Breathing – How to Breathe Properly & Why It Is Important

Proper Breathing helps to improve oxygenation, lessen neck and back pain, and improve parasympathetic nervous system activity, which helps to relax tight muscles. Give it a try!

Hi, this is Dana Ranahan at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy and I’m here today to talk about breathing. Now people wonder why we get you working on breathing as part of your recovery or rehab and I’m going to go through a few reasons that breathing can help.

So we have a model here, I’m going to show you some of the different types of breathing and how it impacts you and how it can change your mechanisms on your ability to oxygenate your own body and can sort of maintain your nervous system. So we focus in on breathing technique, we’re going to take a look here at the chest and ribcage and if we get to do a nice deep breath, take a deep breath, and we see that she likes to raise her chest. This takes a lot of energy of the muscles and you can see it’s almost a bit of an in-drawing in through her lower ribcage and a lift through the upper chest.

So when she’s breathing, she’s using more of her accessory muscles for breathing rather than using the diaphragm to help drive breathing. So this would be a lot more energy use and she’ll take shallower breathes. So we definitely want to try to get activation through the diaphragm, which runs here, kind of more like an umbrella and when the diaphragm works, it should create some expansion and a little bit of pressure down into the abdomen.

So if we cue her to try to work on breathing laterally, and as she breathes out open mouth like a slow sign, trying to let her chest bone soften that gets the diaphragm expanding better and relaxing on the out breath. Now that relaxation on the out breath is important to try to help soften the nervous system so you get a bit of relaxation effect as well. So lateral breath, breathing in gives better oxygen deeper, gets the diaphragm working as you breathe out and softening.

One of the other things that we see people in the clinic do, is tend to push air too much down into their tummy when they breathe. So they effectively get like a doming up towards the ceiling. So although we want you to try to get some expansion and you get a little pressure into the belly, we don’t want to see you just dome up with no lateral movement here because that creates a lot of pressure into the lower abdomen which we don’t want.

So for more information check out our website at or give us a call to set up an appointment so we can help you work with breathing and better movement.