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Health Q and A
Page 9

Aerobic Reserve

Dear Mike:
Do your techniques or exercises generate just as much capacity as activities commonly described as  aerobic?

From Mike:
The key is how much energy is expended in accumulating the energy. What is the "cost" of accumulating that energy.
We are looking at Better Breathing Exercise #2, the 176 video exercise called Side to Side. To be optimal you must also expand the rib cage and cause an increase in the rise of the diaphragm. The Energy Program includes what you need. You can greatly augment it here


Breath Following Exercises

Beware of long term breath following exercises.
They can be wonderful for some and harmful for others. If your breathing is out of balance and you follow it, then what? I use a scientifically proven biofeedback device to measure blood carbon dioxide saturation in real time and learned that with some people even the slightest attention to the breathing can sometimes cause the inhale to develop a subtle and almost undetectable to the eye or inner sensing, erratic breathing sequencing during the exercise and that helps to support the pre-existing  breathing pattern disorder.  What is perceived as relaxation may be better or worse then it was before but along with a long term tendency to cause or exacerbate what I call UDB.  If you've tried them and felt they did not work for you, you may have UDB.

Jogging and Breathing

What is the proper technique for breathing while jogging? i tend to breathe heavily and i cannot take in too much air through my nose before I’m ready to exhale again when i jog i tend to breathe heavily

From Mike:
You need to free up your breathing BEFORE you jog. Read breathing lessons then get my Sports Performance Program and focus on the Strapping techniques and OBR's.

Heart Troubles and Anxiety

Message:  dear mike,
I am writing to request your kind assistance relating to a problem with my health which is  caused by anxiety (as surgeons Have told me). The problem is that I have difficulty in  breathing. Whenever I am in stress, or worry about something I cannot catch my breath. In these situations I need to take a deep breath  in order to relax. If I cannot catch the deep breath, I do not feel good and my head spins slightly. Doctors have told me that this problem is related to anxiety and have given me
medication . X-rays of my lungs have shown no problems.

 I would like to ask whether this breathing problem is directly related to anxiety or whether it can be due to problems with other
organs such as my heart or lungs.
I look forward to your response and how I can solve this problem.

From Mike:

I read your test scores. From my experience, breathing problems most often cause heart problems. Not the reverse.
Excessive caffeine consumption aside, anxiety is most often caused by some form of compromised breathing.
Dr. Sheldon Hendler, MD Ph.D states that "breathing is the FIRST place not the LAST place one should investigate when ANY evidence of disordered energy presents itself."

I recommend Deepest calm
Blessings,  mike

Prayer and Breathing

Hi Mike,

I have been working with your reflexive breath. I thought I would try and combine breathing with prayer, so I used a variation of the Jesus Prayer that I found in Orthodox Christianity. I said half the prayer on the inhale, and the other half on the exhale, trying to maintain the reflexive breathing pattern. I got very powerful results.
It is really amazing how this Optimal Breathing process integrates so many other processes.
Thanks, Rick
Thank you. Yes, OB is adjunctive to everything. Competes with nothing. Keep experimenting and making notes. what results did you experience? 

From Rick: 

I experienced a calm, blissful state. I will stay with it.


Breathing Problem. It Comes and Goes

Dear Mike -- For years I've had what I simply refer to now as my "breathing problem". It comes and goes, some weeks or months being worse than others. However, the problem is present more often than not, and it's extremely discouraging. I've had a couple of inconclusive pulmonary function (or similar) tests and they were inconclusive. I'm 45, quite active, and I've never been a smoker. When working out I don't usually experience the problem. The symptoms: I feel I must constantly try to yawn, in order to get in enough deep breath. UDB.  Sometimes I'll go for minutes attempting to yawn before I'm successful. My lungs end up feeling sore and strained, and my neck and ribs and upper back really hurt with all the effort. Sometimes my throat feels closed up. These symptoms are usually worse later in the day. UDB.
    My doctor feels the problem is related to soft-tissue neck injury I sustained after being rear-ended ten years ago, and says my neck and back tension are probably the main culprits. However, at times the problem is severe enough to make me wonder if there's a tumor inside, squeezing my respiratory system. Have you encountered this kind of problem before, and, if so, what do you suggest?
yes. you must rule out tumor but it may well be UDB  www.breathing.com/articles/udb.htm

Then work with

Panic Attacks on Almost a Daily Basis

Thank you for your recent e-mail. I have been having panic attacks on almost a daily basis for the last 6 months. Recently realized I have been having them on and off over the last many years. I am taking both Zoloft and Alprazalam which have helped immensely they treat the symptom not the cause. but I still continue to have difficulty with the feeling of satisfied breathing. I want to be rid of the Alprazalam as a minimum but cannot eliminate the breathing symptoms which I understand help to bring on the attacks. Even the Alprazalam is not eliminating or alleviating the breathing difficulties. It cannot because the issue is probably mechanical that upsets carbon dioxide and oxygen balance.

