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  • Writer's pictureHolly Shoebridge

Functional breathing for peri, menopause & post.

Whether it's pre, peri, during or post menopause, our sex hormones, and any fluctuations that will naturally occur throughout the various cycles we move through, are interconnected with our function of breathing & breathing bio chemistry.

Simple, gentle and practical breathing exercises engaged consistently and regularly can have incredible effects on PMS & menstrual cycle, and symptoms related to menopause, peri and post.

So many women, for a variety of reasons, navigate challenging mental & physical symptoms during the fluctuating (and miraculous) cycles and seasons of being a woman.

A study was conducted back in 2012 which explored the potential of parasympathetic activation via slow, deep & diaphragmatic breathing to help reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes. The study found that all women who practiced conscious and functional breathing saw improvement. However, the women who practiced paced breathing twice per day for 15 minutes at a time saw the biggest improvements.

What is paced breathing?

"Nose, slow and low" breathing. This means nasal breathing, at approximately 6 breaths per minute & breathing into the diaphragm. An important note: some people may need assistance to activate the diaphragm depending on stress & trauma history.

A brief and simple example of what paced breathing might look like:

  • Inhale for 5, exhale for 5

  • Inhale for 4, exhale for 6 (recommended)

Furthermore, post menopausal women can be at higher risk of sleep disturbances, sleep apnea and osteoporosis. Another tool that can help, is by using mouth tape to ensure nasal breathing during sleep. This can be a beautifully effective way to help alleviate and/or reduce symptoms such as night sweats, sleep apnea & the associated insomnia. It's also an effective way to support breathing biochemistry which is essential for healthy bone mineral density.

Another reason for women to consider adopting regular functional breathing techniques is because, our lung function is said to be at its best during our mid twenties, from then on lung function decreases incrementally over time. Menopause is seen to accelerate lung decline. Simple functional breathing techniques can help to improve the gas exchange in our lungs, and to strengthen their function overall.

Conscious and functional breathing techniques can help. One more tool in the holistic armoury to help you through.

Functional breathing can help with:

🔸Reducing pain

🔸Reducing hot flushes

🔸Alleviate symptoms of PMS (for women in an earlier season)

🔸Better regulate moods & emotions

🔸Support bone mineral density

🔸Improve autonomic balance

🔸Improve sleep & reduce sleep disturbances

🔸Can assist in reducing night sweats which can have a higher prevalence among those who experience sleep apnea

Holly is an advanced Oxygen Advantage functional breathing instructor and teaches the Buteyko breathing method.

If you’d like to learn more or have a chat, connect via the contact page or email. If further reading is of interest, have a look at books by Patrick McKeown who is an expert in all things functional breathing.

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