How Shallow Breathing Affects the Body

How Shallow Breathing Affects the Body

Posted by Sandraluz Gonzalez May 17, 2023

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How shallow breathing affects the whole body and for many, this type of breathing is becoming a habit that needs to be addressed. Have you ever watched a new born baby breathe? They naturally breath through the nose, filling the lungs. You can see the belly expend and the chest rise as they inhale and the belly deflate as they exhale. Shallow breathers or thoracic breathers, inhale through the mouth, holding the breath and taking in less air. Less air means more stress on the body. 

Stress and Shallow Breathing

It becomes cyclical; shallow breathing causes stress and stress causes shallow breathing which in turn triggers the sympathetic system, a division of the nervous system. Its function is to produce localized adjustments such as sweating as a response to an increase in temperature.

John Luckovich, an apprentice at Integrative Breathwork in Brooklyn, New York said, “Shallow breathing doesn’t just make stress a response, it makes stress a habit in our bodies, and therefore, our minds, are locked into.”

Studies have also shown that shallow breathing and stress cause the lymphocyte count to drop. Lymphocytes are white blood cells and one of the body’s main types of immune cells. The body is more susceptive to illness when our white count is low.

Shallow breathing can also trigger anxiety disorders, dry mouth, respiratory conditions, and is a precursor for cardiovascular problems.

It creates tension in the body. When we use the chest to fill the lungs, the muscles around our shoulders, chest and neck work overtime. This results in neck pain and headaches. It forces the shoulders to slump forward, changing the posture.

Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing, on the other hand, can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rates, relax muscles, decrease stress, and increase energy levels. Deep breathing grounds us as well.

One of the primary goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve or restore the ideal oral resting posture—which consists of having teeth closed with lips together, while the tongue rests gently against the palate and deep breathing occurs through the nose.

The therapy includes facial and tongue exercises and behavior modification techniques to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing, and swallowing. Proper head and neck postures are also addressed. Many studies will substantiate that it may resolve jaw problems and orthodontic relapse working as a multi-disciplinary team.

Do you want to learn more about myofunctional therapy and how you can start taking deep breaths? Call today to schedule an appointment at (505) 218-6565.

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