My Personal Experience Using Breathing Dynamics to Achieve a Top Ten Finish at The Molokai World Sursfski ChampionshipsIn 2010 I studied the science of breathing, qualified as a respiratory therapist and started working clinically with asthma & breathing difficulties, snoring & sleep apnoea, fatigue, anxiety, sinusitis etc., plus working with athletes I coach on performance breathing. I was seeing great results both clinically and with athletes. In 2012 I decided to take on the Molokai Surfski Challenge – my first venture at this event. At 53km from Molokai Island to Oahu Island across the Kaiwi Channel (The Channel of Bones), the Molokai Surfski Challenge is the ocean paddling equivalent to the Kona Hawaii Ironman triathlon – the unofficial world endurance championship. Like Kona, Molokai is the bucket list event of all ocean paddlers, and probably the toughest race in the world, often with big seas and winds, and a lot of heat and humidity to contend with also. I had 16 weeks to prepare, so it presented a fantastic opportunity to train my body to breathe optimally (using the diaphragm to drive breathing and mostly the nose on inhalation & exhalation) at higher levels of exertion. And at 45 years of age, I figured it was worth exploring a natural competitive edge as I didn’t have the strength or speed that I had when I was younger, or the time to train as much as I used to. So this presented a fantastic opportunity to see explore how much more I could gain in performance by learning how to breathe optimally whilst competing in the sport I was once at elite level in. In my youth I had been an Australian representative at the World Sprint Kayak Championships and a national medallist in surf lifesaving competition in Australia. Unfortunately my career at international level was cut short in my early 20s by illness – what we now know as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or post viral syndrome. So I was a very capable paddler in sprint or middle distance with my best races being in the 1-3 minute range. I was more a sprinter or high lactic tolerance paddler, rather than a paddler with a high VO2 max. I wasn’t a great at time trials over a distance or a great marathon paddler (unless I could sit on a wash and sprint off at the end). As such, I knew that doing an endurance race, particularly against the best marathon ocean paddlers in the world, would not be my forte. But I grew up surfing and paddling in the ocean, and the Molokai race happens at a time of the year when the Hawaiian trade winds blow consistently in a particular direction, it is typically a downwind event where you surf the wind runs and ground swells, gathering great speeds. As I love surfing and downwind paddling, I couldn’t wait to do a race on one of the best downwind courses in the world. And exploring how much extra I could gain in performance from the breath training excited me also. The objective with breath training for sporting performance is to:
- Breathe predominantly using the nose, only using the mouth in emergencies, or if the exertion level becomes extreme – indications from what I’d experienced, as well as with other athletes who have explored performance breathing during exercise suggest that it is possible to nose breathe up to about 90% of max heart rate, suggesting that this is ideal especially for endurance sports. For people doing sports that involve intervals of sprinting interspersed with rest periods at random; i.e. football, hockey, basketball, etc etc; will find it harder to nose breath all the time, however there are still significant benefits to be gained by breathing only using the nose when recovering between sprints.
- Use the diaphragm to initiate inhalation – the chest is also used during exercise, but most huff and puff with their chest only. The diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle, and it is far more efficient to breathe using the diaphragm only at rest, and initially during low-level exercise, and then using the chest in addition to the diaphragm as exertion levels increase.
“Essentially, less is better with breathing for performance. That is, a slower breathing rate and lower breathing volume – be it at rest of during the exertion of sports performance. This is counterintuitive, as we want to huff and puff more the harder it gets, thinking that we’re sucking more oxygen in. But huffing and puffing reduces breathing efficiency, as it reduces the amount of oxygen that actually reaches your cells for energy production – which is the purpose of breathing in the first place. Whereas reducing the breathing rate and volume, will increase oxygen delivery to cells for energy production, and therefore efficiency in performance. It is very difficult initially without training to breathe less whilst exercising (or even at rest), but the benefits are worth the effort.”The benefits of nose & diaphragm breathing, or performance breathing during exercise include:
- Using greater lung surface area for gas exchange
- More efficient oxygen delivery to cells for energy production
- Learning how to breathe at lower breathing & 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 at competitions
- Improving postural stability.
- Day to day diaphragm & nose breathing rhythms aimed at slowing down the breathing rate and reducing the volume of the breath – this represents what I would call ‘base training’ which restores normal or optimal breathing function on a day to day basis, and prepares the body for performance breath training. 30 minutes per day.
