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Breathwork

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Theo, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Theo

    Theo Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Anyone have experience with any of the popular breathing exercises, such as the Wim Hof Method, Yogic Pranayama, or Holotropic breathwork? I've dabbled into it just a little and found it relaxing, but I worry the intense breathing could give me post-exertional malaise of my diaphragm, and I also worry that the intense effects could exacerbate my illness.
     
  2. mango

    mango Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've done a lot of pranayama and other yogic therapeutic breathing exercises over the years. Some advanced practices over a long period of time, as well. I started long before I got ME. Breathing practices haven't made me any less ill, and I don't find them helpful for symptom relief either.

    Yes, I'd say you are right to be cautious. Pranayama is very powerful, its effects can be very intense -- on a bodily level, as well as the mind and emotionally. Can be a very challenging practice even for otherwise healthy people. There are risks, so the guidance of an experienced, skillful and compassionate teacher is definitely needed.
     
  3. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have always found breathing exercises will crash me, but I think it would be different for everyone.
     
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  4. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I like meditation but breathing too deep makes me dizzy, so no fun.
     
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  5. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In another thread, @zzz posted this interesting article from The Atlantic:

    Unlocking the Mysteries of Long COVID

    As zzz said:

    And @Helene said:
    I was also interested by the stuff on breathing. Here it is (broken up for ease of reading):

    I don't know whether anyone has looked into breathing in PwME. I'm wondering where you would find instructions for this sort of breathwork.

    Any thoughts on this, @PhysiosforME?
     
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  6. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of relaxation and meditation methods have used this sort of regulated deep breathing for calming and helping to relax for decades. I think physios teach diaphragmatic breathing where appropriate. It's nothing new. I do it when I need to calm myself.
    It has no effect on my ME.
     
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  7. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    There's a set of 'Coronavirus recovery breathing exercises' here from John Hopkins about restoring diaphragmatic breathing. I find I'm not able to do diaphragmatic breathing when standing.
     
  8. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Been there, done that. Under the guidance of a really good physio.

    Some of the reasons for trying it at the time included-
    - Not great posture - many hours hunched over laptop keyboards, and being below average height means I'm not properly supported by a standard chair- the seat is often too deep and a bit too high.
    - IBS - one of the theories was that shallow breathing or hyperventilating can make a big difference to gut and vice versa as a sore and bloated tummy against a waistband that gets restricting as the day goes on hurts and so you don't breathe properly.
    - i also had some chest complaints that might have affected my breathing patterns.

    Made zero difference to my ME & this was something I did in the early stages of being ill.

    I'm not saying it won't help anyone at all, it just won't make a significant difference to ME.

    I would watch the breathwork. Like @mango says some of it can be surprisingly stimulating and that's not great for pwME.

    This is where I can see a clear benefit for wearing a HR monitor if you give this a go. Just to make sure you don't get carried away.
     
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  9. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The instructions here are......not that good, not detailed enough.

    For example the sitting upright breathing should perhaps include -
    • Sitting upright comfortably - use a support behind the lower back if you need it.
    • Ideally knees bent at right angles - so height of chair is important & this will affect the energy use by muscles
    • Feet flat on the floor & hip width apart - if you're too short put a telephone directory, if such a thing still exists, under your feet.
    The idea is you should be able to hold the posture comfortably. If you can't you'll introduce strain or tension and this will affect the breath.

    I also noticed that when the person was doing the breathing exercise lying in their front, the gap in the treatment table was under their chest. The idea here would normally be the chest is flat to the floor as this means slightly more constriction to the chest and encourages air to the belly.

    For ladies with a larger bosom that might not be comfortable so you might need to use a support.

    It's really fundamental to any of these exercises that you are comfortable while doing then and can happily stay in that position.
     
  10. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Did breathing exercises with a specialised teacher- crashed me for weeks...so be wary. It is not 'just' breathing, and is still exercise and can cause PEM.
     
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  11. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm able to lie on my Back Magic for 5 minutes which opens up my chest and relaxes my shoulders. I don't deep breath while lying down, but try to relax and focus on slowing my breathing as much as possible. I feel very good/relaxed after.
    I only use it in the evenings when my body has had a chance to loosen up a bit.


    Of course not everyone can use this but it feels ok for me.
     
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  12. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think.muscle pain & stiffness that we experience can affect posture and that can have a knock on effect on breathing.

    Tightening & rounding of the shoulders & slumping of the chest with the head slumping back on the neck & chin coming up and forward all naturally tend to restrict natural, relaxed airflow into the lower part of the lungs.

    If it's possible, given severity of ME, to gently open up the chest and correct the posture in a relaxed way then that can automatically improve breathing.

    If the posture is wrong and you feel as though you're sitting up straight with the chest open, even though you're not, then you'll have limited success.

    One of the most important things my physio taught me about correcting my posture was resting in a properly supported position.
     
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