I am sure we are aware of the movements that the kids do when they are growing up or in scientific terms Ontogenic patterns of movement. One of the things worthy of note are while the children began changing their position the other part that changes is the pattern of breathing. Taking note of this why is it important for the breathing pattern to change? Can breathing have an effect in the flexibility of a person? Can problems in breathing appear in adults?
So why is breathing important with the movement patterns. The thing is it is important not because it gives the child oxygen to be able to move. I mean aside from giving the kid oxygen it also gives the kid a stable platform for learning movement. The thing is for a kid to start learning movement there should still be input but while the position serves as a trigger for learning specific breathing patterns so as to be able to move certain parts. The general rule for learning new movement is to be able to stabilize the axial part of the movement or the base of the movement so as to be able to move the distal parts. This is the reason why kids tend to just assume and maintain a position and when they feel stable enough they then begin to experiment on distal movement or at least I would like to assume it is kind of like that since you can’t really talk with a few month old kid. Taking learning how to move the arms as an example usually the kid learns this with 2 basic positions with the back to the bed or with the elbows propped on a bed this is because doing this adds stability to the movement. I think you are now wondering where is breathing in this specific picture? Breathing comes in so as to stabilize the movement by stabilizing the axial part by helping the slow twitch muscles fibers stabilize the part by assuming some kind of collapsible frame. This is done because those proximal muscles are fast twitch muscle fibers. Just for those who have no idea what fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers is. Fast twitch muscle fibers are those muscles which need to produce movement and are usually the big muscles while the slow twitch ones are those that help the body frame or the skeleton assume your posture. Breathing creates a stage for the fast twitch fibers to be able to do their job properly while letting the slow twitch fibers just keep maintaining your posture. This movement pattern is kind of a reflex movement that disappears over time due to it being integrated to the other reflexes of the body.
Can this breathing pattern improve the flexibility of the muscles? Just to answer this question. I would like to pose another question? Can stretching increase the flexibility of the muscle throughout the whole activity period. Most likely not. The reason being the muscles themselves try to keep themselves close to the center so as to achieve stability. As such the more stable you can get the axial/Central muscles the more better the flexibility of the peripheral/ distal muscles. This is basically the reason for one of the motor control theories that making the center stable can improve the movement by 2 to 3 degrees of movement. By the way I am not talking about the goniometry degrees I am talking about the freedom of movement of the limbs. The more stability you can het the center part of the body the more freedom in movement is achieved. As such the body becomes much more flexible this way and it’s inherent flexibility not the one imposed by others on the person. This is also one of the reasons why stretching is not really recommended anymore.
Can breathing problems appear in adults? Problems in adults are usually more easily seen than in problem in kids. For adults movements become habitual and is pretty much affected not just by development, culture, work demands and stress. As such problems with breathing is seem in almost everybody aside from those well adjusted ones in which they have adapted to their lifestyle probably because of good exercise habits and matching lifestyle. The problems with spotting the problem with breathing is that breathing is a reflex and habit as such basically said it is automatically ingrained through the years. This is the reason why some problems keep on coming back no matter what is done because there is a problem with the most basic requirement for movement which is breathing. The problems keep on returning due to the fact that the therapist is only just treating the symptoms and not the problem. This is basically the problem with the evidence based practice trend that we are experiencing now they just keep on treating the symptoms until the problem just blows out of proportion and then the client ends up with us. This thing is not bad in our side but is quite a astronomical bother for the client physically, mentally and financially, having to be hooked up with machine after machine just to be told that sorry we could not find the problem. As to how breathing problems may show itself is quite an myriad of presentations, I could give you a few for example recurrent headaches, shoulder pin that appears indefinitely, back pain only at certain movements, neck pain that appears during rest or movement and a lot more I would not want to write all of them here as I might still be writing 10 decades after and I would still not be finished. How do therapist spot these? We basically put the client through a set of test and we observe the movement patterns during breathing and then we use our hands to check whether the muscle is moving appropriately and whether improving the breathing pattern improves the muscle contraction. The breathing pattern itself can usually be reintegrated to the movement pattern of the client through exercises and would usually be thought how to check for whether the exercise works on the affected muscle by touching the muscles themselves. The thing is while the body just neglects the sensation on this body part because of habit anyone can feel whether a muscle is contracting with just a bit of hands on training and then it is just whether the client does the exercise or not.
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