Part 1: Breathing
The title might sound kind of strange but it's very possible that your brain is being limited by several things that could be altering it's function unknowingly into a negative area.
There are many causes of cerebral hypoxia. These include, but are not limited to:
- Asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Cardiac arrest (when the heart stops pumping)
- Complications of general anesthesia
- Compression of the windpipe (trachea)
- Diseases that cause a loss of movement (paralysis) of the breathing muscles
- Drug overdose
- Shallow Breathing
- High altitudes
- Injuries before, during, or soon after, birth
- Very low blood pressure
Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation. Some brain cells actually start dying less than 5 minutes after their oxygen supply disappears. As a result, brain hypoxia can rapidly cause death or severe brain damage.
Are you getting enough Oxygen to your brain?
Info from Dr. Blaich-
"The diaphragm is the second most important muscle in the body, second only to the heart. Yet the average person's diaphragm muscle is working at far less than 100% of its ability. Because the diaphragm is the pump that determines how much oxygen comes into our systems, anything less than 100% of normal function of this vital muscle means less oxygen to our brains as well as all our muscles and internal organs.
Good diaphragm function is important for your health and vitality. Antioxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, can be quite helpful. But the best antioxidant is oxygen itself. If you improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to its own tissues, you reduce oxidative stress and tissue damage throughout your body and slow the decline in body function that occurs with aging.
I really like the information on the diaphragm that Dr. Blaich provides in his book check it out.
excerpt: from Dr. Blaich's book "Your Inner Pharmacy" Your Inner Pharmacy: Taking Back Our Wellness
How can the function of the diaphragm be improved?
The first step, as with any malfunctioning muscle, is to identify what could be inhibiting or weakening the muscle. With the diaphragm, there are common patterns of weakness. The nerves that stimulate the diaphragm exit the spine in two areas, the neck or mid-cervical spine and the lower thoracic spine, where the ribcage ends. If these spinal areas are misaligned or fixated (failing to move properly), there can be a reflex inhibition, or weakness, of the diaphragm.
Other common faulty mechanisms can affect the diaphragm. If the rib cage is not moving freely on either side, usually from past injury, the motion of the diaphragm can be limited. A common pelvic or lower-back misalignment creates a torquing in the body that limits diaphragm motion. If the cranial bones are misaligned or limited in their normal respiratory motion, this can prevent a person from breathing deeply. An important lower-back supporting muscle, the psoas, attaches indirectly to the diaphragm. A common imbalance of this muscle can also compromise the diaphragm. Many people with low-back problems have an imbalance of this muscle.
All of these are switches that commonly disturb the normal function of the diaphragm. To obtain normal function of the diaphragm, a healthcare provider has to determine which biomechanics are impeding its normal function. Treatment then entails manipulation or adjustments to specific areas of the spine that affect nerves leading to the diaphragm, or the correction of other muscle imbalances as well as a manipulation to the stomach itself.
Consider what frequently happens to the stomach over a lifetime. As we age, our shoulders and upper back can become increasingly hunched over. In mechanical terms, thoracic kyphosis increases, or we get more kyphotic.
Try this: hunch over for a moment and try to take a deep breath. It’s difficult, because there is no room for your diaphragm to move when you are in that position. If you were constantly in that position, you’d never be able to take a deep breath and, of course, your brain would receive less oxygen. Furthermore, in that position your stomach is compressed up into your diaphragm, putting extra pressure on the esophageal sphincter and challenging its ability to keep the contents of your stomach out of your esophagus.
Now, sit or stand up straight and take in a deep breath. Not only can you inhale more oxygen, but you might even feel your head clear immediately.
Stress can adversely affect the diaphragm in several ways. In stressful situations, you naturally tighten up. You breathe less deeply and sometimes feel tightness in your chest. I frequently remind people to breathe deeply during stressful times or even when working intensely in a stationary position. A more extreme example of diaphragm tightness is caused by a physical trauma. Most of us have had the wind knocked out of us from a fall or a physical injury, which is a good reminder of what a spastic diaphragm feels like.
Emotional traumas and stresses can have a similar tightening effect on the diaphragm. On a deeper level, chronic stress can really upset the diaphragm. The body’s sphincter muscles, such as the esophageal sphincter, are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic nerves tighten the sphincters, while the parasympathetic nerves relax them. When you are exhausted from constant encounters with saber-toothed tigers, your sympathetic nervous system (which enables the fight-or-flee response) is depleted and may be unable to maintain the normal tone of the sphincters. This laxity of the sphincter then predisposes you to gastric reflux. If you are chronically stressed, adjustments and corrections that selectively stimulate specific parts of the nervous system are useful, as is taking specific vitamins and nutrients that will provide the building blocks to rebuild exhausted parts and functions of the body. And of course, you must commit yourself to lifestyle changes that reduce the effects of the saber-toothed tiger on your body so your body can heal itself.
One reason for the recent increase in diaphragm-related problems in younger people is that a sedentary lifestyle generally means more sitting, poor posture, and shallow breathing. Most people don't think of their diaphragm as a muscle, just like your biceps. Activating and exercising it makes it stronger. Yet, just like any other muscle, its function is greatly affected by the integrity of the nerve supply to the muscle from the nervous system. So many people have a "weakened" diaphragm because the muscle is being partly inhibited by their nervous systems, and it is one of the most comon causes of fatigue, poor digestion, and GERD. Like any other muscle, the diaphragm must be used. To read more from Dr. Blaich check out his book. Your Inner Pharmacy: Taking Back Our Wellness
Breathwork is one of the keys to health!
Join me at my next Green Diet-Emotional clearing workshop, we'll be doing a lot of breathwork there that will be a very powerful tool for not only optimizing brain function, but clearing emotional blocks as well.
Chef Dina Knight