Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life's breath; the ocean of air that envelops earth. Unique in the solar system, air is both the creator and the creation of life itself.
-David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance
Let's talk about breathing...
The average male has the capacity to inhale up to 6 litres per breath. We are fortunate to live in a place on the planet that has the cleanest, freshest, purest oxygen. And as David Suzuki writes so eloquently, breathing is life. Our nervous systems, our soft tissues, our organs love oxygen, obviously they require it but they really LOVE it.
In moments of stress and in bouts of pain, our breath patterns lessen.
In addition, mask-wearing in the last couple of years has inevitably caused us to breathe shorter and more shallowly, without properly using our main muscle of respiration, the diaphragm.
Massage for Easy Deep Breathing
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle and fibrous tissue that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdomen. Despite it being very internal, massage therapy uses a variety of techniques to release the diaphragm. Just as important is the hard frame of the thorax which consists of the breast bone, ribs and spinal column. This frame contains at least 150 articulations, which gives it surprising flexibility.
With each respiration, ALL of these thoracic articulations are involved.
A single restriction can disturb this complex mechanism, sometimes without causing any initial symptoms, due to so many possible compensations. Each day, from normal respiration alone, the thoracic articulations collectively undergo more than 3 million movements. Massage therapy uses techniques to keep the hard frame functioning optimally and to release all the soft tissues that 'hang' off the frame. Another benefit of massage therapy, we can guide diaphragmatic breathing during treatment so you become aware of what your full, expansive lung capacity is.
All nerdiness aside, one of the benefits of massage therapy is to facilitate easier, smoother, deeper breathing.