About Breathing

In our busy, modern-day lives we are always “on the go”. Because of this, our bodies are in a constant “flight or fight” state (stress response). Breathing is our only conscious link to the nervous system, which controls digestion, immunity, hormones and many more important functions. When you master breathing awareness, you will find that you have control over your reactions, your energy levels and stress levels.
It is great that our body experiences pain (although you may not think that if you suffer from chronic pain). Pain is our body’s way of telling the brain that there is something wrong with our nervous system, muscles, joints or bones. The way the brain interprets pain is very complex. Think of it like an orchestra. When there is pain, lots of different instruments all play at once. One of the instruments that begins to play the “pain song” is the amygdala, the small almond-shaped fear centre in the brain that is activated when there is pain. It creates a stress response that alters the breathing pattern, which in turn, sends us into survival mode. The problem occurs when the record gets stuck, and the same pain song is played on high rotation! The amygdala doesn’t switch off and keeps releasing stress hormones causing stressed breathing. Learning to control your breathing restores balance to your stress response and your body’s nervous system.
Grief is a natural process of life. We are affected physically and emotionally by grief, but we also need to be able to move through it. While there are no set timeframes or rules for handling grief, there are things you can do to move through it. Learning how to bring your body to a state of calm and into the present moment is both grounding and healing when experiencing grief. Learning to breathe well helps us tune into our heart and body and give it what it truly needs. Breathing is a reflection of how we are feeling. When we are upset, we breathe fast and erratically. When we are happy, we breathe slow and easy. But what if you could use breathing to find a better headspace and a way to reset emotions? Breathing training is one tool that may help you process and move through grief. We recommend you talk with family, friends or a health professional if you feel grief is getting on top of you.
Hyperventilation syndrome is at the highest end of the breathing dysfunction spectrum. Usually, symptoms of hyperventilation syndrome have been around for a long period of time. You may exhibit a wide range of symptoms that seem disconnected, and you may have seen lots of health professionals in a search for a diagnosis. Hyperventilation syndrome occurs when altered breathing changes your body’s chemistry. A stress trigger may have altered your breathing pattern years ago. That altered breathing becomes the norm, and you are now suffering the consequences. Our foundation program, The Big Exhale, is designed to help you become aware of your breathing pattern and give you simple, drug-free exercises to help re-educate your body and nervous system. The key is slowly changing habits to get to where you need to go. Making small changes is achievable and can have a big impact in your life.
Stress is good for the body. When we are under stress, our body goes into protection and survival mode. This state was vital thousands of years ago when humans had to survive the primitive lifestyle. The problem today is that our primitive brain can’t differentiate between being chased by a hungry sabre-toothed tiger or less life-threatening event like the kids crying, an argument with our spouse, or rushing late for a meeting. We have so many “triggers” in our lives it’s no surprise that we constantly feel tired, grumpy and stressed. Simply being aware of these triggers is often enough to change how you react to them. How we think about stress is important. The Big Exhale breathing training course examines how you can harness stress for good as well as giving you tools to help reduce the effect of stress on your body and mind. Like any habit, stress reaction can occur without us being consciously aware of it. Taking control of breathing is one way to reset the nervous system and emotional centres of the brain during times of stress.
Athletes, like anyone, can suffer from breathing dysfunction. The stress of competition can alter breathing patterns and therefore the body’s ability to perform on the day. Learning to bring your body back to calm allows for athletes to find the best body chemistry levels. How you think about stress can impact how you will perform. The Big Exhale program both educates and provides the tools to reset your breathing and achieve the highest level of performance.
Breathing training comes in many forms and is a common complement to other forms of exercise such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga. The Breath Effect method is based on the study of breathing pattern disorders and breathing retraining. While there is some overlap with some of the ideas and exercises of the Buteyko Method, the program is different. The wellness architect behind The Breath Effect is a Physiotherapist (physical therapist), acupuncturist and Pilates instructor. This diverse background has influenced the holistic, research-based approach of The Breath Effect.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years and includes a strong emphasis on breathing. Even experienced yoga teachers and students benefit from understanding the science and research behind optimal breathing. The key to getting the most out of your yoga practice is to understand how you can modify your breathing to optimise your health. You can then layer these breathing techniques into your practice to get the body into a calmer, more centred state faster. It also helps you keep the wonderful feeling you gain on the mat with you throughout the day.
