A Sleeping Baby Teaches Healing With Breathing

Majid Ali, M.D.

A Healthy Baby Sleeps With Limbic Breathing.

A Baby With Pneumonia Sleep With Cortical Breathing.

A sleeping baby breathes “limbically” through the abdomen — the lungs expand passively as the abdomen rolls out. By contrast, a baby with pneumonia “chest-breathes” — the chest wall heaves up with each breath while the abdominal wall retracts. Most adults develop the poor practice of breathing like a baby with pneumonia — they breathe “cortically” through their chest.

A Simple and Revealing Experiment

The difference between the abdominal breathing and “chest-breathing” can be readily and fully appreciated by doing the following simple experiment. Ask a companion to gently place her/his hands on the lower part of your rib cage in the back and try to sense the difference between two types of action: (1) you take a very deep breath by fully raising your shoulders and upper chest; and (2) you push your abdomen forward fully while keeping the shoulders still. Now ask your companion to tell you if she/he feels any difference between the two types of breaths. Your companion is likely to grin and say she/he indeed felt a clear difference. Your lower rib cage retracted and moved up in the first step, and it expanded and moved out and down during the second step. Next, you reverse the roles and ask your companion to take the same two breathing steps while your hands rest gently on her/his lower rib cage in the back, and you try to sense the difference between the two breathing steps.

You will recognize that there is a much greater degree of expansion of the lower lung fields with the limbic breath and only minimal expansion of that region with chest (“cortical”) breathing. You can see with your mind’s eye how the air rushes in to fill the lower and more voluminous lobes of the lungs with limbic abdominal breathing and does not do so with cortical chest breathing.

Links to Related  Videos

Links to Videos

  • Tycho Breathing for Heart Stress and Hyperventilation


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