Do you find that you crash throughout the day? That is doesn’t matter how you feel in the morning, the day just tends to get more draining as it goes on? This one action step to help your body stay energized, and you do it every day… just maybe not as mindful as you need.
Our bodies are both wonderfully complex and incredibly simple. If you were to look at the human body, you would see that it only has one real goal. How do I operate throughout the day efficiently?
Atmospheric Pressure is one of the primary forces of nature that the body resists every day. A healthy body is able to adequately resist these forces, but being healthy isn’t just eating veggies and getting active. There’s an innate intelligence at work as well, and it’s so common, we often take it for granted.
Atmospheric pressure is like a hug on the body that never stops, and while there are small changes of the amount of pressure throughout the day, it’s generally consistent. Unless we have a drastic change in altitude or weather. When this happens, we know it’s happening as our body naturally has small sensors to monitor pressure change called baroreceptors.
Without going too academic, baroreceptors are located mostly in the arterial system of the body (this is important, since this is your blood pressure) and also in the knees (again, important as the knees are major shock absorbers). Next time your great-aunt says she can feel a storm coming, she’s probably right, and it’s time to batten down the hatches.
Our bodies resist its constant compression by pushing outward, regulating the internal pressures to counter the external pressures. If it pushes outward too much, we get an expanded effect on the body, and if it doesn’t push out enough, we get a compressed effect on the body. Both are very tiring on the body, and if you need an example, travel to a different altitude or sit in a steam filled shower while you monitor your breathing.
Or talk to an asthmatic about how their breathings affects their health.
One of the exercises that professionals use to explain how an asthmatic breathes is by giving people soda straws. For the next couple minutes, they can only mouth-breath through this straw.
Try it. You won’t like it.
So how does the body regulate pressure?
One of the main things we do to regulate pressure is breathing. Our body is made up of 3 primary diaphragms that work in unison to help you control the pressures of the body:
- The Pelvic Floor in the pelvis
- The Tentorium Cerebelli in the head
- The Thoracic Diaphragm in the chest
When these structures are working together, we have a better opportunity to balance the pressures inside the body versus the pressures outside. If they are not in unison, it becomes more difficult for the body to balance out the pressures, and we begin to lose efficiency.
What can we do to help this?
Breathing while sitting in a chair, stooped over a desk or driving in a car creates a hard breathing environment for the body. Our pelvis is fixed and immobile, our spine is curved over and our head is jutted forward and this can affect how well these structures operate.
To make things worse, we have been doing this for so long and at such formative years, we develop poor breathing patterns, and may need direct care and coaching with a manual therapist. Until then, this simple breathing technique can help:
- Lie down flat or stand up (caution, you may get light headed)
- Shake out your arms and legs, loosen them up as they will also move as you breathe.
- Slowly take deep breaths in through your nose for a count of 5 seconds.
- Hold for a second.
- Slowly breath the air out through your mouth for a count of 5 seconds.
- Hold for a second, and repeat at least 5 times.
While you are doing these breathes, be mindful of what the body is doing. Feel the pressure expanding in your body as your breath in as we want to help re-awaken the body’s awareness.
If you haven’t explored seeing a physiotherapist, massage therapist or osteopath, you should. You really should. The diaphragms are all soft tissue, and these professionals are experts in dealing with “soft tissue issues.”
There’s also the skill called “Vacuum Breathing”, an golden-age of bodybuilding method of training the transverse abdominus and diaphragm. It is also instrumental in fascia releases of the abdominal cavity. I’ll write about this shortly.
The easier your body adapts to pressure changes, the better your overall health is. As I said, pressure imbalances are very energetically draining on the body, and above all we need to protect our resources (Check out my article about this very point.)