Medical research concerning the new field of psychoneuroimmunology back in the 1970s concluded that you can’t separate the mind from the body when it comes to pain. That pain can occur as a response to stress and anxiety as well as illness.
Michele Rozansky, physical therapist and owner of Orlanu Therapies in Mequon, can attest to that fact. She has been treating people with long-term pain challenges caused by fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions, for many years. Rozansky says she has never found patients suffering from those ailments who were relaxed--mentally or physically.
“Many of them have scenarios where their physical body tension levels are way off the charts, 24/7,” she says. “Some even need medicine to sleep at night so they can function the next day. I first address why they’re in pain and then, with a variety of techniques, I begin to introduce a breathing pattern for their body to practice self-calming. Their ‘normal’ way of breathing is not usually adequate. Partial, shallow, erratic or mouth breathing are a few of the faulty types of respiration which can evolve to help deal with their pain (usually severe pain). But the more easy, complete and inherently rhythmic breathing that they do, the better relaxation can occur,” she says.
Rozansky teaches basic Buddha breathing. It’s called Buddha breathing, she explains, because the technique involves fully expanding the belly during this exercise. Buddha breathing refers to breathing with the purpose of calming the body and restoring balance; this is not a breathing pattern used for activity.
“Most people under lots of stress breathe into their necks and chests. They don’t breathe deeply into their lower rib cage and belly. So I tell my patients if they don’t fully utilize their lung capacity, not inhaling and exhaling enough air at one time as they should, too little oxygen is going to reach the rest of the body during a given time. This asks the body to run on very little fuel. The body will tire easily, and this is very fatiguing. Imagine what happens if one breathes like this while working, exercising, etc.”
Here are some of her suggestions for proper Buddha (restorative) breathing:
· Sit comfortably, and feel your feet against the floor, your buttocks against the chair, then exercise your abdominal muscles to gain control over them. Use them to push out your abdomen, then contract.
· Next, begin a very slow inhalation through your nose filling your middle and lower portions of your lungs completely which allows the belly to expand outward like a Buddha. Inhale every last drop that you can.
· When you can no longer continue to inhale, allow the body to exhale passively. There is no effort during this half of the breathing cycle. The inhaling is the effort, while the exhale is passive. Let the body decide how much it will exhale, and then begin again with an effortful inhale.
· Without stopping repeat the above movements.
· As you practice this for a few minutes, take this one step further: allow the body to decide how fast or how slow it wants to breathe, allowing it to find its inherent rhythm. The body may stop, speed up, etc….as it finds its way.
“Proper breathing can help calm your mind and balance your
emotions,” she says. “When you are relaxed your breathing is slow, calm and rhythmical.”
For more information, contact Michele Rozansky at Orlanu Therapies, 261-241-
7887. Orlanu specializes in physical occupational, and massage therapies.
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