The diaphragm is the most important muscle in our body. We can’t live without it or mechanical means are necessary to keep you alive. And the diaphragm can perform the important respiratory, or breathing, function with our volitional, or conscious, control and non-volitional, unconscious function (especially during sleep). How your diaphragm functions in the day determines it’s efficiency when you are sleeping.
The diaphragm is so vital to your health and well-being. Here are some facts to contemplate what it does for you:
- is the hardest and most enduring muscle in the human body.
- it acts whether you are paying attention to your breathing or not. In my personal and clinical experience when attention is elsewhere, the breathing habits take over unless they’ve been practiced and cultivated. This article explains the qualities of a healthy breath to support your physical and mental health.
- contracting and relaxing at least 21,500 times per day (calculated at 15 breaths per minute – bpm’s, not rpm….haaahaaa, so if you breath more, then its more, and more, and more. If you exercise or are under stress, it’s probably 20-30 breaths per minute…yes can be doubled!
- 5.5 million breaths per year – at least
- living to be 85…..then you have taken almost half a trillion breaths to support your long life.
- during it’s action it makes breathing easier from the ease of how the outside air can enter all of your lungs. And during the relaxation phase, returning to it’s resting length, it assists in moving air out of the lungs via pressure dynamics. This article explains breathing from a pressure dynamic, and the symphony of actions that occur, to help you to understand the harder you work at breathing the more exhausted you will be.
- it helps support your posture, and is also affected by your posture. It also aides in stabilizing the spine and transferring forces to/from the limbs during all upright activity.
- it pumps all the major fluids – lymph and venous blood – back to the heart against gravity and when we are sleeping.
- it generates a motion and pressure, intra-abdominal pressure, that massages the abdominal organs, and contributes greatly to the fluid exchange for the brain, pelvis and legs. It also mobilizes the spine while you sleep.
- it contributes to force translation of lower limbs to upper limbs for power efficiency in movement.
- and more (this article lays out all the functions that I have learned over the 30 years of study, personal practice and clinical experiences.
Article by Shawn M Flot, MPT – Masters in Physical Therapy (1994). He is an experienced Certified Oxygen Advantage® Instructor, and Functional Movement Systems specialist. Combined with his 35 years of experience in Exercise Physiology, Physical Therapist for health and performance, and a dedicated Hatha Yoga practitioner, is making for a power-house to help many people succeed in re-discovering their own health and healing, being fit and living well for their adventures.