Nestled among the hemlocks and Douglas firs, with Olympic National Park beckoning in the distance, IRG Physical and Hand Therapy in picturesque Mill Creek, WA, opened their doors to host Postural Respiration.
The clinicians in attendance were energetic, collaborative, and engaging, hailing from the worlds of physical therapy, massage, athletic training, and chiropractic. One attendee, Samarpan Buchalter, DC, plans to return to, of all places, the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and the indigenous Yanomami Tribe to introduce the Postural Respiration concepts and techniques. PRI keeps expanding its reach!
The theme of the weekend was that of the twisted diaphragm, created by its left and right-sided differences in girth and abdominal support. Coupled with a preference for right stance, this twist creates on-going and un-relenting asymmetrical air flow patterns and a tendency toward hyperinflation. Individuals don’t recognize they’re in this state and don’t know how to resolve it. Through non-manual and manual techniques, we learned to help our patient-client by first guiding them to sense and maintain left abdominal functional concentric and eccentric activity, or a left zone of apposition (ZOA). Lung and rib cage regions that, in the pattern, are restricted, can now expand with a left diaphragm that is more respiratory, and less postural, in its role. We learned the importance of “reach”, a huge PRI concept, since it promotes diaphragm ZOA, normal thoracic kyphosis, rib cage internal and external rotation, and spinal rotation. Furthermore, reaching inhibits overactivity of the over-worked and over-trained pecs, lats, and paraspinals. The net result is alternating, reciprocal airflow for efficient breathing and effortless forward locomotion.
Thank you to models Samarpan, Christa Byler, LMT, Jonette Ford, PT, Christopher Gant, PT, and Joshua Schwartz, PT, who graciously allowed me to demonstrate objective tests and techniques. With their help, we were able to identify various patterns of overactivity and learn of their injury histories that supported the findings. Erin Rajca, PT, PRC, was instrumental in providing clinical pearls from her many years of experience, offering one-on-one expertise in lab, and acting as my human GPS Sunday morning when my Waze app was stymied by the clouds! Finally, a huge thank you to Jennifer Wright, PTA, ATC, our host site coordinator, for all the work you put into making the weekend run smoothly. Your generosity and effort were much-appreciated!