Respiratory and Breathing Disorders

The below text is an adaptation of the book “Breathe Stretch and Move“. This can be purchased at Physical Sense.

At Physical Sense we use the BradCliff method®.

Stress is big business. A huge percentage of people who come to Physical Sense have done at least one course in workplace stress management. Yet they still complain that `work stress’ is their main problem. Interestingly, they all complain of similar symptoms – which include headaches; pain and tension in the neck, shoulders, chest and arms; upset digestion; and sleep problems. Bending over keyboards, talking for long periods on the phone, and working in artificially-lit, air-conditioned and often open-plan offices for eight to ten hours at a stretch is not good for us. With coffee machines and cafes around every corner, it is easy to become reliant on this abundantly available stimulant.

No one ‘therapy’ will ever provide the whole answer when tackling job stress. There are often many rungs to be climbed on the ladder to health and happiness. We maintain that the first step in restoring health and stability at work, in both mind and body, is to pay attention to the breath. Many of our clients agree, remarking how simple and effective our methods are; indeed, many have described them as ‘life-saving.

Fifty percent of recovery comes from learning about the basic physiological and mechanical processes of breathing.The other 50 percent comes from practising simple strategies to change bad habits into good ones. Many of the clients who have visited Physical Sense have asked for more information on breathing and its relevance to their working lives. Many bosses have wanted to introduce our techniques to their staff – as they say, there are plenty of policies on how to counteract workplace stress, but not much in the way of practical, simple, workable methods.

Our method is based on restoring the best breathing patterns by using the best breathing muscles, with easy moves and stretches to reduce mental and physical tension and stress. It is also about doing this from `baseline calm’, first and foremost using the knowledge of how and why we need to breathe well to be well. This includes learning the basics of balanced body chemistry (breathing properly) and the pay-offs through energy-efficient breathing (using the right muscles). While this book is primarily about breathing, which includes learning about breathing’s wonderful complexities, it is also about using enjoyable stretching and movement sequences to counter the perils of sedentary work – whether this is standing, sitting at a computer, or driving for long hours.

We do not claim to have all the answers, but we have experienced enough success with Physical sense’s methods to believe that this first step in the management of stress and tension in the workplace is a legitimate one. Specific breathing-centered stretches and movements help prevent the problems mentioned above, and once you have reclaimed natural, relaxed breathing patterns you can look at other aspects of health such as nutrition and lifestyle.

One in ten New Zealanders experience some form of breathing disorder or chronic over-breathing, often called hyperventilation. This can produce a range of disturbing symptoms like:

  • frequent sighing and yawning,
  • breathing discomfort,
  • disturbed sleep,
  • erratic heartbeats,
  • feeling anxious,
  • pins and needles,
  • upset gut/nausea, chest
  • pains, shattered confidence,
  • tiredness and fatigue,
  • achy muscles and joints,
  • dizzy spells or feeling ‘spaced out’,
  • irritability or jumpiness,
  • feelings of ‘air hunger’.

For a long time Auckland was the only city with a clinic specialized in breathing disorders. Physiotherapists Dinah Bradley and Tania Clifton-Smith who have published 6 books between them on the subject have now started a program that ensures that more New Zealand cities can offer the very successful BradCliff method® that they developed. Many people who were treated with the BradCliff method® have been able to significantly reduce their asthma medication.

In Christchurch you can contact Physical Sense on 3772577 and ask for the BradCliff method® to organize expert help for the restoration of your breathing pattern.