase physical endurance and stamina (reduce fatigue)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune system stimulant – prevention of colds and flus
  • Helpful with fatigue and anaemia.

I use other techniques in addition to these herbs, however they definitely form an integral part of my treatment strategy, and have seen lots of fantastic recoveries using this approach.

These herbs are practitioner herbs, which I carry stock of. If you are suffering from long-Covid or porst-viral fatigue/syndrome, and are struggling to get over it, then contact me for a potential solution that is not well known, but highly effective.

The dosages we use are different to those for general use, as we are targetting outcomes for a specific chronic condition.

 

 

 

Case Study – Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Success Story Using Breathing Dynamics

SNORING & OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA SUCCESS CREATES IMPROVED ENERGY, MEMORY & CONCENTRATION & A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH PARTNER

Male 64 y.o. complaining of snoring & sleep apnoea.

He’s had a long history of snoring – most of his life. He and his wife sleep in separate rooms as a result.

He complains of feeling fatigued regularly, unrefreshed on waking, experiences frequent headaches, and often has difficulty with memory and concentration.

He was diagnosed with moderate obstructive sleep apnoea several years ago, with 20 apnoea episodes per hour.

He has a CPAP machine, however he hates it and rarely uses it (whilst CPAP technology is considered the gold standard for sleep apnoea treatment, and they definite provide a solution, long term compliance overall is not great, with data varying from anywhere between 15-50% long term compliance).

Other medical information:

High blood pressure – on medication.

Teeth grinding at night – he uses a mandibular advancement device (MAD) via his dentist at night (when not using his CPAP) to reduce this.

Slightly overweight.

Hi average daily diet indicates that he mildly hypoglycaemic, with afternoon slumps in energy, brain fog and desire for refined carbohydrates and sweets. He also relies on coffee to get going each day, and consumes 2-3 coffees per day.

He consumes 2-3 alcoholic drinks 3-4 days per on average, with nothing on the other days.

Capnometry biofeedback testing for breathing efficiency revealed that his baseline breathing was between 18-22 breaths per minute (ideally 8-10bpm) with ETCO2 (end tidal CO2 – a measure that is closely correlated to arterial CO2 levels, and indicates breathing efficiency) levels between 28-32mmHg (ideally 40mmHg).

When we slowed his breathing down to 6-8 breath per minute, his ETCO2 levels increases slightly, but not significantly.

However, introducing breathing rhythms where we reduced the volume of breathing significantly, ETCO2 levels raised to between 35-40mmHg. He found the rhythm slightly challenging, but he definitely felt more relaxed, and had more energy.

Therefore the excessive volume of his breathing is a significant contributor to his breathing dysfunction, and one that should be focussed on in treatment.

This client’s objective is to feel more in control of, or eliminate his snoring and sleep apnoea so he can have more energy, mental clarity and overall wellness.

Plus, he’d like to sleep in the same bed with his partner more often, and recreate more intimacy in their relationship. The absence of these in his relationship eats away at him.

Treatment objectives:

Treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea is a multifactorial process that best requires a team of practitioners in specific fields working together. These include dentists & orthodontists, ENT specialists, breathing specialists, nutrition specialists and often musculoskeletal practitioners.

Sleep apnoea is often described in medical terms as sleep disordered breathing, but it is actually the opposite. It is a breathing dysfunction that creates pathological symptoms that severely disrupt sleep. As such, it is breathing disordered sleep.

The chronic symptoms and health problems that follow from snoring and sleep apnoea begin with  dysfunctional breathing, and can be fixable by learning how to breathe correctly again.

However, most people, without realising it breathe far too often (twice as often as we should), and with far too much volume because they breathe with their mouth open or with parted lips, rather than with their nose as they should – in other words, we OVER-BREATHE!

And it gets worse at night in bed – particularly as many people sleep with their mouth open.

It is this over-breathing with mouth open that leads to snoring, and the imbalance in the respiratory system that results in apnoea episodes throughout the night, reduced energy production, dry mouth and throat in the morning, and many other symptoms associated with snoring and sleep apnoea.

There are other factors that contribute to and compound snoring and sleep apnoea, and these often need to be addressed also.

However, without addressing over-breathing you’ll always be prone to snoring and sleep apnoea. And many of the issues we mentioned will always bother you.

