Functional Rehabilitation

Breathing exercises are one of the methods that can be used to lose weight and help recruit muscle groups used in efficient exhalation. Combining this with electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) will further muscle recruitment in your abdominal region including dormant muscles. The EMS through neuromodulation of the abdominal muscles during exhalation only leads to:

  • Greater contractile strength of the abdominal muscles leading to more toning and aiding in belly fat loss
  • More efficient exhalation
  • Expel more C02 from the lungs
  • More efficient ventilation and gas exchange
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Improve nutrient delivery to your body
  • Have more efficient (cellular) metabolism
  • Allow yourself to inhale more and increase supply of oxygen
  • Achieve higher fat burning aided by the extra supply of oxygen

Additionally pursed lip breathing is used in conjunction with the effective weight loss and core building breathing exercise known as Long Breath Diet from Japan.

Contraindications

Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes and use insulin or other blood glucose-lowering medication, the pursed lip breathing exercise can increase your sensitivity to medication. This can make your blood glucose level lower than usual. You may suffer then from hypoglycemic shock, which is much more dangerous than high blood sugar. You should have a small snack immediately after the breathing session.

Depression

Breathing with longer exhalations triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-digest response. If you suffer from depression, this can further aggravate it as you tend to predominantly activate your parasympathetic; Putting the body in a state of relaxation but increasing a lack of motivation.

Severe Personality Disorders

Personality disorders, psychopathic disorders, severe forms of depression, mania, obsessive-compulsive disorder and delirium. In these disorders the patient is more likely to interpret a breathing exercise in the context of his/her personality disorder in which the therapist no longer has sufficient control over the therapy’s effect.

Psychoactive Substances

Opioids, benzodiazepines and caffeine may decrease the effectiveness of therapy.

Heart Conditions

If you have any heart conditions or have an implanted pacemaker you are especially susceptible to abnormal heart rhythms from the EMS.

Skin Conditions

Electrode pads should not be applied on areas of irritated or broken skin as the current flows through the breaks in the skin and causes discomfort.

Pregnancy

Use of electrical stimulation should be avoided over certain areas during pregnancy, including the abdomen primarily the risk of unwanted uterine contractions. The effects of electrical current on a developing fetus are uncertain.

Side Effects

  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Skin Irritation

Practicing pursed lip breathing expels air that was previously trapped in the lungs. This air is saturated with water and CO2 resulting in dehydration. Thus the patient is required to drink some water after the exercise.

In elderly patients a short-term dizziness is possible therefore after exercise the patient should rest for a while.

In regards to the use of electrical muscle stimulation, skin irritation can occur due to a reaction to the current or the electrode adhesive. Cleaning and drying the abdominal area before use helps lower the likelihood of that occurring considerably.

Guidelines

The exercise should be carried out at least twice daily in a set of 6. Breathing in through the nose (e.g. 3 seconds) and then breathing out through the tightened lips for longer (e.g. 7 seconds). Actively try and increase the amount you exhale during the day. Exercise can be carried out standing up straight. When using the Electrical Muscle Stimulator, it should be used on patients at 5-10 minute intervals at an appropriate voltage that does not cause discomfort.

Warnings

  • Ensure you have sufficient drinking water
  • Store the headset in a clean and dry environment
  • Before and after use, clean headset with dry tissue
  • Before using the EMS/TENS, ensure all the knobs on the device are turned off to prevent electric shock
  • Ensure the the electrode patches are at least 1 inch apart and firmly on the skin
  • Replace adhesive pads if they no longer attach to the skin properly
  • Wipe down EMS before use to make sure that it is both clean and without any traces of water

Did you know? With exhalation you activate parasympathetic nervous system that restores the state of “rest and digest” in the body. Inhalation does the opposite; speeds up the pulse of the heart and establishes the state of “fight or flight” in the body.

References

 

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Campbell, E. J. M. & Green, J. H. The expiratory function of the abdominal muscles in man. An electromyographic study. The Journal of Physiology 120, 409–418 (1953).
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Gibson, G. J. Obesity, respiratory function and breathlessness. Thorax 55, S41–S44 (2000).
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Kyroussis, D. et al. Abdominal muscle fatigue after maximal ventilation in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 81, 1477–1483 (1996).
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Kopelman, P. G. Obesity as a medical problem. Nature 404, 635–643 (2000).
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Obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS): MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Available at: medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000085.htm. (Accessed: 31st October 2017)
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Crummy, F., Piper, A. J. & Naughton, M. T. Obesity and the lung: 2 · Obesity and sleep-disordered breathing. Thorax 63, 738–746 (2008).
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Belly Fat & Breathing Problems – Obesity – HealthCommunities.com. Available at: www.healthcommunities.com/obesity/large-waist-size-trouble-breathing_jhmwp.shtml. (Accessed: 31st October 2017)
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Borreli, L. Long Breath Diet: Miki Ryosuke, Former Japanese Actor, ‘Breathes Away’ 28 Pounds And 5 Inches [VIDEO]. (2013). Available at: www.medicaldaily.com/long-breath-diet-miki-ryosuke-former-japanese-actor-breathes-away-28-pounds-and-5-inches-video. (Accessed: 16th October 2017)

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