Robert Newhelfen, DC, founder of Motus Integrative Health, describes his clinic as “a full integrative health clinic bringing new and unique treatment options to the people of Northwest Indiana.” In keeping with this vision, his clinic hosted Postural Respiration, a unique and integrative approach to addressing postural influences of rib torsion, inconsistent breathing patterns, habitual use of accessory respiratory musculature, and a positionally-restricted diaphragm. As in most PRI courses, we had an interdisciplinary group of course attendees, comprised of PTs, chiropractors, ATCs, and strength and conditioning experts in professional baseball and soccer. Also in attendance was Ruth Hennessey, MM, a vocal specialist well-known in the world of singing. Thank you, Ruth, for your insights into how singers develop faulty breathing strategies and retain undesirable tension that can affect their voice.
From the get-go, we discussed human asymmetry, most notably of the right and left hemi-diaphragms, leading to predictable patterns of muscle activity and movement. Our inherent asymmetry gives us a starting point from which we shift our bodies and rotate. It is what an infant relies on to make its way from the womb to the external world. This applies to every developmental milestone, from crawling to running. However, when patterned muscle activity "goes rogue", from too much sitting or engaging in the same, repetitive activities, day in and day out, the results are patterned restrictions, injury, and fatigue.
Course attendees served as one another’s case studies as they compiled PRI objective data to assess for both lower and upper body neuromuscular dys-synchrony and to guide treatment. Thank you to Rebecca Custer, DPT, and Wynne Conklin, CPT, our templates for the entire class for right BC over-activity and its pathological sibling, superior T4 syndrome. We discussed how this syndrome limits first rib mobility. The first rib is the driver behind the mechanics of the entire thorax and, therefore, must remain mobile! This course was updated a year ago. It includes a new test for the brachial chain as well as where, when, and what inhibition techniques fit into the treatment scheme. If you haven’t taken Postural Respiration in a while, it’s time for a refresher!
Thank you everyone for your thoughtful questions. Nate Kloosterman, DPT, OCS, gets the prize for most questions asked, keeping this instructor on her toes. A special thank you goes to Adrian Gutierrez, DC, for handling the set-up, food, sign-in, etc. You were a gracious host and helped make this weekend an enjoyable experience.