Breathing is one of the key elements to awareness, relaxation, and performance and to life. You can go weeks without food, days without water but only 3 minutes - without Air. WE all breathe. And thank goodness like our heart pumping - breathing is on the subconscious level. MFR is amazing at bringing the subconscious to the level of awareness so you can affect the programming of it. So yes - Breath is one of the things I focus on in treatment. So many things affect how you breathe, your muscle tone and coordination, flexibility of the rib cage and thoracic spine and their orientation in space all play a part. Using accessory muscles during breathing becomes a bad habit that causes you to breath shallow and have poor oxygen exchange. The mind/emotions also affects the attitude of the breath and vice versa. Everyone has heard someone take a big sigh of relief at some point in their life. We hold our breath in anticipation or to bolster our strength on a push through moment (another bad habit to get into). One of the quickest ways to mess with the breath is to make a conscious effort to breath. It's not meant to be controlled - it's meant to be enjoyed. Does that mean you shouldn't try to coordinate your breath - no. For example Pilates training very much has a breath awareness piece to the training and they orchestrate your breathing just like they orchestrate your movements so the two help each other coordinate the full body and mind complex. That is very good programming as long as you allow your body to figure it out as you go and don't get too rigid about getting it perfect. The former results in subconscious performance of the work with easy progression and the latter results in constant difficult effort to produce arduous, incremental improvements.
One of the home exercises with breath work you may find helpful is to lay flat on a firm surface (carpeted floor or Pilates mat work well) I like to have people put a folded hand towel under the sacrum and a thin pillow folded in half under the thoracic spine. The position should be comfortable with a mild stretch across the chest. You can leave your arms out to the side in a T or down by your sides. Think of having weights on your shoulders or someone pulling on your hands to lengthen through to the fingertips. Then just notice your breath. Notice if you feel more movement on one side or the other. Does the tummy rise first or does the rib cage? Now try thinking of a favorite smell - is that fresh baked bread? hot apple pie, a rose? Imagine this smell and sniff deeply and fully. Did you notice the breath travel differently? Continue sniffing the imagined smell and expel the breath slowly through pursed lips with back pressure to slow and lengthen the exhaliation. Imagine that smell filling you up permeating your being down to your toes. Feel each breath cause a moment of tension as the rib cage and body expand - feel where all that expansion goes. And on each exhale follow the relaxation as it flows from your system enjoying the let go. Imagine letting go of anything that does not serve you and letting it flow down into the earth. Breathe back in that which serves you. Try to be with the breath like this for five minutes. Be willing to move as you need to, exploring the release of tension throughout your body.
Well - I find myself learning more about the computer age - kicking and screaming... I know plenty of people already have this figured out and I'm slow - but I'm finally here... I had my first web site in 2000 and had to contact someone else every time I want to change the least little thing. And eventually I got good at leaving it alone - till it was so out of date I tried making my own adjustments. This did worked to a point - same site - same host - a no frills basic model. When I started my Physical Therapy Clinic a couple of years ago - I again paid (this time to the actual company the site was with) to update it. Again it was nice but once again I ran into the whole you have to pay to update it... It was not easy to get them to do what I wanted so I eventually edited it myself and it reverted to a dweeby little web site with good content but pretty poor looks. Now - thank you Pam for suggesting Weebly.com - I now have a beautiful web site (looks better than the one I paid the other guys to do if I do say so myself) that I can edit it anytime I want with way more features than I have ever had before! I'm still in the learning curve but - that keeps you young - right?
I started offering small things one could do with MFR at home on my facebook page but got busy, lazy or what have you and did not keep it up. I am looking forward to this option as you will have the ability to comment on the blog and I'll have the ability to have more interaction. I plan to add video examples of the exercises in the near future. So check back... And maybe someday I'll learn how to actually use FaceBook to it's fullest instead of just occasionally getting on and seeing what people are up to. One thing at a time - right?
I find sharing information and perspectives is important. So many people don't know about MFR yet. Or at least they don't really understand the difference between the current buzz word Myofascial Release and what true John F. Barnes Myofascial Release is all about. One of John's many sayings is "without awareness - there is no choice" So my focus of this blog will to to increase awareness of the benefits of (JFB)MFR as a very valuable alternative and wealth of natural information to assist people's health and wellbeing. It is a full body approach with your full participation required. There is no force - you will address what you can as you are ready to address it. I will try to discipline myself to stay focused on one thing at a time so you actually get some benefit from the information. And I will be a proponent of doing as much for yourself as you can - but also a proponent of knowing when to seek professional help when you need it. Be that a true MFR Therapist or a Dr. I think Modern Medicine is great when you need it as long as they actually look at the whole person. I recently had a friend with a Grandson who went to the hospital with classic symptoms of a ruptured appendix. She is a retired nurse but didn't find out any of the information till after it had been two days and a transfer to Cooks Children's and surgery. He spent several days in ICU. Medicine of twenty years ago would have served this particular patient better. Today we look for the complicated when the obvious is sometimes right in front of us - so balancing out the many choices we have today is important. Just like my various stages and phases of my web site design - it's a journey. And there is not a right or a wrong - there are just choices that come with benefits and consequences. On that note - I believe in a person's responsibility to decide for themselves and to be responsible for the consequences of that decision - so all information shared on this site is to be taken under advisement and used or thrown out as is appropriate for you. So - typical medical warning: If you need to check with your Dr before doing anything suggested on this site - you actually know that statement applies to you - so do it... But if nothing else is working and you try this - hang in there - you are trying becasue you decided to take the benefits and the consequences. Here's to the ups and downs of life - having more ups than downs and lots of enjoyment along the journey!
Sharon Lindy P.T.
I'm a Physical Therapist who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, went to Oregon to see the ocean for the first time (and attend college) Moved to Texas once I graduated because I thought I had to prove I was independent and I've been a bit of a traveler ever since. I love horses, MFR and seeing the United States. Welcome to my site.