Addressing the person’s dysfunctional breathing is fundamental to the treatment of snoring and sleep apnoea.

In the case of obstructive sleep apnoea, it is essential to also address the factors that create an obstruction in the person’s airway, as these also contribute significantly to the break down in breathing function in sleep apnoea.

There are several factors that can create obstructions in the airways:

  1. Obesity – fat gathering in and around the throat.
  2. Dental Reasons – malpositioned jaw, caused by tension in the muscles.
  3. Alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles.
  4. Throat weakness – causing it to close during sleep.
  5. Nasal passage and sinus obstruction.
  6. Sleeping on the back – leading to the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth.

In mAny cases, lifestyle factors such as obesity, alcohol consumption, sleeping on the back, and stress contribute to a significant amount of breathing obstruction during sleep, and improving these will make the most difference in reducing or removing the obstruction.

Treatment Plan:

  1. Breathing Dynamics program to retrain breathing to ideal levels – more slowly with less volume, using the nose instead of the mouth. Regular practice of breathing rhythms 2-3 times daily for 10 minutes each time will train the body to breathe more slowly, with less volume habitually on a day to day basis. Similar to geeing fit, the body adjusts to breathing retraining over time. Therefore, this slower, gentler breathing will result in the person being far less likely to snore and over-breathe at night in their sleep, and the resultant imbalance in the respiratory system that results in apnoea episodes in less likely to occur.
  2. Not sleeping on the back at all – there are some night shirts that have a tennis ball sewn in to the back to prevent sleeping on the back.
  3. Keeping the mouth closed at night using porous paper tape (i.e. Micropore tape) – mouth breathing is dysfunctional breathing as breathing through the mouth allows up to 6 x the volume of air travelling in and out of the respiratory system, making it far more likely that both snoring, and the resultant imbalance in the respiratory system that lead to apnoea episodes occur.
  4. As the client hates using his CPAP machine, and rarely (if ever) uses it, we will lead with the above to keep the mouth closed at night. However in the case of some patients who use their CPAP nightly, but would like to reduce their reliance in it over time, we would wean them off this, and onto mouth taping over time, and relying on the CPAP as a back-up if the client has consumed alcohol or is overly stressed etc. I also recommend this client use his CPAP the nights he has consumed excessive alcohol, or was super tired or stressed and taping did not necessarily stick – especially earlier in his practice.
  5. Reducing alcohol consumption to 2 nights per week only.
  6. Modifying his diet to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce weight by decreasing consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates significantly, increasing fruit and vegetable intake, ensuring that at least the first meal of the day has quality protein, having quality snacks comprising nuts & seeds and fresh fruit, and reducing caffeine intake to 1 per day.
  7. Maintaining use of his mandibular advancement device (MAD) as jaw position can dramatically affect airway openness, and advancing the mandible forward will definitely help to open the airways. Often jaw position is the major, or primary cause of airway obstruction. This is often obvious when the patient is not obese and they do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol, yet they still experience snoring and sleep apnoea.

So this approach to treatment is necessary in most cases.

Outcome:

2 Weeks:

He embraced his program really well, with his breath practice being very consistent and, with the help pf his wife, his nutrition improved dramatically.

Although, he did experience a brief kick back for a couple of days when he reduced his coffee intake, he noticed an improvement in energy and clarity from the nutrition changes fairly quickly. And reducing alcohol intake midweek was not too difficult.

Plus he’s dropped 2kg in weight.

He enjoys the breathing rhythms as he feels calmer and more energised after he does them. He has noticed the rhythms are much easier than when he started, and feels like his breathing is slower and calmer day to day. He’s also noticed that he’s now super conscious of nose breathing all of the time, and picks up both when he, and others are mouth breathing a lot.

His baseline capnometry results at 2 weeks showed that his breathing had slowed to 10-14 bpm on average, and his ETCO2 had improved to 32-35, so some improvements.

He also found it easier to diaphragm breathe, so his capnometry results were much closer to 40 when we simulated the advanced breathing rhythms and fine-tuned his breathing further by continuing to practice breathing with less volume from deeper down (in his pelvic region).

He found it difficult not to sleep on his back initially, but with practice and perseverance, it has become easier, and he rarely finds himself sleeping on his back now.

