We do it all day: breathing. A good way of breathing helps you become or remain mentally and physically balanced. But stress or tension can disrupt this balance. If you are tense and stressed, you switch to chest breathing. This is not necessarily wrong, but less effective. Chest breathing is a nervous, shallow way of breathing. The acidity of your blood also changes and the number of times you breathe in increases slowly: your breathing frequency. This, in turn, causes you to use an unnecessary amount of energy that can cause complaints in the long term.

These complaints will be subtle in the beginning. For example not waking up fully rested in the morning or having an increasing amount of headaches. If you stick to this tempo, your body will only use more energy. Eventually, your body will stop its subtle hints and protest harder and harder with more intense complaints.

What happens with a disfunctional breathing?
In case of a disfunctional breathing, you breathe too fast, too slow or too deep. Fast breathing is most common and is also known as hyperventilation.

If you are relaxed, such as when reading a book, your breathing frequency should be 6 to 12 times per minute. For example, when your breathing frequency is 16 times per minute in peace, your body is working really hard. Compare it to continuous rock hard cycling at 16 km per hour against the wind. It makes you tired and you lose unnecessary energy. You don’t really use your energy effectively. Energy which you normally can use for days, you are now using within a few hours.

Which symptoms can you get?

General symptoms such as tension, anxiety, panic, fatigue, sleeping problems, irritability. You can get these complaints by breathing too much while it is not necessary and because of worrying about it.

Psychological complaints such as anxiety, agony, worrying strongly, phobias, depression, feeling unreal. These complaints can appear because your feelings, thoughts and behaviour respond to your physical complaints.

Respiratory complaints such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sighing often, rapid and/or deep breathing, dry mouth, yawning or sighing often. You can get these complaints by breathing fast and deep through your chest. This way your airways, chest and heart muscles are overloaded.

Complaints of the heart and vascular system such as palpitations, chest pain, pounding heart, skipping heartbeat. These complaints are caused by a faster and deeper way of breathing. Your heart needs to pump faster because of this.

Muscle complaints such as stiffness, shaking and cramping of the hands, tingling in the hands or around the mouth. You can get these complaints because you get fewer calcium particles. And sometimes by having a cramped posture.

Complaints of the central nervous system such as dizziness, feeling faint, dry mouth, sweating, becoming cold or warm, headaches. You can get these symptoms because your blood vessels (especially in your brain, hands, feet, mouth and tongue) contract. This makes your blood flow less optimal.

Gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. You can get these complaints by swallowing inhaled air without you noticing. These complaints often come in waves.

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