Experts in psychosomatic medicine have noticed that the breathing ability, the type of breathing and the person’s state of health are directly correlated.
The breath can be easily measured by measuring the thoracic circumference after the exhaling and then by finding out how much the thoracic circumference increases after inhaling.
The thoracic circumference increases with 10% for people with normal effort ability or with a medium physical condition. In the case of people suffering from circulatory diseases or from heart diseases, especially heart ischemia, the thoracic circumference after inhaling expands with only 2-5 %.
Thus, people suffering from heart diseases need more oxygen but, paradoxically, they receive a much smaller quantity because of their defective breathing.
People having digestive disorders like aero phobia, a slow digestion, distension, breathe mostly in a thoracic and clavicle manner because their abdominal breathing is practically blocked up.
One of the main involuntary reactions to stress is the blocking (holding up) of breath. If the stress is very frequent (practically permanent), the muscular and the conjunctive tissues may develop abnormally and they will block up the breathing so that it works only enough to ensure survival.
This type of superficial breathing disturbs (because of the lack of oxygenation) all the vital functions of the organism.
Our resistance to physical effort, which is very important, is much conditioned by our breathing ability. Studies from sports medicine have showed that a good breathing ability balances many muscular or cardiovascular disorders.
BREATH AND THE PSYCHIC
The psychic breath relation can be more easily noticed than the one between mind and breathing or body and breathing. Each type of breathing has some psychic characteristics:
1. The abdominal breathing: when prevailing, shows self-control, calm and the power to act. It characterizes active men, spontaneous and fighting temperaments.
2. The thoracic breathing: when prevailing, it shows a state of high psychic anxiety. It is considered the breath of alert, of running away and of defense. It characterizes stressed and tense persons.
3. The clavicle breathing: when prevailing, it shows a certain type of dissatisfaction. It characterizes the persons with a sensitive, changing psychic, whose moods change frequently.
Just like the types of breathing, the breathing rhythm has its own psychic characteristics. For example, the womans rapid and mostly clavicle breathing shows a state of maximum receptivity and emotiveness.
The short, irregular and deep breathing shows a certain erotic awakening. The interrupted, mostly thoracic, quick breathing shows a strong defense. reflex. These are only a few correlations between the breathing rhythms and the psychic state.
A systematic view on the breathing rhythm correlated to the psycho-mental state belongs to Ayurveda. The psychic aggravations caused by the disturbance of one of the 3 DOSHAs (KAPHA, PITTA AND VATA) are easily noticeable by studying the breathing rhythm:
1. The irregular, quick, superficial breathing is related to the aggravation of Vata. It is usually associated to some symptoms that characterize the perturbation of this dosha; a psychic inconstancy (quick changes of moods, anxiety, fear, uncertainty)
2. The forced, whistling, irregular breathing is related to the aggravation of Pitta. It is associated to problems like: inferiority complex, the repression of anger, indignation, repressed desire, aversion, an excessive exteriorization of some inharmonious psychical states: fury, an exaggerated critical character, etc
3. The heavy, slow, difficult, stiffed breathing is related to the aggravation of Kapha Dosha. It is associated to the general state of heaviness (at the physical, psychical and mental level), to confusion, boredom and nervous breakdown.
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