Changes in respiratory excursion and standard quality of life measures following physical training focused on proprioception and fluid fascial movement


Authors: Satya Sardonicus and Danielle Ayres
Page Range: 15-20
Published in: Brain, Body, Cognition, 9#1 (2019)
ISSN: 2643-5683

Table of Contents


Objective: Many individuals with chronic stress experience difficulty with deep breathing. Fascial adhesions around the ribcage reduce the depth of respiratory excursion. Deep breathing can help mediate the effects of stress and is required to optimize a multitude of physiological processes. Any mechanical restrictions reduce normal proprioceptive signaling to the brain, and instead send nociceptive signals which upregulate a sympathetic response. When restrictions are present for an extended period of time, this can contribute to sympatheticotonia, or a chronically elevated sympathetic response. Chronic stress plays a significant role in many health challenges, and the brain’s ability to handle stressors of all kinds may be compromised in the presence of persistent nociceptive signaling. Sympatheticotonia is associated with lower overall scores on standardized quality of life measures, including pain levels, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep quality, social participation, and other activities of daily living. The goal of this study was to measure cognitive, quality of life, and physiological changes following a movement training and self-therapy protocol designed to encourage fluid motion throughout primary fascial structures, including but not limited to direct work on the ribcage. Methods: Individuals underwent a series of movement and self-therapy training modules where they performed self-fascial release manual therapy and fluid movement exercises promoting proprioception. Respiratory excursion was measured by lower and upper ribcage circumference at full expiration and full inspiration. These measurements were taken before and after training. Participants also filled out the SF-12 questionnaire before and after training. Results: On average, participants demonstrated an 80% increase in depth of respiratory excursion, with some participants gaining as much as a 2.25-inch difference in ribcage circumference during full expiration versus full inspiration. Quality of life measures improved by an average of 80%. Conclusions: This study suggests that individuals displaying restriction in depth of respiratory excursion and challenges in quality of life measures may benefit from a movement-based exercise and self-therapy program focused on reducing fascial adhesions and activating additional proprioceptive signaling through fluid movement. Future studies should explore additional markers of sympatheticotonia and the impact of similar movement-based therapies on autonomic balance.

Keywords: fascia, respiration, stress, sympatheticotonia, movement

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