The mouth taping was initially difficult and he woke during the night and discovered it had come off. However, he retaped and persevered each night.

On a couple of the early nights where the taping did not stick, he used the CPAP to get a decent sleep.

As he started to feel a bit better with his general breathing, and overall wellbeing, he found that he got more used to the mouth taping, and the tape is now staying on more consistently.

He also uses his mandibular advancement device (MAD) more consistently now, and uses it every night he tapes his mouth.

One night on a weekend, he drank too much with friends, and the mouth taping didn’t work too well. So, he surrendered and used his CPAP on this night.  He feels like he has a better relationship with his CPAP now – rather than fighting it, it’s there as a back-up on difficult nights where he’s more likely to sleep on his back and/or snore loudly. He estimates he used his CPAP on 30% of nights.

He also sleeps in the same bed as his wife more often now. Approx. half the nights. So he’s happy about that.

His wife has said that his snoring has not gone away, but it has reduced significantly. So she’s also becoming happier.

4 Weeks:

Continued improvements in his nutrition and another 1.5kg reduction in weight.

He continues to enjoy the breathing exercises and notices that he mouth breathes much less, and feels he now breathes primarily using his diaphragm far more often. As such, his breathing rate feels lower, and he feels his breathing and gentler and more calm.

He still has his moments of rapid breathing when he is stressed or he picks up that he is over-breathing at times when he is concentrating.

Sleeping on his side rather than his back has become more habitual, and easier.

Mouth taping has improved and the tape is staying on for the whole night more often.

He is comfortable with using his CPAP as a back-up and used it 20-25% of nights in this 2 week block.

Capnometry testing showed more improvements in baseline breathing rate (10-12bpm) abd ETCO2 35mmHg approx..

Overall he feels like his snoring and apnoea are far more under control, and he knows what he has to do to continue to control it. He really notices the difference if he drinks too much, is  stressed or he sleeps on his back.

His wife has reported that she is very pleasantly surprised – he doesn’t snore anywhere near as much, and doesn’t seem to have the pattern of apnoea episodes much at all.

He is wrapped. His initial symptoms of fatigue, waking unrefreshed, poor memory and concentration and regular headaches have improved dramatically.

He has not felt this well for decades, and he feels much more in control of his breathing and his sleep.  Plus he loves the reduction in weight, and is starting to exercise more, and feels like he is getting fit.

He loves that he is able to sleep with his partner most nights now, and is very happy that there is more intimacy in their relationship.

Plus he also understands the benefit of his CPAP now, and doesn’t feel like he’s in an ongoing battle with it now – as he did when it was his only option for dealing with his snoring and sleep apnoea.

8 Weeks:

Continued improvements as above in nutrition, breathing on a day to day basis, sleeping position, CPAP when necessary, use of his MAD device, and adherence to mouth taping at night.

He did, however, have a week where they went away on holidays with friends, and his routine went out the door. He consumed far more alcohol and his nutrition was poor.

As such, he noticed big differences in his day to day breathing (if felt more rapid and erratic, coming from the chest and shoulders and mouth more often than his diaphragm and nose).

The mouth taping at night often suffered here as he found himself tending to fall asleep on his back more often, and the tape did not always stay on all night.

He even put on a couple of kgs, so he wasn’t too happy with that.

His wife was also not happy as he snored far more, and his apnoea episodes increased, and there was no option for her to sleep in a spare room, so her sleep suffered also.

He did use his CPAP on a couple of nights, which helped him, but it impacts her sleep.

He felt like he had gone back to square one.

However, on returning to his routine back at home, he was able to bounce back much quicker than expected – within a week. As such, he learned that the changes he had made were rectifiable within a relatively short time by going back to his program and routine.

It also shocked him to see how much lifestyle factors can send his health and symptoms backwards.

The positive from this is that it reinforced the importance of consistent practice of the elements of his treatment program.

It doesn’t require rigid adherence. Just consistent practice. He will have ups and downs, and moments of humanness, however the consistent practice will help him to continue to control his symptoms and his wellbeing, as well being able to feel in control of his sleep quality.

If he continues to improve in his overall health, weight and day to day breathing, plus continuing to use is MAD while sleeping, it is possible over time that he may not need to continue taping his mouth at night. However, he will need to wait until he’s been doing his program for at least 6 months, so that his body can fully adapt and assimilate the changes he’s making.

