As humans, we take thousands of breaths per day. Most of us don’t know how to breathe.
You might want to ask yourself : Are the quality of those breaths any good? If you’re in doubt, this article is for you.
With a little practice, proper breathing will become second nature, and it will improve your mental and physical health.
The thoracic diaphragm is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that extends across the bottom of the thoracic cavity. The diaphragm separates the thoracic cavity, containing the heart and lungs, from the abdominal cavity and performs an important function in respiration: as the diaphragm contracts, the volume of the thoracic cavity increases and air is drawn into the lungs.
The diaphragm is a C-shaped structure of muscle and fibrous tissue that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdomen. The dome curves upwards. The superior surface of the dome forms the floor of the thoracic cavity, and the inferior surface the roof of the abdominal cavity.
As a dome, the diaphragm has peripheral attachments to structures that make up the abdominal and chest walls. The muscle fibres of the diaphragm emerge from many surrounding structures. At the front, fibres insert into the xiphoid process and along the costal margin. Laterally, muscle fibers insert into ribs 6–12. In the back, muscle fibres insert into the vertebra at T12, descend and insert into the lumbar vertebrae at L1 & L2
Try this basic exercise anytime you need to relax or relieve stress.
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out.
- Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling.
- Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times.
- Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
The osteopath will be able to act on the functioning of the diaphragm, in particular by releasing the various insertions of this muscle and by restoring a dynamic of the rib cage including the sternum.
He will use specific techniques to balance the thoracic box (cavity) and the abdominal box in order to facilitate exchanges and promote breathing amplitude.
He will also check the vertebrae in relation to the diaphragm, always for better functioning, better mobility of the diaphragm.