Is it that simple? Just breathe? Or is there more to breathing? Local specialist Dean O’Rourke, Breathing and Orofacial Therapist, discusses how breathing problems and disorders are very common in our community. Let’s learn as he delves deep in the signs and symptoms of breathing problems and why breathing therapy can be so beneficial.

Do you know or suspect you have a problem with Breathing day or night?

My name is Dean O’Rourke and I am Breathing and Orofacial Therapist specialising in the detection and correction of breathing disorders. These are very common in our community, but at the moment rarely detected or treated.

When a client is referred to me by Transitions Chiropractic or another health professional for an initial breathing assessment, I am looking for the same functional problems. I find that regardless of what symptoms a person is suffering, dysfunctional breathing is often present, ranging from mild through to severe. I have found that when the problem is corrected routinely people experience a significant reduction in symptoms long term and sometimes symptoms stop entirely.  Many clients are no longer reliant on medications they were taking on a daily basis for conditions like asthma, hay fever and recurrent respiratory infections to name a few.

How are breathing disorders detected?

New clients have their breathing pattern clinically observed and they have an advanced biofeedback analysis known as Capnometry conducted. This provides a clear read out of the breathing pattern and key breathing measurements.

What signs am I looking for?

Breathing disorders often have 3 key elements to be corrected:
  1. Constant or excessive mouth breathing.
  2. Constant upper chest movement including when at rest.
  3. A rapid respiratory rate (many people have a resting breathing rate in the teens which is too fast. The rate should be between 6 and 10 breaths per minute at rest.)

If a breathing dysfunction is present I explain what has been detected and then provide a clear explanation of how the therapy works. It is a simple step by step process. The key is habit change tailor made to your needs. It is not one size fits all.

Following the initial assessment most clients wisely choose to correct the problem by completing four easy to follow training sessions (45 mins once per week) normally with one or two follow up sessions including after therapy testing.  The process of change is very measurable.

In the training sessions clients are taken through a simple step by step system to permanently change their habitual breathing pattern day and night. All clients are provided with support to help them make the simple changes needed and are able to contact me anytime via email.

What are the common outcomes of Breathing Therapy?

In over 10 years of clinical practice I do not claim this therapy is a panacea, but I have seen it transform the health of people suffering from a broad range of health conditions. Examples include asthma, COPD, hay fever, enlarged tonsils, chronic cough, anxiety, snoring, sleep apnoea, restless sleep and breathlessness. It has also allowed many sufferers of Chronic Pain to achieve a higher quality of life with less reliance upon medication. Functional breathing can also play a key role in pre orthodontic care and to promote optimal orthodontic outcomes.

A key point to understand is that if a breathing disorder is present it will increase adrenal activity putting your body in to the fight or flight mode or into what is known as the sympathetic nervous system on a constant basis. This has an inflammatory affect on the body which is damaging to your health and should be corrected as soon as possible.

What about sleep disorders?

The sleep medicine industry places those who suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea into a category known as Sleep Disordered Breathing. Those diagnosed are often under the impression that they only have a breathing problem when asleep. Yet it has been my experience over many years now that people medically diagnosed with a sleep disorder actually have a breathing problem when awake as well. It just becomes more obvious once they fall asleep. The reality is breathing is automatic day and night and dysfunction is normally there day and night. I have routinely found that when the day time habit is changed the sleep breathing pattern improves also. Sometimes additional interventions are needed but often the expense and hassle of a CPAP machine can be avoided.

Why is Breathing Therapy not currently well known?

For decades the diet and exercise message has dominated the media.  People are aware that breathing is essential to their survival but few have any real awareness of how critical breathing is in their day to day health. It is not generally on the medical radar (it is not currently included in medical training) and the national school curriculums pay little attention to breathing function. Consequently, there is little community awareness of this critical health habit. I am currently the sole practitioner in the Hunter despite being in practice for over 10 years.  

What should anyone concerned about their breathing do to get help?

Anyone who knows or suspects that they have a breathing problem would be well advised to book in for an initial breathing assessment. For those at Transitions Chiropractic, James is always available to discuss the importance of breathing and can advise on whether or not an assessment would be a good course of action. Breathing Therapy compliments perfectly with Chiropractic to optimise your health.

I am also happy to answer any questions for those interested in finding out more. I can be contacted via email here and your email will be answered as soon as possible.