- Off the water diaphragm strengthening exercises (as most people’s diaphragm muscle is weak and atonic due to lack of use), combined with breath holds (to increase the brain’s tolerance to increased CO2 levels experienced during exertion). 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times per week.
- Practice of nose & diaphragm breathing whilst doing my paddle training or cross training – it takes time for the body to adjust to the reduced volume and rate of breathing experience when predominantly nose/diaphragm breathing, so I was fortunate to be able to build my capacity to breathe optimally as my program built in intensity from aerobic base training, to higher intensity race pace training, and finally lactic tolerance and speed training. If you try to nose/diaphragm breathe at really high intensity initially, before your body has time to adapt, it can really hurt, and lead to one feeling badly out of breath, light headed or having a headache. You simply have t build your tolerance to increased CO2 over time.
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.
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.
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 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:
- Obesity – fat gathering in and around the throat.
- Dental Reasons – malpositioned jaw, caused by tension in the muscles.
- Alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles.
- Throat weakness – causing it to close during sleep.
- Nasal passage and sinus obstruction.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reducing alcohol consumption to 2 nights per week only.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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/
A Personal Evolution from Chronic Illness to Optimal Living
Having suffered from post viral syndrome, adrenal fatigue, or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), ME – or whatever name one ascribes to this chronic condition) I understand how debilitating it is and how helpless and misunderstood sufferers feel.
It is extremely frustrating, and there’s rarely anything doctors, or most other practitioners can do to help.
And those suffering from chronic ailments or ‘syndromes’ such as fibromyalgia, anxiety, IBS, POTS and many more share the same or similar experiences, or feelings.
As such, I have the last 30 years of mt life exploring solutions, and the last 20 years as a natural medicine practitioner working with clients on making solutions.
Given I experienced a complete recovery 25 years ago, and my general health and resilience has improved so significantly over the last 10 years as a result of this exploration, I know intimately that there are solutions that create complete recoveries, so I have searched extensively for techniques that yield more than just partial or temporary results.
I’ve experienced complete recovery myself which allowed me to believe that it is possible, and have witnessed it with clients many times, so it has set a benchmark to aim for.
It often, or almost always, requires more than one technique. As such, it involves a combination of techniques.
And it involves a bit of a paradigm shift in one’s perspective of health and disease.
Rather than a predominantly medicinal approach, be they pharmaceutical or natural, I have found that the most profound or complete resolutions have come from behavioural of lifestyle changes.
It’s a far less appealing model for the general public, as it requires more work and responsibility for the individual. Plus, we have been so indoctrinated by the medical and pharmaceutical model that many believe that in order to change processes of illness in the body, we must take something.
However, if one takes a step back, we can see how short sighted this approach is – especially with chronic illness.
Agreed, it is absolutely necessary if one catches an infectious disease, and modern medicine & the pharmaceutical approach evolved at a time when 90% or deaths came as a result of infectious diseases and trauma. As such, this model, aided heavily by modern engineering and sanitisation, was highly successful.
However, the world has changed dramatically, and 90% of deaths now result from chronic, lifestyle preventable illnesses.
Therefore, a different approach is required. Hence , the need for a paradigm shift to yield more complete results. Or, dare I say it, complete resolutions.
This shift comes from looking at the fields of evolutionary medicine, genetics/epigenetics, and anthropology.
Research has found that it takes 40,000 to 100,000 for a change in our environment to be assimilated by our bodies, at DNA level. As such, the bodies we now inhabit, are those of our ‘hunter gatherer’ ancestors some 40,000 years ago.
Our bodies adapted to live, and flourish the way we did then.
But that’s a long way from how we live now. Pretty much most of what we do is different.
We sit more, eat differently, exercise less, stress more constantly, breathe far less efficiently, think too much, work too much etc. etc.
Life is much higher paced, and far more complicated. We’ve created a huge mismatch between the bodies we inherited from our hunter gatheerer ancestors, and the world we have now created.
Our highly evolved thinking or rational brains have allowed us to become ‘so-called’ top of the animal kingdom, yet we have forgotten how to live as we evolved to, or we are built to.
To quote one of my favourite evolutionary medicine specialists, Daniel Lieberman, in hos book ‘The Story of the Human Body. Evolution, Health and Disease’.
