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Respiratory Biofeedback Final

Respiratory Biofeedback Final

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Published by Gareth Thomas

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Published by: Gareth Thomas on Dec 28, 2012
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11/14/2013

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RespiratoryBiofeedback
 Akeycomponentofmanualbiofeedback
Part2ofa3PartSeries
Dr.PhilipMaffetone
Inthissecondpartofmythree‐partarticle,Idiscussaveryimportanttypeofmanualbiofeedbackcalled
respiratorybiofeedback 
,withstep‐by‐stepinstructionsonitsuse.Thisprocedurecombinestwopowerfultherapies:Thefirstincorporatesmanualbiofeedbackwiththekeybreathingmuscles,andthesecondisEEGbiofeedback,orneurofeedback,whichhelpsimprovebrainfunctionandisassociatedwithalphawaveproduction.Asacomponentofmanualbiofeedback,respiratorybiofeedbackcanalsoperformedwithoutequipment.Everyonecanbenefitfromrespiratorybiofeedback.Wecanuseitonourselvesasaquick,effectivedailyremedytoreducestress,relaxandimproveoverallhealth.And,wecanuseitasaprimarytechniquetotreatpatients.Mostimportantly,respiratorybiofeedbackisbestperformedbeforeothertherapiesareusedasitcanhelpimprovetheefficacyoftheseremediesandofteneliminatetheirnecessity.Respiratorybiofeedbackisassociatedwithanumberofsignificanthealthbenefits:1.
 
Itcanincreaseoxygentothebrain,potentiallyimprovingavarietyofneurologicalimbalances.Thisisaccomplishedthroughmoreefficientbreathingthatbringsmoreairintothelungs.2.
 
Itcanincreasethebrain’sproductionofalphawaves.Thesebrainwavescanhelpreduceharmfulstresshormones,especiallycortisol,balancetheautonomicnervoussystemandpromotemusclerelaxation–allveryimportantfeaturesforahealthierbrainandbody.3.
 
Respiratoryfeedbackcanhelprestoreandimprovenormalbreathing.Improperbreathingisoftenassociatedwithbrainandspinalcordinjuriesandissometimesahiddenproblemeveninrelativelyhealthypeople.4.
 
Itcanhelpimprovethefunctionofthediaphragmandabdominalmuscles.Inadditiontobreathing,thesemusclesplayasignificantroleinphysicalactivity,improvingpostureandsupportingthespineandpelvis.5.
 
Becauseofitseffectonthebrainandnervoussystem,respiratorybiofeedbackcanhelpimprovethefunctionofothermusclesinthebodyaswell,andhelpreducepain–tworeasonstoperformthisprocedurebeforeothermanualbiofeedback.
2009PhilipMaffetonewww.philmaffetone.com
 
2NormalBreathingBeforeperformingrespiratorybiofeedback,wemustfirstbesurethebasicbreathingmechanismisworkingproperly.Withoutnormalbreathing,manymusclesdon’tworkaswell,bodymovementisimpaired,oxygencanbereducedandmanytherapies,includingrespiratorybiofeedback,maynotbeeffective.Normalbreathingisassociatedwithpropermusclemovement–themostimportantbeingtheabdominalmusclesandthediaphragmmuscle.Thesemusclescoordinatemovementsthatallowustoefficientlybreatheinandout.Let’slookatthetwocomponentsofnormalbreathing–inhalationandexhalation:1.
 
Duringinhalationtheabdominalmusclesrelaxandextendoutward,whilethediaphragmmusclecontractsandmovesdownward.Thismovementallowsairtoenterthelungsmoreeasilyandisaccompaniedbyaslightwhole‐bodybackwardextension,especiallythespine.2.
 
Duringexhalationtheabdominalmusclescontractandtighten,andaregentlypulledinward;thediaphragmmusclerelaxeswithanupwardmovement.Thishelpspushairoutofthelungs,withaslightwhole‐bodyflexion.Wecanobserveanotherperson’sbreathingandoftentellifit’scorrect,especiallywatchingthebellymoveoutoninhalationandinonexhalation.Wecanalsoevaluateourownbreathingbyfeelingourmusclesmove:
 
Placethepalmofoneortwoofyourhandsontheabdomen.
 