When pregnant, your body goes through both physical and hormonal changes that have an impact on your breathing. In the early stages of pregnancy, an increase in progesterone can cause an increase in your breathing rate, even within the first few weeks. Higher progesterone levels make breathing faster creating a breathing dysfunction and bringing on lots of yucky symptoms such as nausea and fatigue that are often considered unavoidable pregnancy symptoms. As pregnancy advances and your waistline expands, it is harder to breathe into the major breathing muscle, your diaphragm. But the good news is that research has shown that breathing exercises during pregnancy rebalances C02 levels and improves the health of both mother and baby. Another important reason for learning how to breathe back to calm during pregnancy and parenthood is that babies can be stressful. Sleepless nights, postnatal depletion, juggling the work-life balance all add up over time and impacts your body and mind. Learning healthy breathing habits prepares you for what is ahead and helps you ride the rollercoaster of motherhood.
One in 10 people have hyperventilation syndrome, and many more people have breathing dysfunction. A breathing pattern disorder is an altered rhythm, rate or pace of breathing that has existed for a period of time causing you to breathe beyond what your body requires. You may breathe too fast, too often, through your mouth, use your back-up breathing muscles when you are stressed (scalene and pectorals), or a combination of all of the above. Often, breathing pattern disorders go undiagnosed. Up to 30% of emergency admissions are diagnosed with a primary diagnosis of breathing dysfunction or hyperventilation syndrome. Breathing pattern disorders have multiple triggers or causes, and it is important to figure out what your triggers are. Even a major illness like cancer can cause a secondary stress reaction that alters breathing resulting in poor sleep, fatigue or nausea (on top of other symptoms). As part of The Big Exhale breathing course, we help identify what your triggers may be. Discovering calm breathing and learning to reduce tension on the body are vital steps in reducing the impact of breathing pattern disorder.
Currently, private consultations are not available. If you would like this in the future please email exhale@thebreatheffect.com to express your interest. If you are interested in attending one of our 5 day wellness retreats around the world please email exhale@thebreatheffect.com to register your interest.
Conscious awareness of breathing takes practice. The Big Exhale course teaches the tricks and tips for implementing regular checks and exercises for your breathing. If you have hyperventilation syndrome, a simple tip is to set a reminder every 1 or 2 hours to check your breathing pattern. We get that breathing awareness takes time, and it’s hard to be “in the moment” if you are feeling tense or stressed. That’s why at The Breath Effect we recommend a product called Spire that allows you to enjoy breathing bliss on the go. To learn more about Spire or to purchase this revolutionary technology click here. If you’re not sure if Spire is right for you take our breathing test here. If you have been struggling with anxiety, tension, grief, depression or pain, Spire helps you reconnect with calm and reset your nervous system.
We wish we could tell you that breathing is the magic bullet for fixing all lower back pain. But it’s not and there isn’t one thing that will. It’s estimated that up to 90% of back pain is caused by bad habits, like how we move our body through the day or how we think and feel. This, in turn, leads to muscle tension, poor breathing and muscle trigger points. Back pain is very complex and involves the higher brain centres, the nervous system and the body all combining to give you your individual pain experience. The experience of having back pain is stressful in itself and will alter the way you breathe. When used in conjunction with an exercise-based rehab program, the ability to breathe back to calm is a powerful tool to help manage pain as well as prevent pain from returning.
Breathing or heart conditions: If you have severe troubles with breathing such as unstable asthma or heart conditions we recommend you consult your doctor and physiotherapist to make sure that you are suitable for the course.
If you have long-term nasal issues, you may need to seek advice from your doctor or an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist. If you are not able to breathe freely through both nasal passages and simple over the counter treatments haven’t been effective then you may need to deal with the lack of nasal breathing first. This may be the reason you have a breathing pattern disorder.
While breathing retraining can reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, we recommend you do this under the guidance of your doctor or therapist. Depression symptoms can be very severe and lonely. We encourage you to reach out to family, friends and health professionals to get you through tough times. There are multiple agencies around the world that help you work through suicidal feelings and depression. Remember you are not alone in feeling this way.
If something doesn’t feel right then you can leave it and come back to it later. The course is designed so that you can take the key points that resonate with you and your body and integrate them into your day-to-day habits. Everyone is unique and what feels right for someone who is struggling with anxiety may not work for someone who wants to lose weight and balance the nervous system.
