PHYSIOTHERAPY
AND OUR RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Breathing is one of the most essential functions of the human body, being one of the first acts during childbirth. We use our respiratory system to take in oxygen from the environment and distribute it throughout the body withing our tissues and cells.
In this respiratory process, red blood cells carry oxygen absorbed from the lungs around the body, through the vasculature. When oxygenated blood reaches the narrow capillaries, the red blood cells release the oxygen. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide diffuses from the tissues into red blood cells and plasma. The deoxygenated blood carries the carbon dioxide back to the lungs for release.
“Taking a deep breath” implies certain muscular demand and elasticity from the lungs, as well as mobility of the rib cage. That is why our cardiorespiratory fitness will always be benefited from physical activities that require effort, where there is greater contraction of the heart, generating an increase in the oxygen levels in the blood.
When the respiratory system is affected by an infection or trauma, it decreases the amount of oxygen which will increase carbon dioxide in the blood. This oxidative process greatly influences inflammation processes (edema), decreases muscle strength, and thoracic mobility in just a couple of days.
If normal health is not restored, the increased carbon dioxide can cause more serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath or cyanosis (blue-colored skin). The latter are alarming signals, so we recommend being evaluated by a doctor or physiotherapist immediately.
Our breathing will be modified depending on the activity or emotion that we are experiencing. However, we have the ability to consciously control it in different ways, such as keeping the air inside for a specific time, controlling the number of inhalations and exhalations, even the amount of air we let into the lungs.

Within the field of Physiotherapy, we can find studies that report that physical activity and voluntary control of breathing helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which are generated by an emotional reaction led to physical symptoms by a response of the vagus nerve.

Tips for deep relaxation
4x4x8 technique
• Take a break
• Place one hand at your chest and the other on your abdomen
• Take a deep breath inhaling for 4 seconds. Hold that air 4 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds
Technique for the Brain Amygdala
(powerhouse of emotions)
• Inhale covering the right side of the nose, letting the air in only from the left side
• Exhale with the right side of the nose covering the left
Since breathing is involved in all the functions of our body, and being able to control it, will always benefit us physically and mentally, it is important that we maintain an optimal level of physical activity and a good breathing pattern that allows us to stay healthy.

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