massage therapy for breathing restrictions by david weintraub

Pain often ends with massage therapy for breathing restrictions!

owner David Weintraub discusses how breathing restrictions impact our entire body and how massage therapy can help

Owner David Weintraub, LMT writes about the power of your breath. And how massage therapy for breathing restrictions can help pretty much every system and muscle in your body.

What is the most common issue you see with your clients?

There are many common areas of pain that we see with our clients. Clients will often experience tension in their neck and shoulders. They may also experience low back pain that and/or sciatica that runs down the hip and the leg. But after assessing thousands of clients both on and off the table, there seems to be one big commonality, no matter what issue a clients comes in for. One that really affects the whole body. Most of us are experiencing some level of breathing restrictions. And most clients don’t realize just how much massage therapy for breathing restrictions can help!

Often this means our core is weak and we are stuck in fight or flight mode. This can lead to spine destabilization. Although, while the diaphragm is the primary breathing muscle, it’s generally not the problem muscle. So, it’s very important to do a thorough intake to get a full scope of an issue.

How do you use massage therapy for breathing restrictions to correct issues?

There isn’t one right way to use massage therapy for breathing restrictions to treat a client. Everybody is different. Assessing how a client stands, sits, and walks can help see where else in the body needs attention. Under long term stress, the body will sacrifice mobility for stability. Stability comes from the core, and should allow for both stability and open breathing. The core includes: the Transverse Abdominals, Internal Abdominal Oblique, Pelvic Floor, Erector Spinae group, Multifidus.

Unfortunately, under long term stress, a client will start to recruit their diaphragm muscle for stabilization, leading to forced breathing. This in turn requires a lot of effort and muscle tension, which saps your energy.

The primary objective to restore open and easy breathing is to distinguish core muscles from breathing muscles. And to release any restrictions in the core muscles that are forcing the body to use the breathing muscles to help with stability. With a strong core free of abdominal adhesions, their functional patterning will start to change for the better. This will take pressure off of having to use the breathing muscles for postural support.

At the end of a session, we’ll provide exercises for the client to do at home. The psoas release exercise shown below is a good start. It allows the body to relax all of the core muscles and let go of the need for stability. After about 5-8 minutes, the brain will process that it doesn’t need to worry about holding you up. And start to breathe easier and rebalance the core and breathing muscles.

What do you like about using massage therapy for breathing restrictions on the diaphragm to relieve pain?

I enjoy working on the diaphragm because helping people learn to fill the ribs through breathe is quite rewarding. So many of our clients have restrictions in breathing from being under a constant state of stress. These restrictions in breath can cause a ton of issues, impacting all systems in the body.

Restoring more relaxed and easy breathing allows the client to truly switch their nervous system from fight or flight to rest and digest. It’s a very important step that will allow all of the rest of the musculature to let go and relax. And makes the job of doing focused massage work for other types of pain such as neck, back, and shoulder pain much much easier and more effective.

Further Reading

Here’s a good stress relief exercise to help in the meantime. Yes it says for back aches but it’s also great for opening up your diaphragm!

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