“All chronic pain, suffering, and diseases are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level."
Dr. Arthur C. Guyton, M.D., author "The Textbook on Medical Physiology” World’s Best-selling Physiology textbook
Trigger points are the central issue in most musculoskeletal pain syndromes. They are palpable lumps within tight muscles that are known to refer pain to other areas of the body in specific patterns. We think they are caused by muscular damage resulting from overuse or injury.
Chronic tightness can reduce blood flow and further exacerbate the situation. Spasms lead to tightness which leads to reduced blood flow, which leads to a buildup of waste, which leads to more spasms. This creates a feedback loop wherein the muscle fibers are locked up, unable to release due to the accumulation of metabolic waste as well as the lack of oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism. This vicious cycle can last for years if left untreated.
Massage and stretching can help release these locked muscles and ease pain, but massage and stretching become much more effective with the addition of reduced breathing. The root cause of the muscular pain is that not enough oxygen is transferring from our blood into our muscle tissues, and the reason for this is over-breathing which results in low carbon dioxide levels. It doesn’t matter how high your blood oxygen levels are if that oxygen isn’t getting out of your blood and into cells.
Oxygen helps clear muscle cells of metabolic waste, but oxygen is absorbed into the cells in the presence of carbon dioxide; if carbon dioxide levels are too low due to over-breathing, not enough oxygen will get into cells and the muscles will eventually become chronically tight and sore.
Higher carbon dioxide levels also dilate blood vessels, allowing more blood and thus more oxygen to flow into the muscles, and more metabolic waste to flow out of muscles. This double whammy of increased oxygen at the cellular level and increased blood flow is what is needed to permanently resolve chronic pain issues.
In order to permanently resolve chronic pain issues, we have to learn to breathe less twenty-four seven. By making sure we stick to nasal breathing all day and all night, whether we’re working, relaxing, exercising, or sleeping, we can significantly reduce the volume of our breathing as well as increase the oxygenation of our body’s cells.
The practice of consistent nasal breathing when combined with several five-to-ten-minute breathwork sessions sprinkled throughout the day, and a few brief cardio sessions per week, can lead to huge reduction and potentially elimination of muscular aches and pains.
Let me know how I can help you on your journey with breathing better and feeling better. Email with any questions or comments.