I am SO EXCITED! I am currently taking a seminar with Birthfit (If you do not know them, you should). It’s the Birthfit Professional seminar and I’ve already walked away so empowered and feeling inspired. I cannot wait to take my knowledge back into the clinic!!
What I’m most excited about is not only the fact I’ve FINALLY found a group of badass professionals to bounce ideas off of and talk about empowering women…. but it’s that I have finally found another school of thought similar to my own in which your diaphragm and your breathe are one of the most important things when it comes to pregnancy, postpartum, or even just in general.
I want to get something clear. I have seen and consistently see, as well as have been one, patients whom have not had children and whom are not currently pregnant with significant difficulty when it comes to breathing and learning to contract your diaphragm. This is often, if not always, the first place I start when it comes to physical therapy.
Let’s talk a little about the anatomy of the diaphragm. Your diaphragm sits “inside” your rib cage and above your stomach/organs. It is a muscle. It attaches to the lumbar (low back) vertebrae, cartilage from the lower few ribs, and the xiphoid process (tip of the sternum). If you think about this and look at the picture, you can hopefully understand that when you take a deep breathe it is not adequate to use your chest muscles and expect a good breathing cycle, just as it is not appropriate for only expanding your belly.
When you do take a deep breathe in, you want to think about breathing into all sides of your body. Like 360* into your sides, your belly, your back, and even into your pelvic floor. I want you to really feel this and really visualize what it feels like when you take a breathe in.
Do you know how to feel if you are breathing correctly? Do you know if you are “cheating?” If not, it is most likely in your best interest to get a consultation!!! Remember, I do video consultations as well and we can discuss this!
Your diaphragm, in my opinion, can be the strongest and MOST POWERFUL muscle in your entire body. If you are able to utilize it appropriately and take a good, strong, deep breathe in, then you will be able to progress and see improvements in many different areas of your life. Stress, anxiety, pain, strength, endurance, increasing your chances of reaching your PR.
I am going to be posting SEVERAL blogs about the diaphragm and the breathing cycles because it truly is SO important and i’m hoping to be able to help at least one person with the education.
Before we get started with more education, I want to tell you my story about my diaphragm. About my muscle that was limiting me from accomplishing so much and I never even knew…
Ever since I was little, I was not able to run up the stairs or run distance without having chest pains or without having the inability to take a breathe. I felt out of shape, unable to breathe, and just never knew what was happening. I always had pain after my pieces (I was a ballet dancer) in the front of my chest, I always had a hard time breathing, and was never able to make it completely through the show without feeling out of breathe.
I remember when I was in physical therapy school we used to run a lot and I’d have to rest for about 2 hours after each run. I never knew why, I truly just thought I was weak and deconditioned….and I was becoming a physical therapist!
One of my classes was about learning how to assess the diaphragm and how to treat dysfunctions of the diaphragm if you found them. I had a lot of difficulty with my partner and was called to be a demonstrator so the instructor could perform an assessment and treatment is I needed it.
There were SO many things going wrong with my diaphragm. One of which I was unable to actually contract or control my breathe. I could not stand the pain when she poking around my rib cage! It was awful. I was crying and I was uncomfortable. She performed what is called a release and told me to slowly move.
I ended up going downstairs to get water because i was very embarrassed. I went down and “cleaned up” and tried to decide how upset I was about the pain and the embarrassment I was just put through. I realized I was about to be late and started to race up the stairs to class. I got to my seat and sat down before realizing…
For the first time in my life I ran up the stairs without a problem and I was still breathing normally. OMG. Is this real life?!
The next demonstration was performed on me as well…and I can tell you that I truly do not have a problem with my breathe during activity. I do still have to purposefully and intentionally focus on diaphragm breathing and making sure I’m performing it correctly.
Hopefully my story is showing you that I am coming to you with breathe knowledge from both sides of it: the expert and the patient. PLEASE if you get nothing else from reading this…..please understand that:
It starts with your breathe…