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Alternative and Complementary Therapies

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Breathe Therapy

 

We are always breathing, aren't we? Notice your own breathing. Isn't each breath actually very shallow? Does your posture or position encourage or restrict your ability to take full breaths? If you note carefully you will probably realize that you are utilizing one quarter or less, of your lung capacity.

By this breathe therapy there are numerous beneficial physiological mechanisms that are triggered when we turn our attention to the breath and then increase it's volume. When volume, rate and attention level are all altered, dramatic physiological, and emotional changes can occur.The action of the lungs, diaphragm and thorax are a primary pump for the lymph fluid, a lymph heart. This breathe therapy may be more important to the lymph heart than body movements.

In addition, the breath is the source for oxygen which is the key element in the body's ability to produce energy. Relaxed breathing moves the function of the autonomic nervous system towards balance or homeostasis.

Breathing practices are important through clinical experience. Patients who have learned and used breath practice as a part of their daily personal system of self-applied health enhancement respond more quickly to treatment, no matter what type of physician they are seeing.

Individuals who do breathing practices are also able to remain more well, adapt to greater stress and have greater endurance when they keep breath practice in their daily self-care ritual.

Inspiration is the rush that one feels when over taken by spiritual energy, it is the force that impels one forward into life, and it is the divine influence that brings forth creativity and vitality. Inspiration is, also, "to breath in ". The breath is a link to the most profound medicine that we carry within us. Within this nearly unconscious gesture, a breath, that we enact 1,261,440,000 (1 and 1/4 billion) times in our life span there is a simple yet profound healing capability.

Our first act when we emerge from the womb is to inspire. Our last act is to dis-inspire or expire. These breaths, first in and finally out, are like parentheses that encompass our corporal life. It is no surprise that the breath would be so remarkably linked to the power of healing.


Full Chest and Abdominal Breathing

In this method, take slow, deep, rhythmic breaths through the nose. When the diaphragm drops down, the abdomen is expanded allowing the air to rush into the vacuum created in the lungs. Then the chest cavity is expanded, allowing the lungs to fill completely. This is followed by a slow, even exhalation which empties the lungs completely.

This simple breath practice done slowly and fully, with intention, concentration and relaxation activates all of the primary benefits of therapeutic breath practice. In Qigong and Pranayama the breath is retained for additional benefit.


Applications
  • Health maintenance: 6 to 10 repetitions, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
  • Health enhancement: 6 to 10 repetitions, 4 to 6 sessions per day.
  • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions, in 10 to 15 sessions per day.
  • Getting started: 2 to 3 repetitions, once or twice per day. Remember to keep it easy and fun.

      Extending the Inhalation, Extending the Exhalation

      In this method the fullest extent of filling and emptying of the lungs is encouraged. Breathe in until you think the lungs are filled. Then take in 3 more short breaths, to full lung capacity. Following the emptying of the lungs on the exhalation, expel three additional breaths.

      At both extremes, inhalation and exhalation, the benefit may be multiplied by briefly holding the breath.

      Application
      • Health maintenance: 6 to 10 repetitions, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
      • Health enhancement: 6 to 10 repetitions, 4 to 6 sessions per day.
      • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions, 10 to 15 sessions per day
      • Getting started: 2 to 3 repetitions, once or twice per day. Remember to build up slowly, more is not better.
      Exhale Air to Compress the Organs

      This method takes the exhalation of the full chest and abdominal breath to a radical extreme that dramatically shifts the pressure in the pelvic, abdominal and chest cavities. The exhalation continues, until it feels as if the body and organs are compressing toward the center. Absolutely every bit of air is expelled, the abdomen presses inward and the anus is pulled upward. It should feel as if the whole body is purposefully collapsing or contracting around the organs and the central core of the body. Momentarily, a deep desire to inhale will be felt. In a relaxed manner allow the diaphragm to drop and the air to rush in to fill the lungs. allow the lungs to fill all the way.

      This method can be practiced in a concentrated way for 6 to 20 breaths or it can be done throughout the day as in the previous technique. It unleashes a powerful healing potential that is always with you but rarely utilized.

      Application
      • Health maintenance: 6 to 10 repetitions, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
      • Health enhancement: 6 to 10 repetitions, 4 to 6 sessions per day.
      • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions, once or twice per day. Remember to build up slowly, more is not better.
      Alternate Breathing of nostrils

      Holding one nostril closed inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. Then hold the opposite nostril closed, inhale and exhale deeply. This breath is often done in preparation for deep relaxation or meditation. You will notice that usually one or the other of the nostrils is more open. If you breath on a small hand mirror, the patch of mist from one nostril will be larger than from the other.

      The ancient practitioners of Yoga in India were aware of the significance of this and employed this knowledge to enhance health and consciousness. It has been found that the practice of alternate nostril breathing helps to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

      Applications
      • Health maintenance: 10 to 12 repetitions, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
      • Health enhancement: 10 to 12 repetitions, 4 to 6 sessions per day.
      • Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions, 8 to 10 sessions per day or up to even 100 repetitions in a single session.
      • Getting started: 10 to 12 repetitions, once or twice per day. Notice that this method is very quieting.

 


 
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