The art of Breathing


Breathing is definitely one of the more vital bodily functions - yet one that most of us take for granted and never pay any attention to. Most of us, however, breathe incorrectly. For simplicitys sake we can divide breathing patterns to two camps, chest and tummy.

The way one draws a breath is important for a few reasons.

1) Biomechanically chest breathing utilises wrong muscles, relying heavily on shoulder and neck muscles such as pectorals, scalenes, SCM, trapezius and even levator scapulae. This places undue strain on those muscles that are poorly suited for the task at best of times, and may lead to postural problems, and muscular aches and pains. By utilising tummy breathing, or diaphgramatic breathing, one reduces strain on the afore mentioned musculature and relies on the diaphgragm - the muscle that exists solely for the purpose of drawing a breath! This also has beneficial effects on the functioning of your core muscles, which play a vital part in maintaining your posture and protecting your back from injuries.

2) Chest breathing is confined to the top 1/3 of the lungs. This means that the remaining 2/3 (the bulky bottom part of lungs) is mostly left unused. Not only is this important for athletes trying to improve their performance, but also in an office setting the usage of greater lung volume will increase the amount of oxygen available - leading to greater ability to focus, prevents tiredness, and leads to greater productivity.

3) Changing your breating from chest to tummy can help greatly with stress. The predominant hormone that is secreted during chest breathing is cortisol - which is a stress hormone. Cortisol is a part of so called fight or flight response, in which your heart rate is elevated, respiratory rate is elevated and your muscles are primed for action (fight or flight). In the office setting this anticipated fight or flight never materialises, and therefore the tension is stored in the body leading to various aches and pains. Utilising tummy breathing is beneficial in terms of body chemistry in a way that the hormonal balance shifts from cortisol to endorphins - which as we all know are the happy, relaxing hormones. They are able to produce feelings of calmness and relaxation, they can drop the heart rate as well as the respiratory rate, and generally help with healing and pain reduction.

4) Various breathing techniques are utilised world over for a multitude of things, ranging from reduction of anxiety and stress, to boosting athletic performance, from helping with sleep problems to potentially easing digestive problems.


At Shepperton Chiropractic Clinic we look into the actual causes of your problems, and we will not side step something as commonplace as breathing. With simple, easy to apply exercises we can get your breathing to help your health and general well being.

For further information, please contact us at the clinic on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01932 - 429584




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I have been working with Dr Mika Janhunen of Shepperton Chirorpactic Clinic for four years. During this time he has not only been able to help me overcome various niggling injuries and to enjoy better health, but has been able to improve the performance of a number of my golf coaching clients as well. His detailed knowledge of the human body and the complexity of the golf swing movement pattern is virtually unrivalled in terms of results that I have ever seen. I will continue to refer my players to see Mika, and would encourage anyone to do the same.
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