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Better Breathing for Everyone!

When I started down the myofunctional and tongue tie rabbit hole, I did not reach the other rabbit holes for a couple of years....the breathing and nervous system rabbit holes. I first heard Patrick McKeown speak on a podcast episode in 2019 or 2020 - I've lost track of time. It was very intriguing what he had to say about how he was able to cure his own asthma and racing mind just through breathing. He dove into the science, and I mean the meat and potatoes biochemistry of breathing. That made it even more intriguing because I had never heard that perspective before. I had always talked about nasal breathing - "tongue up, lips closed, healthy breathing through your nose" - you know - the Myo thing we all say to our clients. Up until then, I was thinking it was really just about orofacial development because "form follows function" as they say. While all of this is true, I was missing a whole lot of the bigger picture.

Let's dive into that a bit so you know what I mean. When the tongue is up, resting in the roof of the mouth like it should be, the jaws should grow optimally, if provided a lot of adequate chewing as well. The bony structure of the jaws and face literally are developed and grow based on how the muscles of the mouth and face are functioning. So, if the tongue is low in the mouth and we do not develop correct tongue movements, meanwhile the lips, cheeks and jaw muscles are compensating, the jaw/facial bones do not grow to their optimal size/shape. This is how we end up with underdeveloped jaws and airways, needing orthodontia. This was my perspective for the first several years doing myo. I was just thinking about the structural deficits that come along with functional deficits. Once I heard Patrick's perspective, I dug deeper. I listened to a webinar and another couple of podcast episodes with him as well. Then I started reading, and reading, and reading.... I dug so deep.

During this time, my mother's health was failing; she had severe pulmonary hypertension, secondary to an autoimmune disease that was hardening all of her tissues. I noticed she was mouth breathing most of the time, even while the oxygen machine was pumping several liters of oxygen through her nose. I made sure to let her know, and she did tell me she thought about it a lot after I made her aware. The hard thing was that I did not know early enough. The more I read on the topic, the more I realized that the biochemistry of breathing (not just nose or mouth) was likely enough to cause (along with other factors) and continue nervous system dysfunction that led to many chronic diseases, including autoimmune diseases. This knowledge, unfortunately came to late for me to help change my mom's outcomes, but it has driven me to spread the word to as many people as possible. Because of this, I was led to become a Buteyko Clinic International Certified Buteyko Breathing instructor. I did not stop there, I am also working on my certification through the Oxygen Advantage. The OA is based on the Buteyko principles, but is designed to be geared more towards athletes and improving performance.

Recent studies showed that 90% of athletes have dysfunctional breathing patterns. To me, that is astonishing, but I believe it - now that I know what to look for. I see it everywhere. Poor breathing mechanics, symptoms of poor biochemistry of breathing, and symptoms related to the psychophysiological aspect of breathing. They are all there, but our society unfortunately has normalized these things - or medicated them. Most people are uneducated on what functional breathing from those three dimentions (biochemical, biomechanical, & psychophysiological) looks like, so they are unaware that thier symptoms could very likely be reduced or eliminated with better breathing. It is not just about "belly breathing". What I find is that not everyone is ready to do the hard work of breathing re-education. It takes consistency, patience and an open mind. On top of that, the concepts are likely to be foreign to most people, even to those with medical backgrounds.

Breathing used to take a back burner in my myofunctional practice, but now it has become a staple. Still, some are more willing and ready to do the work than others. That's okay. But you better believe I'm giving everyone the information!


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