The Diaphragm, Ribcage, and Breathing
This has been a hot topic. I am currently reading the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor, a bestseller you may or may not have heard of (post to come on this book later!), and it's reminded me so much of the incredible importance of breathing, that I just had to write up a post on it now!
The diaphragm muscle, a sheet of muscle that extends across the underside of the lower 6-12 ribs, is our most important breathing muscle, which is why I have always muscle tested both sides of the diaphragm muscle on every patient at every visit. It's that important; and, I very often find weakness in it. If you're a patient, you likely know this! Not only does the diaphragm help us breath, it acts as a second heart by pumping blood as well as lymphatic fluid. From a Chinese medicine standpoint, the diphragm muscle acts as a mover of chi, or energy, and balances acupuncture meridian energy. Woah.
Hypofunction, inhibition, or fascial adhesions in our diaphgram muscle can negatively impact our breathing, our spinal motion, and our energy. This is why I muscle test and fix this as needed on every patient! The fix is easy but involves manual activation to the diaphragm muscle. Again, my current patients likely know this well! We also often perform chiropractic adjustments to the ribs, thoracic (mid and upper spine), and upper lumbars (lower back vertebrae).
Dysfunction of the diaphgram can also contribute to hiatal hernia, where part the stomach herniates up through the hole in our diaphgram where our stomach meets the espohagus, or hiatal-hernia like symptoms, such as acid reflux, burping and burning, and indigeston. In this case, I have to adjust the top of the stomach downwards through the diaphgram again to its rightful place after I have activated the diphragm muscles.
The diaphgram muscle, along with the lungs, can often be weak due to nutritional deficiencies as well! A little know fact. The vital nutrients that support diaphragm and breathing function are:
Vitamin C
Lung tissue extract (Pneumotrophin PMG by Standard Process)
Vitamin A
The benefits of proper breathing and diaphragm function go way beyond this post, as I am learning as I read my current book, Breath. I will share all of the juicy info from this book in a later post, as soon as I finish the book! In the meantime, I will diligently continue checking diaphragm muscle function in all of my patients!