After reading several publications and through discussions with my Doctor I feel I have developed poor breathing habits. I have tried several of the breathing techniques described in these publications but am having difficulty retraining myself. The more I think about it the worse it gets. Going to sleep many times is the only way I can get relief some days. My Doctor believes that I am hyperventilating. Probably so I agree but I also think that it is easy for me to hyperventilate due to the way that I breath.

I also have Lupus and through the years have had several inflammations in and around my lungs which may have caused the bad breathing habits to develop. I quit flying 16 years ago due to continual flare ups of my Lupus accompanied by breathing difficulties which were probably really panic attacks. Makes sense to me My Lupus has been inactive for two years. I have just had a complete physical and am in good general health. A year ago I went through extensive lung function tests which resulted in no major lung problems but a comment that even though I thought I was inhaling and exhaling as hard as I could it appeared I wasn’t trying hard enough. Often the exact opposite of what you need to do. See this
I exercise on a regular basis, eat no sugar or flour products, use minimal alcohol and caffeine.

My goal is to kick my poor breathing habits, control my panic attacks, get off the Alprazalam and be able to fly in comfort. Can you help? Yes. Can you come here to North Carolina? If not get Deepest Calm

Man or Woman - Which Breathes Better?

i would appreciate something in the range of comparison between differences in athletic breathing for men and women. regardless of equality claims, it seems that reality discovers subtle differences in all other areas. perhaps there are none but at this point i am unsure.
thanks for the spinning article it should be very helpful to your readers. by the by, i prefer the CLEAR PASSAGE  strips which i feel are an improvement upon the original product. should you and others continue to push breathe right, they will be gone and i shall have to make my own.
personally, i find the gym bike to be a boring entree to fitness. my primary task in that area is on the speed and heavy bags which i preface with a little Tibetan caffeine. in between 3-round sets on the heavy bag i do abbreviated sets of lat pull downs, dumbbells, and leg machine routines.

From Mike:

I observe that women breathe deeper, easier and more balanced in general.  I suspect that historically less stress and having babies gets the breath back in balance or stronger, unless C Section intervenes.
But these days stress is hitting the female sex as well. Women's lib is getting hoisted on its own petard and it is also a good thing that women are getting more freedom to be who they want to be. But that comes with a price and the price is the stress of the hunter/warrior that the man used to get to shoulder.  We must ALL learn to re-establish and maintain our maximal breathing ability

Mental Function

In searching for info that aired last week on studies about mental testing and developing mental practice sessions to enhance, increase and hopefully slow down sluggish or loss of memory as one ages, the article on breathing came up. It was the first article I'd seen about breathing and its affect on memory. I forwarded it to a friend who had asked if I knew of ways to improve memory, including research sources. Also, I believe that many people whose bodies are disproportionately shaped breathe incorrectly which increases the degree of lopsiddedness or excessive bellies and eventually hunched backs produced from those imbalances. If we breathe correctly as we do all physical things in our day to day lives, as well as when we exercise extra, we will stand straighter, taller and slimmer and hopefully learn to repeat those efforts and outcomes regularly.

From Mike:   See http://www.breathing.com/focus-concentrate.htm and http://www.breathing.com/e3live.htm   O2E2, Oxygen Enhanced Exercise and Rest

Alexander Technique

Dear Mike,
I was just reading your web site and realized that you don't seem to understand what the Alexander Technique really is about. If you would study F.M. Alexander's life more closely you would find out that he was known in his time as the 'breathing man' and the funny thing is that he was not even teaching people to breath! He was and we Alexander Technique teachers are teaching our pupils to become aware their harmful unconcious habits that will interfere with their bodies functions, including the breathing, walking, biking scratching your head and so on. Ah yes. I have always thought of Alexander technique with this in mind. Great stuff.

With a good Alexander Technique teacher a pupil can learn to redirect the energy by letting herself widen and lengthen instead of contracting into herself and so pressing the lungs and intestines as well as preventing the legs and arms to move freely. Now there is much involved in this and few lessons are needed to get the full understanding. One Optimal Breathing lesson/session is quite adequate to get huge change.   Repeat HUGE. Many more factors needed then widening and lengthening to accelerate this breathing improvement as quickly as it can be done. Breath is life. When you are out of breath  nothing else matters. Why take longer? The body can be changed rapidly without pain. Take it as far as it can go each session/time. The breathing gets better and the entire body adjusts around it to balance physically and energetically.

So it is in learning any new skill.
Good understanding of the Alexander Technique in the guidance of an skillfull Alexander Technique teacher and putting the understanding into practice will among many things improve breathing, but please note, it is a side product not an end in it self.

That is sad for people that do not breathe well or want faster progress. They often need more then the "Alexander Technique" allows for, as wonderful as it can be. 

