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You can self-refer to Breathing Works, or your GP or specialist might refer you. You may be able to claim back some of the cost of your treatment if you have physiotherapy cover in your medical insurance. If your problem is related to an accident ACC should cover part of the cost. At your first appointment we will ask you for your doctor’s details so that we can send them a report if you are happy with this
We are commonly asked this, as people think surely we just need to breathe in and out, and have done since we were born? That’s true, but it doesn’t mean we breathe well. Bad habits such as poor sitting postures , life events such as trauma/grief and organic disorders such as asthma all lead to changes in our breathing. Once the changes occur the patterns may well become habitual and a disorder in its own right.
Often we don’t notice things have changed until we get symptoms we can’t ignore any more.
Some other common triggers that alter our breathing:
- mouth breathing
- pain – especially back, neck or abdominal pain
- busy brain
- sinus problems/ stuffy nose
- chronic lung disease
- ongoing emotions like grief, or excitement
- poor posture/ergonomics
- prolonged computer use
Remember even if the trigger has gone, the body can have developed a habit that perpetuates.
We have people of all ages, from pre-schoolers to the “well-experienced in life”. With the children we keep the session light, and use games or stories to help the child breathe well, and give you ideas for home. If you can put in the practise the breathing can improve. You are never too old to learn (see testimonials).
Most people feel better after the first appointment. Sometimes it takes two appointments to see improvement. Remember you need to put in the practise to get ongoing change and improvement. It also depends on how often events/circumstances are triggering poor breathing as to how quickly you can recover.
It can take up to 15,000 reps to change a habit. Or, as stated earlier, three to six weeks to change a habit, and six months to firmly entrench that new habit.
We work from the body up, enabling the body to settle and achieve baseline calm. Psychologists work from the mind down, giving you strategies to deal with the thoughts and feeling that are sabotaging you. We can only fully relax when the mind and the body are both feeling safe and calm. Sometimes just one form of treatment is enough, and sometimes it requires both. We may suggest you investigate seeing someone to help with your thought patterns if it seems appropriate. There are a range of professionals who can help with this, including counsellors, psychotherapists, and hypnotherapists to name a few. At times the body chemistry may too need balancing for this the G.P will be included with respect to medication.
Regardless, it is essential to be able to calm the body through life’s stormier seas.
Sometimes just reading the books is enough. Often it works best if you have read a book and then come in for some sessions so that we can personally guide you through the process and give you accurate feedback as to how you are going.
There is strong research to support that breathing retraining to a normal breathing pattern has a range of benefits, from helping decrease use of asthma medication to reducing anxiety.
See our links page for some relevant research papers.
Some animals do hyperventilate when stressed/excited. The difference is that they live in the present, and so the hyperventilating will stop when the trigger stops. They won’t need treatment like us humans do.
Yes, almost always. When we breathe in a gentle regular rhythm it switches off the fright/flight response and switches on the calming “parasympathetic” response, and help you sleep. Sometimes there are other issues affecting your sleep, however, and we would refer you on to the specialist that can help you best.
There is some overlap and some differences. We would use the term “disordered breathing” rather than hyperventilating because often people are holding their breath at times as well as breathing fast (hyperventilating) at other times - it’s like a learner driver bunny-hopping rather than just plain speeding. With either there might be musculo-skeletal problems altering the breathing – a stiff back or locked in abdominals. It might be specific – e.g. talking in public or on the phone, or swimming lengths at the local pool.
Addressing the breathing pattern is always a key part of our treatment for people with asthma. There are other aspects of our treatment that are also important – e.g. we will check you know how and when to take your medications as prescribed by your doctor. If your asthma is well-controlled you won’t need Ventolin/reliever more than three times a week. If you do need it more we will look at when you are taking it and help you discern when it’s appropriate – and you may need to go back to your GP to review your meds. We will also talk about breathing with exercise and asthma, monitoring your symptoms and peak flow, and discuss an asthma management plan. Doing these things well improve what you can do each day and can help prevent serious asthma attacks.
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NB: All Breathing works practitioners have excellent clinical reasoning skills and will refer onto the wider medical fraternity should they feel it necessary to assist excellent outcomes for our clients.