Dawn’s Corner – “Just Breathe”

Hello friends, hope you all got at least one massage since last month! If not, call for an appointment, ya know you want it!

“Breathe, breathe in the air

Don’t be afraid to care…”

                                Pink Floyd

This month self care reminder is simple but profound: 

“just breathe.” 

Whether it was the musical genius of Pink Floyd, who suggested way back in the early 70’s to Breathe in the air…or Faith Hill reminding us to Breathe, back in the late 90’s and, even more recently, Anna Nalick also encouraging us to Just Breathe…all these talented musicians are pointing to one simple fact of life….

We have to breathe. 

The Yogis, even 5,000 years ago knew this vital fact. They often refer to yogic breathing or ‘pranayama.’

In Asian culture the symbol they use for energy or vital life force, Qi,  is the same symbol also used to represent breath.

So if the breath is so essential and vital to our life then why do so many in our fast paced culture seem to be unconsciously attempting to ween themselves off of breath?

We’ve become shallow breathers, barely sipping in enough fresh oxygen to sustain ourselves. According to Shaka Kaur Khalsa, author and yoga teacher, “shallow breathing is where only the tops of the lungs are filled with oxygen. Over time, our ineffective ways of breathing lead to fatigue, stress, and worse. In proper breathing, the diaphragm is fully engaged and we take in full breath.”

Is it possible that we tend to shallow Breathe almost in resistance to stress and anxiety?

An unconscious default habit almost initiated as a way to protect us from…well, each other??? Are we actually afraid to care, as Roger Waters suggests?

As a massage therapist, by nature, we do care. As human, by nature, we may be resisting some of the toxic energies that come at us from our clients. And at times, we may actually find ourselves barely breathing while giving a massage. 

Thank goodness it’s part of our parasympathetic nervous system or we’d see folks passing out all over the place from lack of oxygen.

One of the fastest ways to revitalize yourself during a massage is to take 3 deep breaths. 

Even better yet, borrowing from the practice of Tai Chi, engage in what I often refer to as Tai Chi breath. This is best when practiced during the application of effleurage strokes. 

Breathe out, when applying pressure, as you are moving forward on the body part, and  take your inhale during the nerve stroke back.

You will feel more energy immediately with just a few of these Tai Chi breaths. And as an added bonus, your client will perceive your massage applications as feeling more fluid and flowing.

There are so many breathing techniques that could be mentioned and explored to help care for yourself outside the treatment room, like Rapid Belly Breaths and Breath of Fire, to help energize. Alternate Nostril Breath, to help balance the brain or Ujjayi (pronounced oo JAH yi) to help calm and sooth. 

Remember that it really doesn’t matter what the breathing technique is called, just that you remember to utilize them when needed. 

Let me share a couple more simple yet effective ones that can be done anywhere, during or after a massage to help you revitalize.

Try this: simply exhale a few more seconds then your inhale. So if you inhale, usually through your nose to a count of 4, then exhale to a count of 5 or 6. Use this breathing exercise whenever you need to clear some accumulated toxic energies.

If you need to feel more strength and grounding this Qigong breathing technique will be helpful: breathing in through your nose while you gently touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. This creates a powerful energy circuit within your meridian system. Then for the exhale, purse the lips like a kiss as you breath out through the mouth. A few cycles of this can be very powerful. 

If you already are using your breath effectively, awesome! 

If you could cultivate some better breathing habits, then try a few of these and I’d love to hear from you about the difference it’s made in your immediate and overall energy levels. 

So no matter what the situation or circumstances, remember to BREATHE!

Dawn Volpe NTS, LMT


Dawn practices bodywork in Bonita Springs at Hummingbird Energy Healing Arts on the historical Shangri-La property. 

Please send questions and comments to dawnvolpe@comcast.net

Contact Dawn: www.HarmonyTherpeutics.net

Or 239-273-2270