Then it will be trial and error as to whether he continues taping. Many people continue the process as it guarantees that the mouth will stay closed while sleeping (as long as the tape stays on), and it is not an inconvenience.

Overall, despite the hiccup, this client feels better than he has since he was much younger and very confident that he can continue to be in control of his sleep quality as well as his health and wellbeing all around.

It takes commitment and consistency, however he is very mindful of how unhealthy and out of control he felt prior to beginning this program, so the motivation is strong.

In addition, this improved wellbeing has opened him up to increased exercise and more variety in exercise and lifestyle, so he is super motivated here also.

He is wrapped not only for his improved health & vitality, but also for the improvement in his relationship with his partner.

Moving ahead, I advised him to continue his program as it has been.

Just as it is necessary to maintain good nutrition and quality exercise on a day to day, long term basis, the same applies for breathing and sleep quality practices.

In order to feel the benefits on an ongoing basis, he needs to practice breathing rhythms regularly, continue taping his mouth at night, and using his MAD, as well as using his CPAP machine for back-up at times that his practices slip, or he drinks and eats poorly, or stressed and exhausted.

In addition, it would be ideal for him have regular check-ups with his sleep specialist doctor, his dentist, and his breath specialist.

 

Are You Really Suffering From Asthma, Or Is It Simply Breathing Difficulty?

 

Asthma is probably one of the world’s most over-diagnosed and over-medicated ailments.

In an article in the Asthma Update, Issue 25, September 2004, asthma researcher, Associate Professor Colin Robertson, Respiratory Physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, suggests that; “80 percent of children diagnosed with asthma may have symptoms induced by exercise; therefore the community at large perceives asthma in a certain way.  This can be positive in the sense that the problem can be easily recognised, however sometimes other respiratory conditions can mimic asthma.”

Professor Robertson suggests, “Doctors, relatives and enthusiastic physical education teachers can mistake a child who exercises and gets out of breath as having asthma when they are actually just unfit”.

“This gets interpreted as Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA) but it doesn’t respond to anti-asthma therapy.  What they need is breathing exercises to learn how to control it.  It is a simple effective intervention and it is important for people to know that it exists”

As such, many people who have a history of being diagnosed with asthma, and have been treated using medications to deal with this over a long period of time, may actually have just been experiencing difficulties in breathing, and have simply been using a band-aid treatment via their medications, rather than addressing the ‘root’ or ‘underlying’ cause to their situation, or symptom picture.

By not addressing this underlying cause they have limited their way of living and potential, and opened themselves up to a myriad of unwanted side-effects that come from pharmaceutical drugs.

If we take a step back to look for the underlying cause, 2 things stand out:

  1. The pathology experienced when one suffers from difficulty in breathing, or asthma, is simply that – difficulty or dysfunction in breathing. In other words, the pathology is with our breathing.
  2. Virtually all of us habitually breathe dysfunctionally – or nowhere near the way we should according to medical diagnostic norms.

We breathe far too often (twice as often as we should), and with far too much volume – in other words we over-breathe, or mildly hyperventilate all of the time.

Plus, we breathe using our chest & shoulders rather than our diaphragm, and often use our mouth in addition to, or instead of our nose.

The result is that we breathe as if we are in emergency mode all of the time (the mouth and chest & shoulders are secondary breathing mechanisms used to deal with the increased demands of emergencies, such as exercise etc.), which is far from functional or efficient, and leads to a significant imbalance in our respiratory system which decreases how we deliver inhaled oxygen to our cells for energy production.

The body sees this as a potential threat to survival, so it aims to restore balance however it can.

One of the main ways it does this is by constricting the smooth muscle that surrounds our breathing muscles, tubes, and airways resulting in symptoms such as tightness in the chest, feeling out of breath, wheezing, spasm in the airways, coughing, mucous production etc. – the exact symptoms we experience when we have an asthma attack, or we experience difficulty in breathing.

Therefore, these symptoms we experience when we have asthma or difficulties in breathing, can be argued to be an adaptation by the body to imbalance, or poor/inefficient function, rather than an ‘illness’.

