Approximately six months ago, I listened to a couple of podcasts about the lymphatic system. Since I was searching for a solution to my problem with lymphedema, which is a disease where the bones swell up, I listened carefully. I was surprised, to say the least, when the solution was supposed to be to breathe better in the first place; low breaths through the nose, as well as certain exercises where you among other things moved your shoulders and performed heel-raising exercises. I admit that it did not do anything to improve my swollen bones, instead, it had an entirely unexpected side effect: The intense migraines I’ve suffered from one or two times a week for 27(!!!) years vanished almost entirely, immediately!
When my migraines were at their worst, or when I forgot to take my medication on time, I would just lie on the bathroom floor and scream from pain, tears would stream down my face, and I’d vomit so many times I vomited blood. Sometimes I’d take a massive dose of medicine: two aspirin, two codeine/paracetamol (morphine-derived) and finally the maximum dosage of triptans (anti-migraine medicine), and it still hurt.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better with the medicine, but it has, on average, involved two doses a week of the strongest anti-migraine medicine (the triptans). I’ve declined to block the nerves in my neck with Botox, and I haven’t wanted to use a migraine piercing, because I’ve always hoped that one day, I’d find the problem and be able to fix it permanently. However, I’d never dreamed that the problem might lie in my breathing!
Why has no one said anything!?!
Now, my migraines have dramatically improved, so naturally I’m ecstatic, but also very upset! All that pain, all my tears, all the times I’ve puked my guts up, all the medication, doctor visits, diets, and all the money I’ve spent on alternative medicine, had I seriously just been breathing wrong? Had this simple, inexpensive solution existed this whole time? So easily accessible, without my knowledge! Better late than never, but why had no one said anything?
I think, among other things, of the well-paid neurologist I saw to do a complete migraine evaluation. Imagine, if during the course of his extensive medical education he had learned the importance of proper respiration. Perhaps then I would have been directed to a class on correct breathing instead of getting prescriptions for strong medication that puts a strain on the body and cures nothing! Even people who work with alternative medicine should perhaps begin with making sure people breathe properly. Basic knowledge is very absent when it comes to our most basic need: Breathing.
“Your heart beats double or extra beats ALL the time!”
At the beginning of this year (2019) the book The Power of Your Breath fell into my life, and I realized precisely how poorly I’d been breathing, presumably my entire life. I was astonished at the consequences it could have on your health. Inside the book are clear, specific instructions for how one should breathe, so I was now able to improve my breathing further. Additionally, something as simple as an image of the diaphragm, and how it works, finally made me realize what “breathing with your stomach” actually means.
Now, my lymphedema improved a bit, but it was far from good. On the other hand, I got an unforeseen improvement in something else: my heart problems. My heart has been beating incredibly irregularly for many years now. After a comprehensive examination which occurred a few years ago, I sat across from my cardiologist, who looked me square in the eye and said with emphasis, “Your heart beats double or extra beats ALL the time!”
Beyond the irregularities regarding my heart beat, my heart experienced tremors at regular intervals. A blood sample also indicated heart failure and that the left valve was slightly enlarged. This was in combination with cysts on my pericardium and the aforementioned lymphedema, which also can be related to the heart.
My heart has calmed down considerably since I began breathing properly
Besides a lot of fibrillation problems in my family, I don’t have any risk factors. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, I’m not overweight, I have low blood pressure, and I eat healthily. However, there was a risk factor which neither I nor my cardiologist was aware of: poor breathing!
In the past, I would sometimes wonder as I went to bed, if I would wake up at all. My heart raced, completely off-beat. I would often wake up in the middle of the night due to those same severe tremors. After I focused on breathing correctly, my heart became so calm, that it almost felt like it wasn’t beating at all, and before I got used to it, I would instead wake up from the feeling of it having stopped completely.
It will be very interesting to see what my next heart examination reveals.
I still occasionally get minor migraines, but they go away pretty quickly on their own without medication. My heart also still occasionally beats double. However, since my breathing is still far from optimal, I hope that these symptoms will disappear as my breathing becomes even better.
I don’t want to go without my Sleep Tape a single night
I have recently begun taping my mouth at night. To be honest, I initially thought that sleeping with your mouth taped shut sounded completely bonkers, but now, I don’t want to go without my Sleep Tape a single night. Now, I wake up in the morning with the feeling of having balm in my body, it feels soft and comfortable instead of stiff. There is no doubt that I’d been breathing through my mouth as I slept.
Naturally, there’s no guarantee that everyone who has migraines or heart problems would experience the same improvements as I, but there are so many maladies that could be alleviated, or even cured, through improved breathing. It requires increased awareness, particularly amongst healthcare professionals. Perhaps the implementation of breathing retraining already in preschool, which are then continued throughout the entirety of one’s education?
Heart problems and intense migraines are hardly minor. It’s time for the healthcare system to wake up. It doesn’t cost anything to breathe correctly, but it can become very expensive to breathe incorrectly!
– Johanna, 46, Sollentuna, Sweden