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Are You a Chest or Stomach Breather?

Respiration Assessment Test (Supine)

This easy to perform test will give you an idea if you are a Chest breather (Bad) or a Stomach breather (good). Chest breathing refers to breaths from the top lobes of the lungs that use the chest muscles to inflate the lungs by pulling on the rib cage. In chest breathing, the chest expands and contracts with each breath while the abdominal area does not. These breaths tend to be short and quick, using only a small portion of the lungs and delivering a relatively minimal amount of oxygen to the bloodstream. In addition, excessive chest breathing causes the muscles of the neck to work over time and can lead to tightness and over-use strain to that area. Here is a simple test and exercise you can do at home to improve your breathing.

Description: Breathing test to assess if patient is a stomach breather or chest breather.
How to perform:

  • Lay on a comfortable surface on your back with your knees bent.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your stomach.
  • Take 5 normal deep breaths and take notice of your breathing.

80% of breathing should come from the belly rising and falling, 20 % should come from the chest rising and falling.

Chest breathing is more dominant then the belly breathing and/or shoulders elevating towards the ears during inspiration. Excessive chest breathing causes over-use of the neck musculature and can lead to pain syndromes in the neck, shoulders and upper back.
Breathing
Corrections for Chest Breather:

  • Place a light book over the stomach and focus on elevating and lowering it during inspiration and expiration.
  • Lay on back.
  • Push belly outward.
  • Pull belly button down towards floor.
  • Repeat ten repetitions for two sets.
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