Like they say 'breathing is so easy a child can do it'. We only need to get out of the way and stop interfering. I respectfully disagree.  Many need radical and rapid improvement lest they get lost to the inadequacies of teachers that know little of accelerating breathing development and subject themselves and their students/clients to the risks of illness, drugs and steroids that await those with undetected breathing under-development

(Well, of course singers and actors and so on need to do something with their voices. That is part of their training but here I am talking about just ordinary day to day breathing when we speak, walk, run, do our daily cores.) Learn to breathe optimally and they happen automatically.  I approach breathing from the perspective that when you develop it properly it helps the rest of the body come into alignment. The inner full bodied feel of breathing becomes intuitive and automatic.  You come from the body alignment that helps breathing. Different emphasis.   I integrate many things that do not exist in Alexander Technique.

One can teach different breathing techniques but if a pupil still has harmful unconscious habits, for example pulling their head back and locking their neck the pupil WILL do the breathing excercises with the pulled back head and a locked neck.  Pulled back head goes with shortened back which restricts the ribs to open up and side ways, and so on and so on... I agree.

Here is only a taste of what the Alexander technique is about. It is a very hard to understand and people who want quick fixes will not stick with it! Optimal breathing is not about quick fixes or only breathing exercises.  It is about hands-on diaphragm development techniques, exercises, breathing exercises, ergonomics, nutrition, attitude, sound production, vibrational healing and respiratory spiritual-psychophysiology.

Our training is 3 years and it is intense with anatomy lessons and lots of practical work to first improve our own use and then focusing working on pupils. I welcome your integrating Optimal Breathing Techniques into your Alexander Technique work.  A few New Yorkers are adding Stough's work into  Alexander Technique. My work is similar in some ways to Carl's but I believe it is as or more beneficial for many.  The length of my training is evolving but so far 5 years seems to be a minimum.

Alexander Technique is only 100 years old and unfortunately some of  the training schools in the world are not really Alexander Technique.....sad but true. My teacher John Nicholls was trained (over 20 years ago) by Walter Carrington who F.M. Alexander himself asked to continue his training school after he would die. My other great teacher Carolyn Nicholls is soon starting with other highly regarded Alexander Technique teachers setting standards for AT training schools so each student gets the best possible training and that the public can get the right idea of what we are about.

I would like to ask you kindly NOT to put together Alexander, Feldenkrais and Yoga. Alexander Technique is nothing like Yoga or Feldenkrais and it would be sad to give that impression to the public. To me they have striking similarities in the way they adjust the body to open up to easier breathing.

Lots of voice work, breathing work, singing teachers and the like are doing work with the Alexander Technique teachers. Both ways it is rewarding. I agree that Alexander Technique is valuable. It is just not breathing specific. My work is. That is all I say about it.

If you tell me which State you live in I could tell you a good Alexander technique teacher that can clarify you what we Alexander people are teaching to our pupils. I have worked with teachers already. You have not worked with me and obviously know little of what I teach.  Optimal Breathing compliments ALL modalities because it relates specifically to breathing. I've not run across anything it will not augment.
Kind of short notice but we have a space in a class near you next month if you want to opt in. (she did not. mw)
With Great Respect I wish you a nice day and hopefully I hear from you, L.

Muscle Spasms

Message:  Dear Mike,
What a fascinating website. I am suffering (with ever more symptoms) from muscle fasciculations. I suspect that I regularly hyperventilate. Anyway my muscles and nerves are hypersensitive and start to feel more and more painfull. I have checked out your website but couldn't find any references to "fasciculations" and muscle spasms. Could this as well be a problem of "bad breathing"?. Please help me, I feel more and more desperate and anxious, out of control.

From Mike:
Bad breathing can cause or make some spasms worse, including seizures. Optimal Breathing Kit. Reliable and affordable diaphragm, lung and chest development. Without drugs or surgery.

Do I Have Asthma?

"Over the last couple of years i have been getting sinusitus on a regular basis as well as other chest infections, but recently it has got worse and now my breathing seems more shallow and i feel the need to hold my breath in order to make myself breathe again.  my friend says her asthma is like this, and i had to attend hospital (a&e) the other night because my breathing is starting to panic me since it is constant, whether i am exercising or not.  The doctors seemed to fob me off saying there is nothing wrong with me but i really am worried because i feel like i am not getting enough oxygen, any ideas?"

From Mike: Very likely asthma or what is often referred as such.   See www.breathing.com/articles/udb.htm   there are several components to most shortness of breath often called asthma.  The  MDs mostly miss one or two.  Get this program.

Band Director   

I am a band director and have been looking for a set of breathing exercises that will accomplish a couple of goals:
The first, of course, is to give my students a better sound which is accomplished through better breath support.
The second is to help them calm down and focus at the beginning of class, which should lead to more order and better discipline in class.
Somewhere in a magazine i saw a set of breathing exercises that varied the length of the inhale, hold, exhale and rest cycles to achieve more focus, relaxation, calmness, energy, and other goals. Unfortunately, the article was lost before I made a copy. Do you have a book on this type of breathing, or know of anything that might help me?
Thanks, Scott Blain

From Mike: Hmmm. I went back to my high school glee club and trained them in some great stuff for pre performance anxiety using the Straw Technique. Go to Optimal Breathing Kit. Reliable and affordable diaphragm, lung and chest development. Without drugs or surgery.  Please tell your colleagues about your successes as well.  mike

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