Slowlybreatheinandfeeltheabdominalmusclesexpandoutward.Thebellyshouldgetbiggerduringinhalation.
 
Slowlyexhaleandfeeltheabdominalmusclestightenandbepulledinward.Thebellyismoreflatonexhalation.Duringnormalbreathing,mostmovementoccursintheabdominalareaswithonlyslightmovementofthechest.Thechestexpandsmoreduringmuchdeeperbreathingsuchasduringexercise.Wecanassessapatientbywatchingtheabdominalmovement,andalsobyplacingourhandsonhisorherabdomenduringbreathing–weshouldfeelthemusclesexpandoninhalation,andflattenandtightenonexhalation.Thosewhobreatheimproperlyoftenmovetheirmusclesoppositethatofnormal.Thishappensforvariousreasons.Brainandspinalcordinjuriescandisturbthebreathingmuscles.Inotherindividuals,poorbreathingcancomefromstress,thestigmaofnotshowingabigbelly,andevenover‐exercisingtheabdominalmuscles,makingthemtootighttorelax.
2009PhilipMaffetonewww.philmaffetone.com
 
3Ifbreathingisnotnormal,it’simportanttore‐trainthebreathingmechanismbeforeusingrespiratorybiofeedback.Theprocedureissimple–followthosestepsjustoutlinedfornormalinhalationandexhalation,andcontinueforabouttwominutes,threetimesaday.Itmayonlytakeafewdaystorestorethenaturalhabitofnormalbreathing.Then,performingrespiratorybiofeedbackcanhelpmaintainnormalmovement.Oneimportantnote:beawareofthebreathingmechanismduringtimesofstress,whichisoftenwhennormalbreathingcanswitchtoabnormalbreathingasweholdmoretensioninourabdominalandpelvicmuscles.BrainWavesAnimportantcomponentofrespiratorybiofeedbackistheproductionofhealthybrainwaves.AsdiscussedinPart1,neuromuscularfunctioncanbeevaluatedwithmanualmuscletesting,butevaluatingbrainwavesrequiresspecificequipment.WhileworkingwithDr.CoraleeThompson,asshedidneurofeedback,weobservedthatmanypeoplewhowereunabletoproducecertainhealthybrainwavesalsohadabnormalbreathingpatterns.Whenweeffectivelytaughtthesepatientstobreatheproperly,brainwaveactivityimproved.Withthisinmind,IbeganteachingrespiratorybiofeedbackwithoutmeasuringbrainwavesorusingEEGequipment.Brainwaveactivityprovidesuswithinformationonbrainfunction.Understandingsomebasicinformationaboutbrainwavesisanimportantcomponentofrespiratorybiofeedback.Thebrainproducesdifferentfrequenciesandamplitudesofelectricalwavesdependinguponlevelsofconsciousness.Sensation,attention(self‐awareness),intellectualactivityandtheplanningofphysicalmovementhavedistinctelectricalcorrelatesinthebrainthatcanbemeasured.Measuringbrainwavesduringvariousactivities,suchasreading,performingamathproblem,listeningtomusic,witheyesopenandclosed,providesfurtherinformationaboutbrainfunction.Onceanalyzedthroughbrainmappingsuchasthe
quantitativeEEG
(QEEG),areasofthebraincanbe“trained”tofunctionbetterthroughbiofeedback,oftenreferredtoasneurofeedback.Fourcommonlymeasuredbrainwaves,andatleasttwoothersthathavebeenobserved:
 
betawaves
(12–32Hz)areassociatedwithfullawarenessandhighcorticalactivity–abusybrain,suchasduringabusinessmeeting,planningatripormentallydoingseveralthingsatonetime.
 
alphawaves
(8–12Hz)areassociatedwithasenseof“relaxedalertness”andhighcreativity;Typicalduringmeditation,listeningtomusic,andwheneyesareclosed.Theabilitytogeneratealphawavesisassociatedwiththeself‐regulationofstressandmaycontributetoanexpandedstateofconsciousness.
2009PhilipMaffetonewww.philmaffetone.com

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