“We didn’t evolve to be healthy, but instead we were selected to have as many offspring as possible under diverse, challenging conditions. As a consequence, we never evolved to make rational choices about what to eat or how to exercise in conditions of abundance or comfort. What’s more, 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.”
The way to create complete and long term resolutions to chronic ailments is to address this mismatch.
It was when I began to explore techniques based on this approach, that I started to witness far more potent results in clients.
Here are a list of some of the techniques I use both with clients, and personally in my exploration of optimal living. More information on each can be found in many articles I have written on this site. I shall provide a link to one of these for many:
- Mickel Therapy – the core approach or rudder that guides the rest. Eliminating (via action) the ‘sub-conscious behavioural and lifestyle habits that suppress energy and send us into constant ‘hypervigilance’, ‘fight or flight mode’ or internal overdrive. https://timaltman.com.au/video-tim-altman-mickel-therapist/ https://timaltman.com.au/mickel-therapy-case-study-fibomyalgia/
- Breathing Dynamics – diaphragmatic breathing rhythms to retrain ideal breathing. https://timaltman.com.au/breathing-life-death/
- Optimal nutrition – including regulating blood sugar levels, increasing vegetable and fruit intake. https://timaltman.com.au/the-ideal-nutrition-plan-for-the-modern-world/
- Meditation. https://timaltman.com.au/meditation-is-medicine-2/
- Therapeutic fasting. https://timaltman.com.au/fasting-solution-optimal-health/ https://timaltman.com.au/fasting-history-purposes/ https://timaltman.com.au/fast-benefits-fasting/
- Optimising our response to stress: https://timaltman.com.au/deal-stress-number-one-contributor-mortality/
- Creating work-life balance – meeting your own deep seated needs as well as those of others or work.
- Optimal sleep practices.
- Herbal medicine.
- Sauna therapy. https://timaltman.com.au/benefits-sauna-therapy/
- Creating more joy or play.
It won’t require all of these modalities or techniques to get better. For many, it only requires a few. Whilst it does require some work and responsibility from you, it is not as difficult or time consuming as you would think.
Once you start seeing results, it spurs you to start exploring more, and seeing further results.
I can assure you, the process of going from helplessness and despair to freedom and joy is certainly worth it.
What have you got to lose.
And the good news is that most of these modalities work as effectively when taught online via Zoom etc. as the do in person, so you don’t have to live locally to see the benefits.
If you’d like to explore further, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0425 739 918.
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
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:
Inhalation is felt very low.
Exhalation is passive.
Breathing is minimal – no more than you need.
It can run on automatic.
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.
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, https://timaltman.com.au/, or contact me at email@example.com or +61425 739 918.
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.
The ‘Breathing Dynamics’ online course for correct breathing to improve your health & wellbeing, vitality and performance is now available on this website, https://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.
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.
‘Learning about Mickel Therapy and Respiratory Therapy has been so insightful and valuable to my health. After years of adrenal fatigue I finally have more energy back, thanks Tim!’ Olivia, Geelong
Above is a testimonial from a client who came to me with adrenal fatigue.
In her treatment we combined Breathing Dynamics diaphragmatic breathing exercises and focusing on taking her body out of ‘internal overdrive’ using the neuroscience understanding from Mickel Therapy.
After only 3 session is 6 weeks she had experienced a recovery from her fatigue and was feeling great again for the first time in years.
It’s not always this swift in recovery, but it;s wonderful to see when it occurs. Credit also to Olivia who complied with all of her ‘home work’ and applied the principles of keeping it simple, practicing and persisting.
My job is to teach the techniques and guide clients to recovery. Their job is to apply the principles in consistent practice. Olivia did that extremely well, so she thoroughly deserved her new found energy levels.
“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
- 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.
- 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.
- Nutritional changes and optimisation, culminating in a comprehensive 7-10 day juice fast followed by 3-4 week re-introduction to food process.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
“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”
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
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
Video: Experience the Awesome Potential of Correct Breathing to Improve Your Wellbeing, Health and Performance
Watch this short video to see how correcting your breath will transform your quality of life and performance in ways that may surprise you. You will find the online course on the homepage of this website…
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
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.
3. Get more variety and reward in your day.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com 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.
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.