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Diaphragm Development = Better Breathing
The diaphragm should be a major or even primary focus in breathing work.
Watch the logo animation at the upper left and let it guide your breathing. See how the ribs expand as the diaphragm goes down pulling in air from the windpipe into the lungs. It is timed to be reasonably good breathing. Not optimal, just reasonably good. The pattern will vary somewhat with each breath. Look at yourself in the mirror and see if your breathing looks anything like that. Or breathe with it for a few minutes and see how you feel.
The Framingham study pointed out that if we do not do something to maintain or develop it we will lose between 9-25 % of our breathing every decade. Due to various factors, the diaphragm shrinks to less and less rise up in to the chest. It shrinks irregularly as well. This happens with almost every lung issue.
DIAPHRAGM IN LIVE VIDEO ACTION
Note: I have had video fluoroscopes of MY diaphragm. It was
fascinating. The MD in charge of the radiology department of a large
regional hospital did not have a protocol for viewing a moving diaphragm but he was kind enough
to let me guide him through what I needed. I show the videos to
clients and colleagues. Incredible insights came from this
LUNG FUNCTION -Taken from the manual.
The lungs lose their capacity to increase vital capacity primarily in five ways.
My order of priority.
1. The ribcage either shrinks, becomes stiff and inflexible, or freezes in hyper-open position. (The ribs must squeeze the lungs; so must the diaphragm). People with large stiff chests may well be heart attack or lung disease prone. A sustained bear hug from big uncle Ben , or a belt or girdle, will make it harder to breathe. Pythons slowly squeeze their prey and it suffocates to death or dies of fright. Underbreathing is also a lot like boiling a frog. I am told that if you place a live frog in a pot of cold water that you can raise the temperature so slowly that it will not notice the rising temperature. It will allow itself to be boiled to death. By the way I put the mechanical aspect first because if you have fresh air and can't breath mechanically correct you can't access the air in the first place. Plus, these days, clean air needs are sort of academic. Be mindful of how clean or dirty YOUR breathing air is such as in a sick building..
2. The diaphragm muscle deteriorates (shrinks and shrivels like a prune) and cant expand to push the bad air out so new air can come in. See the enclosed picture
and observe how one has a larger diaphragm than the other.
The smaller diaphragm wont travel up into the chest as far the other and "squeeze the sponge" of lung tissue so that new air can be exchanged for old air. The more you pull the bicycle pump handle out the more air you draw in and can then push back out. A diaphragm is a little like a piston. I like to use a car engine metaphor. The larger the breath/lungs/diaphragm the more "cylinders" or pistons it has and the slower, smoother and stronger it runs.
3. The lungs collect debris inside which displaces the life giving air and clogs up general lung functioning. The air we breathe and food we eat can clog up the respiratory/elimination system (see articles page on bronchitis; emphysema; asthma). Bad breath is often a sign of an unhealthy colon. The colon malfunctions, hindering the lungs' ability to eliminate toxins.
4. Posture and coordination of the pelvis, abdominal, side, chest and back, neck and pelvic muscles that support the breathing-wave becomes compromised and we breathe in a somewhat restricted, robotic or internally uncoordinated manner. If youre right handed, try to throw a ball left handed, and you have an extreme example of improper coordination. Uncoordinated breathing is often so subtle you think it is normal. Normal may not be even close healthy. Many so called "normal" people worry me.
5. The soft organs can swell and inhibit diaphragm and lung expansion. These organs are massaged by the movement of the diaphragm and ribs and the lack of diaphragmatic excursion (upward mobility) reduces the squeezing/massaging and cleansing of the heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, etc, and blood and vital fluids. So lack of diaphragmatic "rise:" compromises the reciprocity and synergy of massage and stimulation of the vital abdominal organs..
Like a bicycle pump, you cannot draw in air to the tube of the pump unless you can first push the plunger further in to the pump than when you started. This is the exhale. If you cant push it forward (excursion) you cant draw the pump handle back, and you cant draw air in to it. You have, so to speak, shortened the piston stroke. Figures 3.4 &6.2 show a reduced height of another diseased persons diaphragm. Because of its reduced height, it drew less air because its pumping stroke was less.
The diaphragm loses excursion height and does not draw as much air into the lungs. (If you dont pull the bicycle pump plunger out, you cannot force the air in. Spirometry, forced inhales and exhales will improve O2 saturation and may strengthen the diaphragm but the ribs will tighten up and lose their ability to expand (see animation below. The diaphragm needs to become larger. A larger car engine runs slower and smoother. Observe the fastest cats (Cheetahs) and dogs (Greyhounds) to get a good example of breathing and its relationship to chest size.
Strength is not all that is needed. Size is critical. An emphysema victim can have a very strong voice and yet not be able to breathe very well at all. The diaphragm needs to developed to be larger, stronger, wider, to rise higher in the chest, and become more flexible and isolated in its action form the adjoining muscles.
Poor posture compresses the whole system and inhibits full and free inhalation. Debris builds up in the lungs that can not be squeezed out causing or contributing to emphysema and COPD. The tensions help throw off the nervous system inviting asthma and anxiety. Each factor erodes the optimal breath. Breathing consciousness is also important.
If you have not already done so, take the Breathing Tests. Get the manual or the entire set of both manual and exercises and improve your breathing. Don't wait until you have no energy and need someone to help you. Especially since that someone may not be available when you need them. To be really alive at one hundred and five, you need to learn to breathe better now.
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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.