Our Wellness Specialist Declan Clark imparts his wisdom on the power of breathing


Well…what has breathing ever done for my digestion? This may seem a fair question, as for the most part, we separate many of our body’s functions. It is perfectly normal for someone to see a digestive problem as just that, a digestive dysfunction. We suffer it a bit, maybe take something and when it doesn’t go away, we take it to the doctor, as a singular complaint. Our medical system is set up to treat ‘it’ (the complaint), rather than you (the plaintiff). Fair enough you say. Unless, ‘it’ is merely something caused by another problem.

If you had a patch of damp wallpaper in your room and it was becoming discoloured and unsightly. You might leave it a month or so and note it hadn’t spontaneously dried out and disappeared. In fact, it had gone a bit mouldy. You could try painting over it. Looks good for a couple of days, but the damp comes through again. This isn’t working. You get a decorator in and they say, “mmm it’s damp all right”. “I can strip it back to wall, re-paper and redecorate; it will look fine”.

We wouldn’t do that with a wall, so how do we so often do it with our bodies? We need to ask why and rather like the small child watching someone work when we get the answer, we need to keep asking why. Why the damp. Why the digestion problem. There is always a why. Keep digging for the answer.

This is a recurring issue but was starkly brought to my attention again recently by a breathing client, who cited what he regarded as two separate digestive problems. Lower esophageal tract (LET) and herniation. People have reflux and a variety of LET-related problems. Rarely do they relate these to their diaphragm function, even when their breathing is bad enough to come to me for training to breathe better. Fair enough, I say. They are not anatomy geeks like me. They just want the discomfort to be gone. Sadly, some of the quick fixes (ant-acids) will make the problem worse in the long term. A high price to pay for instant relief.

Without waffling at length – oh you’d be surprised how easy I find that – proper breathing, means good diaphragm function, relaxed, smooth muscle throughout the digestive tract, better oxygenation of smooth muscle and digestive cells for metabolic function. The aperture through which the LET travels with the main digestive nerve needs to be moving smoothly as a muscle, to help the digestive muscles above and below it function properly. Everything is connected to everything – like the song says.

Stop, look around, listen to your body. Listen to it. It will tell you most of what you need to know to fix it. Ask the questions, lots of questions. Specialists can be good, but they can also by their definition be limited to their specialism. I’m very fond of my accountant and my investments man, but she doesn’t do investments, and he doesn’t do accounts. I need them both, and I need them conferring. Google is useful, but it’ll probably convince you that your indigestion is cancer, especially late at night, when you are alone.

I mean really listen to your body and feel what is happening, note it down, what makes it better, what makes it worse. When you attend a Wellness London clinic, ask us. Wellness-London has a wide-range of specialists in their fields, who can confer with each other through Wellness and as a multi-disciplinary organization, we are there to steer you to the answers you need.

So, if you have ‘desk’ posture and your digestion is off-center, it may be just a case of sitting better, moving more and changing your breathing habits. That’s why Wellness London brings breathing, posture, movement, and mindfulness to you. Go ahead, ask us.

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