So treating the symptoms as such by dealing with the ‘root cause’ and correcting imbalance in the body, rather than masking them with drugs, provides a long term solution that can open the person to a much freer, or less limited lifestyle (rather than living in fear of symptoms), as well as to reduce or potentially free them from a reliance on drugs.

In addition, it doesn’t necessarily matter what the diagnosis is; whether it is asthma or difficulty in breathing that the person is experiencing, the approach to addressing the underlying cause, and eliminating respiratory imbalance is the same.

We do this by retraining the body, over time to breathe more slowly and gently mostly through the nose, and using predominantly the diaphragm to drive breathing. It takes practice initially, but not that much time, and it doesn’t take long for the practice to start to restore balance in the body, and you experience less symptoms.

This approach is not limited to treatment of dysfunctional breathing. It is far more potent and effective in preventing the likelihood of symptoms appearing in the first place.

As such, we are not necessarily treating asthma, or suggesting you throw away your medications – we are correcting breathing dysfunction, and imbalance in the respiratory system, and therefore reducing or eliminating the reliance on drugs, and dramatically increasing the person’s physical and mental freedom.

Click on this link to enrol in, or gather more information on the ‘Breathing Dynamics Solutions to Asthma’ online breathing retraining course – https://timaltman.com.au/lp-courses/

Breathing Dynamics for Anxiety

Testimonial: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Recovery

“Hi Tim, just wanted to say thanks for all the guidance over the last 12 months.  My physical health is at it’s best since getting crook, and my mental health, and my ability to handle stress has improved greatly. This has been from all the little things that I have implemented through your guidance. Looking forward to taking that next step in my health this year.” Brandon, Colac

Above is a lovely new year’s message from a client who came to me just over 12 months ago with chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS.

His main, or most prominent symptoms were chronic fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, anxiety and shortness of breath.

His program included a combination of

  1. Behavioural and lifestyle modifications based on the neuroscience principles of Mickel Therapy aimed at detecting the triggers that lead to or increase symptoms and lessening the impact of these, or changing the behaviours or subconscious habits that lead to symptoms. This aspect is grossly underrated, but essential in the recovery from any chronic illness.
  2. Breath retraining using diaphragmatic breathing rhythms taught in a 4-5 stage process over time to increase energy production, regulate the autonomic nervous system and increase blood and lymph flow throughout the body.
  3. Nutritional changes and optimisation, culminating in a comprehensive 7-10 day juice fast followed by 3-4 week re-introduction to food process.
  4. The use of a small range of specifically targeted herbs and nutritional medicines that are all pure extracts (derived directly from plants rather than being synthetically manufactured) for increased bio-availability.

If you or someone you know has chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS, post-viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety or any other chronic complaint, contact me via tim@timaltman.com.au or 0425 739 918.

My work is equally effective online as it is in person – in fact the client who is the subject of this post was an online client.

 

 

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 – https://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 – https://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 – https://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  https://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  https://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  https://timaltman.com.au/   or   https://www.lionheartworkshops.com/breathing-dynamics-tim-altman

CoVid-19. We Are Far From The Innocent Victims of a Freak Accident.

We Were Overdue A Visit From a Pandemic!

“Whether currently-circulating avian, swine and other zoonotic (transferred from animal to human) influenza viruses will result in a future pandemic is unknown. However, the diversity of zoonotic influenza viruses that have caused human infections is alarming and necessitates strengthened surveillance in both animal and human populations”  World Health Organisation on influenza

The above quote, cited by Vybarr Cregan-Reid in his book, “Primate Change. How the World We Made is Remaking Us” (Octopus Publishing Group 2018) is an alarming warning or foretelling of the present circumstances we find ourselves on a global scale with CoVid-19, given the book was published in 2018, so this quote predates that time.

It sends us sobering message that we are not the innocent victims of some random virus. The virus is a bi-product of the world we have created.

Is nature biting us back?

Below is some further text from this book that really sends this message so strongly:

“Animals are now reared with such intensity that mathematically it is only a matter of time before one of the many mutated flu viruses becomes an epidemic that passes freely to, and between, humans.

Farming animals no doubt provided us with opportunities for survival and growth, but with the intensification of farming practices today which encourage food-borne illnesses and antimicrobial resistance, the scene is set for viruses to mutate, trading genes to become the next super-flu transmissible between humans. There are major flu outbreaks approximately every three decades. We are currently overdue a visit from one.

