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Home > Mallorca Lifestyle > Breath of Fresh Air

Breath of Fresh Air

I have recently been to Joe’s relocated swanky new clinic space in Port Calanova…  with parking onsite and being located in Sant Agustine, it is really handy for anyone living or working in the Palma Area.

I have been seeing Joe on and off for a few years – in a professional capacity.  When you require a serious going over, he’s the man to turn to.  Good osteopaths don’t want to regularly see the same patients at their clinic.  Joe is definitely of that mindset.  He wants to power through things, explore every possible angle and fix everything in an hour….   Consequently, the pain levels are acute, but the results are impressive!  I feel a visit to “Joe the Back” is akin to being pinned down by Hulk Hogan, but lasts just that little bit longer.  I was interested to compare a visit to Care 4 Health with a bout of WWF wrestling.  On researching the rules of WWF and stumbled upon the basics of “How to defeat your opponent”.  And noticed some striking similarities. (see below)

WWF – The Victor is established 

  1. Pinning the opponent’s shoulders to the mat (3 secs)
  2. Forcing the opponent to submit
  3. Disqualification of the opponent
  4. The opponent remaining outside the ring for too long
  5. Knocking out or otherwise incapacitating the opponent

WWF & Joe Comparison 

Point 1 sounds similar to being on your back, pinned to Joe’s treatment bed

Point 2 is very much like being forced to ask Joe to stop

Point 3 I have yet to experience being asked to leave

Point 4 is the fear of even making the appointment

Point 5 the feeling of being incapacitated happened regularly during the session.

Joe know his stuff and I wouldn’t keep going back if it wasn’t worth it!  But the pain Joe puts me through is off the scale.  Most of the time during the hour on the bed, I adopt the “I am in excruciating pain” position… the back of my right hand on my brow, cheeks raised & aggressively squinted eyes with my feet in the right angled ridged position (not a relaxed mediative one).

At some point during the treatment, whilst I am lying on my back, recovering from some leg torture,  Joe’s attention will move towards my upper body.  His weapons take aim and home in on my chest…. more specifically my diaphragm.  I brace myself for the ensuing pain….  I can just about make out his slow calm words….“Breath, Breath”… I respond with “I am trying…”

While I am momentarily disabled, with the roar for the Rock (WWF Wrestling) he delivers his hammer blow.  He neatly follows his diaphragm move with a blast on my psoas (the cyclist’s nemesis).

Joe has worked with me on my breathing techniques and constantly reiterates the importance of breathing correctly… He has kindly written the following piece below to explain the importance of breathing and what we should all do…..

HOW YOUR BODY REALLY WORKS

 (AND THE WORLD, TOO).

It is a fact that a lot of people breathe incorrectly. That might sound crazy, breathing is breathing, right? Wrong. How you breathe affects your body in the most fundamental way. Importantly what can be even more harmful to you is breathing wrongly during sporting activity. Years ago, we osteopaths struggled to treat some injuries common in cycling, such as very tight quads, unusual knee pain that moves around, tight hips, piriformis syndrome and of course lower back pain. We would utilise all of our skills and knowledge to keep pro and semi-pro cyclists on their bikes and out of pain, but ultimately, we weren’t completely successful. What we didn’t know back then was just how important it was to keep the nervous system in balance. In fact we can now acknowledge that our bodies have not been fully understood.

What we have learnt is that to increase performance and reduce the risk of injury you must start with the breath. Breathing efficiently allows more oxygen to enter the body which in turn benefits the nervous system. Ask yourself, where are you breathing from? The chest or the belly?

Focusing on breathing using your diaphragm should be your cornerstone. If you are breathing from the chest and not allowing the breath to travel further then you are stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. We want the parasympathetic nervous system to be engaged and in order to do that we must learn to breathe from the diaphragm. This then improves the function of the psoas which leads to an improved performance capacity throughout the whole body.

To put it bluntly, if you or your physical therapist are working on your muscular or fascial systems without first addressing your breath and the functioning of your nervous system, it is as if you are changing a lightbulb without first checking if the power is on.

When I work with a new client, I always establish their imbalances. I then explain what is going on and then work to put them back into balance.

After a session I encourage them to engage in their sport that same day or early the next morning and they receive a homework assignment – 30 deep breaths before going to sleep each night. My mantra is “In through the nose, out through the mouth, nothing in the chest and all in the tummy”. You should be aiming to breathe in sets of 5 until you reach 30.

The other exercise I encourage them to do is to “activate themselves” in Zone 1. The client will normally notice instant changes in their body following this simple exercise which often leads to improved results. Zone 1 is the most important zone, your breathing muscle (diaphragm) and your moving muscle (psoas) in front and in the back of the glutei. In order to activate these areas we simply rub them with our fingers. It is very important when rubbing the diaphragm to ensure that you are ON the ribcage and not under it. You will need to rub for 30-60 seconds per muscle, and where you find any sore spots, you must stay longer. But you should not take no more than 6-10 mins. This is best done during your warm up for your particular sport.  If you are sceptical then why not go for a ride without doing the activation protocol and then 2 days later do it again but this time being activated!

Good luck and remember to BREATHE

Dan Marsh – Owner & Founder

www.marsh-mellows.com