Meditation is a practice of training the mind to help build clarity, concentration and calmness. Meditation is often associated with religion or spirituality, which is why some people are put off trying it. Mindfulness is different to meditation but is also a practice that helps focus your awareness on the present moment. Meditation, mindfulness and yoga all use awareness of the breath to help calm the body and mind. Breathing training is part of these practices as it is a conscious connection to the nervous system and therefore your hormones. Your mind and body are intrinsically linked. When you think about something sad, your body reacts that way. When you feel joy, your body and breathing respond accordingly. It makes sense then, you can do the opposite by using your body to change the way you feel.

About the course

Once you start, you have 3 months to complete the course and access the material. The course is done in daily modules, which you can do in one go or pick out the topics that are relevant to you. We recommend that you work through the program in the set order. You will receive a daily email when the next module is available. Each module will take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete.
The course includes PDFs that you can download and keep. At the end of the course, you will receive a summary of all the key points. The Breath Effect has also created a helpful eBook, which you can download.
Practice, practice and then practice some more! Keeping up with better breathing is as simple as 10 minutes twice a day. If you feel you need ongoing support, we recommend you see your local breathing physiotherapist. If you want to take your breathing to the next level we recommend a revolutionary breathing tracking tool, Spire. Find out more about Spire here. Remember, it takes time to change a habit. You may need to work on mindful pauses throughout the day to help reduce triggers. The course gives you practical ideas for integrating these techniques into your day. Make sure you sign up for The Breath Effect newsletter to keep up to date with our wellness courses and education programmes.
You will find most things you need for the course around the house. A 2kg wheat bag or bag of rice is recommended for Day 6 when you learn to chillax (chill out and relax). If you want to take your breathing to the next level we recommend Spire. Spire is a mindfulness and activity tracker that reminds you throughout the day when you are calm (digest and rest), focused (business mode/getting stuff done) or tense (stressed zone). You are not required to purchase Spire to complete the course.
The course is broken up into short daily modules, which you can do at anytime of the day. The course runs for 30 days and each daily module will take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete. The course is made up of instructional video content as well as downloadable PDFs.
You can access the course on all devices that can connect to a web browser.
The key to getting the maximum effect out of the course is to practice what you have learned daily. We recommend you set reminders to integrate mindful pauses into your day. If you really want to maximise your breathing, why not try the revolutionary wellness product called Spire. Spire tracks your breathing patterns throughout the day and will tell you when you need to take a deep breath, when you are tense or when you have been still for too long. Click here to learn more about Spire.
Each daily module will take between 5 and 20 minutes.
The course is designed to run over 30 days and you will have access to the course for 3 months from when you sign up.
Once you start, you have 3 months to complete the course and access the material. The course is done in daily modules, which you can do in one go or pick out the topics that are relevant to you. We recommend that you work through the program in the set order. You will receive a daily email when the next module is available. Each module will take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete.
The course includes PDFs that you can download and keep. At the end of the course, you will receive a summary of all the key points. The Breath Effect has also created a helpful eBook, which you can download.
Practice, practice and then practice some more! Keeping up with better breathing is as simple as 10 minutes twice a day. If you feel you need ongoing support, we recommend you see your local breathing physiotherapist. If you want to take your breathing to the next level we recommend a revolutionary breathing tracking tool, Spire. Find out more about Spire here. Remember, it takes time to change a habit. You may need to work on mindful pauses throughout the day to help reduce triggers. The course gives you practical ideas for integrating these techniques into your day. Make sure you sign up for The Breath Effect newsletter to keep up to date with our wellness courses and education programmes.
You will find most things you need for the course around the house. A 2kg wheat bag or bag of rice is recommended for Day 6 when you learn to chillax (chill out and relax). If you want to take your breathing to the next level we recommend Spire. Spire is a mindfulness and activity tracker that reminds you throughout the day when you are calm (digest and rest), focused (business mode/getting stuff done) or tense (stressed zone). You are not required to purchase Spire to complete the course.
The course is broken up into short daily modules, which you can do at anytime of the day. The course runs for 30 days and each daily module will take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete. The course is made up of instructional video content as well as downloadable PDFs.
You can access the course on all devices that can connect to a web browser.
The key to getting the maximum effect out of the course is to practice what you have learned daily. We recommend you set reminders to integrate mindful pauses into your day. If you really want to maximise your breathing, why not try the revolutionary wellness product called Spire. Spire tracks your breathing patterns throughout the day and will tell you when you need to take a deep breath, when you are tense or when you have been still for too long. Click here to learn more about Spire.
Each daily module will take between 5 and 20 minutes.
The course is designed to run over 30 days and you will have access to the course for 3 months from when you sign up.