That is our inheritance. This is what we have done with agriculture; but it is not yet done with us.”

Vybarr Cregan-Reid; “Primate Change. How The World We Made is Remaking Us” Octopus Publishing Group 2018

This would suggest that, not only have we created our current situation, if we do not change our ways, even if we eliminate the current threat from CoVid-19, it is highly likely that similar circumstances will occur again. Perhaps it is time to shift our focus from trying to eliminate the threat of CoVid-19 so we can get back to ‘normal’, to addressing the root cause of this problem.

What has led us to this? Where have we gone wrong?

As a species, we’ve become the so-called ‘top of the animal kingdom’ as a result of having a highly sophisticated intelligence, or thinking brain, and our culture and education system over the last few hundred, or arguably thousand years, has encouraged us to think rationally all the time, and that emotions are unreliable and weak.

However, the down side of this skewed logic is that we are so ‘in our heads’, we have forgotten that we are an animal – we have completely detached from our instinctive, intuitive emotional brain that is as much a part of us, and how we process information as our thinking, or rational brain.

To ignore this intelligence leads us to disconnect from our bodies, our feelings, instincts, and the planet ecosystem that nurtures us.  It creates huge imbalance internally, both for our nervous system, and our body in general, leaving us in permanent low to mid-level ‘fight or flight’ mode (some more than low to mid-level), and creates discord in the external environment with which we interact.

Or basic needs as an animal are for happiness, safety and comfort. These are real biological, evolutionary needs, and cannot be ignored.

Our primary motivation as hunter gatherers may have been to create a more comfortable and secure existence, but the advent of the concept of economics (it might seem shocking to some that our economic system is not necessarily real – it is a concept), has seen us go way beyond having enough to be happy, safe and comfortable, and we have become increasingly disconnected from who we are as a species, and from the planet and ecosystem that sustains us.

Our religious adherence to this concept, or economic model has blinded us to what it is that sustains us, and allows us to thrive in the first place. A predominance in importance is placed on profitability, productivity and success over sustainability, yet these ‘concepts’ lead us invariably to sacrifice our basic needs for happiness, safety and comfort. And that is where the imbalance, both internally and environmentally begin.

 

I hear so many people complain that the lock downs we have faced, or are still facing, are destroying our economy, which are valid concerns for our present and future happiness, safety and comfort, but it is time we see that our ‘slavery’ to profitability, and ‘success’ has been the ‘root cause’ of the current problem, and what is also currently threatening our economic viability.

In other words, we are being given possibly the strongest reminder in history, that our economic model of existence is clearly not sustainable – both physically and economically. We will continue to pay for our short sightedness if we don’t start looking beyond our current concepts and way of living.

Is it possible that this time in history marks the moment that the mess we have created has tipped us, and the planet over the edge and either goes one way or another – we continue to face similar environmental and lifestyle challenges that ultimately bring down our economic system on its’ own, or we wake up and learn the lessons from our past, and we listen to the messages our planet is sending?

Whilst the agricultural, industrial and technological revolutions were an outstanding success from an economic perspective, and one might say an inevitable outcome of evolution (of intelligence as well physical evolution), it was an absolute disaster for our bodies, and the environments in which we live.

Research in the fields of genetics and anthropology has found that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 years for change in our environment to be fully assimilated by our bodies – at DNA level.

What that means, is that the bodies we now inhabit, still think we are wandering the land as hunter gatherers some 40,000 years ago, and the environment we lived in, and lifestyle we lived as hunter gatherers is that which makes us thrive.

Yet we now live completely differently from how we evolved to live – or how we evolved to thrive.

The changes impact us across all levels, from how we eat and drink, move and stabilise, sleep, breathe, the hours we work and type of work we perform, our exposure to radiation and new to nature chemicals, and how we process information and stress (the combination of how we think and emote).

The present circumstances have seen a huge increase in hostility, and confusion as to what is truth, and what is imaginary. There are so many conspiracy theories, and so many polarised opinions, and hostility throughout the community – perpetuated increasingly by mainstream and social media. It is growing extremely difficult nowadays to know who to trust anymore.

