How We Breathe Matters
Humans think of breathing as automatic, out of our conscious control. After all, we do it every day without even thinking about it. However, breathing relies on an elaborate system of muscles and structures acting in coordination to accomplish multiple body tasks beyond simply exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. When that system is working properly the human body breathes efficiently and effectively, all day every day. It only takes a small change in that system to throw everything off. Considering we breathe more than 20,000 times each day, the consequences can be dire.
Consider your car. You start the engine each day and drive to work or play without considering the complex interaction of electrical and mechanical systems inside that allow you to reliably turn over the ignition. When one of those many parts fails, the system becomes less efficient and sometimes stops working entirely. Our breathing is quite similar in its complexity and sensitivity to subtle changes. Instead of our car not starting, we suffer from chronic conditions, pain, anxiety, disease, and generally underperform in whatever we're doing.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why breathing might become dysfunctional — medical, surgical, psychological, physical, and emotional.
The result is people with chronic pain, early fatigue, anxiety, decreased activity tolerance, reduced performance, poor endurance, incontinence, bowel dysfunction, and an overall decrease in quality of life. Things fall apart without us realizing that how we breathe may be contributing.
When you can't control your breathing, what can you actually control?