No matter what you believe; be it the information we are being given by mainstream media, or the myriad of conspiracy theories out there, the solution is unquestionably the same for us as individuals. That is, to raise your own frequency or increase your resilience by improving your health, simplifying your life, increasing connection to yourself, your family and friends, and to the immediate environment in which you live. That is all you can do. No point getting angry. Just nurture what nurtures you deep inside.

Whilst we cannot go back to living as hunter gatherers, as our planet would not sustain so many people living this way, plus there were also downsides to this lifestyle that threatened our basic safety on a day to day basis that we have overcome for the better, but we could do very well to understand how we lived then, and the environment in which our current bodies adapted to thrive in, and compare it to nowadays.

Nor am I suggesting we all become vegans as, whilst there are both arguments for this approach both physically and especially ethically, there are considerable questions as to the efficacy of this approach for long tem well-being.

Going to the opposite extreme will create its’ own problems given the world we’ve already set up.

It is an opportunity to shift the balance far more significantly from profitability to sustainability.

I do not have the whole solution, as I believe it is something we are going to need explore as a collective as it unfolds, however it is very clear to me that the current circumstances we are facing is are very strong warning from the planet that it is time we shifted our perspective and approach to living, or we will pay more and more dearly down the track.

Not just gradual change. It is a significant shift in our attitude that is required. Our priority must be to raise our frequency and connect more intimately with or bodies and ourselves, as well as the humans, animals and the environment around us.

Here are a few suggestions:

 

  • A massive focus on sustainability over profitability.
  • Reducing our working hours by at least 20% – research has suggested our hunter gatherer ancestors worked 15-25 hours per week hunting and gathering. The rest was spent with a combination of leisure, ritual, sleep, doing nothing (a lost art in our culture), social etc.
  • Following from the above point, creating more time in our days for family and social time, and also activities that allow us to experience joy. We are not built to smash ourselves with just working, eating and sleeping. It comes at a cost to our physical and mental health. We need more variety, and joy.
  • Spend more time outdoors – especially if you live in cities or towns.
  • Get more down time – time to self and those close to you.
  • Breathe gently in and out through your nose, using your diaphragm – most fail at this far more often than they realise, and it significantly impacts their well-being and performance.
  • Meditate – meditation is medicine; both physically and mentally.
  • Try to be present more often – check in regularly and be present with, and aware of what you’re doing at the time, nothing else.
  • Be open to feeling your feelings, and to communicating them – it’s ok to be vulnerable. It can be scary initially, but it’s ok.
  • Eat fresh food over packaged, and processed food – grow your own as much as you can.
  • Buy organic food (especially meat).
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables – lots more.
  • Fast occasionally to give your body a rest.
  • Sit less, walk more.
  • Reduce radiation exposure via wi-fi, phones, screens, artificial lighting etc.
  • Exercise daily, and enjoy your exercise. Don’t smash yourself all of the time (or at all) – vary it around.

www.timaltman.com.au – for in person, online consultation, group courses, or my online ‘Breathing Dynamics’ course.            www.mindfullife.com.au – for corporate training both in person or online.

 

My New Podcast is Finally Now Live on iTunes – Yay!!

Take A Breath Health and Lifestyle Show

I’m very excited and relieved to announce that my new podcast, co-hosted with good friend Matt Radford (physiotherapist, Chinese Medicine practitioner, and Wim Hof Breathing Method instructor), is now live on iTunes.

It is called ‘Take A Breath Health and Lifestyle Show’, and the website is www.takeabreath.com.au

We provides breathing technique and health and lifestyle tips for those wanting to get more out of life in this crazy, fast paced, highly stimulated world we live in.

It was conceived as we had both seen extraordinary results using breathing techniques as practitioners in clinic, in our daily lives and for performance (in sport, music, arts, work etc), yet most people take breathing for granted without realising that most (or all) of us breathe way below our potential, or what is considered functional – we breath too often (2-3 times the ideal rate), with too much volume, and use our mouth and shoulders instead of our nose and diaphragm, resulting in us breathing in emergency mode most of the time.

So Matt and I decided it was time to educate and raise awareness about the benefits of ideal breathing, and the consequences of breathing in emergency mode.

We will also run breathing courses both in person with groups and individuals, as well as online courses (coming soon).

Please hop onto iTunes and listen to our show (don’t forget to subscribe if you like it) and our website – www.takeabreath.com.au

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

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:

https://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.

https://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.

https://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.

Video: 5 Day Fast Results Explained (Side Effects & Benefits).

Here’s the video created by Cam Nicholl’s the day after he finished his 5 day fast.

We discuss his experience, the results (including the Bio-Impedance test comparison between now and before he started), why he has to wait before he can have his first coffee, and the importance of his re-introduction to food program…

Research Suggests the Average Working Week Creates Too Much Stress and Fatigue, and Reduces Productivity.

People Over 40 Should Only Work Three Days a Week, Study Concludes

The linked article below from the University of Melbourne echoes what I have noticed so often in clinic when working with clients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, post viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, IBS, depression and auto-immune illnesses.

When looking at what we’ve learned from neuroscience and neuropsychology about how our brains process information, especially stress, in combination with what we’ve leaned from genetic and anthropological research on how we’re built to live (our body’s still think we live as we did as hunter gatherers), we know that our essential biological needs as an animal are for food and water, shelter, safety and love – or happiness, safety and comfort.

It’s also been determined from investigations of existing hunter-gatherer cultures, and what we can tell from previous ones, that the overage hunter gatherer cultures worked between 15-20 hour per week. Yet, the modern day human works, on average, at least double this in the name of economics, which is a concept. In other words, it’s not real according to the body’s we have inherited.

This essentially means that the average worker sacrifices a sense of our basic biological needs, including work-life balance, happiness, variety, and fulfillment in the name of a concept. Similarly, in pursuit of material or fiscal success, another concept that is learned, and therefore not real, we so often sacrifice our basic need for fulfillment, variety and leisure – and therefore happiness.

This ultimately leads to us being permanently in over-dive or constant, unrelenting low-level stress, which in turn leads to symptoms of illness that we see in the above ailments, and in the general symptoms most people seem to accept as part of life in the modern world:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Gut or digestive symptoms
  • Difficult sleeping
  • Lack of joy
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Brain fog
  • And many more.

Yet, as per the quote below from the linked article suggests, and many more studies appearing are stating to suggest, fitting with what we have learned about how our hunter gatherer bodies are built to live, our productivity, presence at work, work-life balance, sense of fulfillment and happiness all improve when we work a little less.

“After factoring in people’s quality of life, economic well-being, family structures and employment, economic researchers found that individuals who worked an average of 25 hours per week tended to perform the best. In fact, overall cognitive performance would rise until people hit the 25-hour mark, at which point cognitive test scores began dropping because of fatigue and stress.”

Hopefully one day the economic system will focus more on quality of work, and worker satisfaction, than being focused mainly on dollars and quantity of time spent working (at the expense of workers).

Nevertheless, there is still plenty we can do to reduce stress and create more balance in our current working life by understanding what our bodies are built for. More focus on work-reward ratio, work-life balance, variety at work, and a greater focus on worker well being all make a significant improvement in client’s symptoms.

In clinic when working with a client, it’s just a matter of strategy, and then trial and error, using the client’s bodily results (in terms of symptoms and emotions) to determine the effectiveness of changes made. It takes practice, and perseverance, but it works a treat. And allows the body to heal itself, which saves a fortune on medications, and supplements.St

If you would like to find more work-life balance, experience less stress, fatigue, pain, gut symptoms, sleep more soundly, or just experience more joy and happiness, then contact me at tim@timaltman.com.au or phone 0425 739 918. Working in this way with clients has yielded far more potent results than any approach I’ve seen; and it’s made a huge difference to how I, and many of my clients live – for the better.

https://theheartysoul.com/three-day-workweek/?utm_source=WUW&utm_content=72439-M78A

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.

Video: My Approach to Health and Performance

A follow up to my introduction to myself as a naturopath, nutritionist, respiratory therapist, Breath coach, and Mickel therapist, where I explain in more detail my services, and also outline the underlying approach that pervades all of my services and how I treat illness (such as fatigue, pain, CFS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, anxiety, IBS and digestive complaints, excessive weight, asthma and breathing difficulties, sleep difficulties, snoring, apnoea etc). The same approach, influenced by evolutionary medicine also underlies my approach to optimal wellness and performance. Go to www.timaltman.com.au or www.13thbeachhealthservices.com.au