By Dan Hellman
The right exercises can improve breathing and circulation and reverse many of the effects of poor circulation. This week, some two dozen physical therapists, athletic trainers and other professionals will gather in Fort Lauderdale to learn the Soma Training techniques that improve circulation and respiration.
Health professionals have been prescribing exercises for circulation and breathing for many years. They range from simple advice, like being told to get up and move around during a long flight, to some specific exercises for breathing. Most advice for maintaining good circulation or avoiding varicose veins is general: get exercise, keep moving, don’t be sedentary for long periods, and elevate your feet. There are specific recommendations, too, like walking, cycling, leg lifts and lunges.
Traditional breathing exercises tend to require a more conscious application of movement than exercises for circulation, but they still seem to promote general health and breathing rather than train specific parts of the respiratory system to function more efficiently. They include strength training for specific muscle groups, aerobic exercises, controlled breathing exercises, and relaxation breathing involved in activities like Tai Chi and yoga.
Precise and Targeted Exercises
This is where Soma Training differs. Soma Training methodologies to improve circulation consist of precise exercises targeted at specific veins to stimulate the circulation of blood. Proper venous return is critical to good health. If venous return doesn’t roughly equal cardiac output over time—in other words, if the amount of blood flowing into the heart isn’t equivalent to the amount of blood the heart is pumping out—the body suffers. It shows in varices, varicosities, heavy legs, edema and other maladies.
The exercises for circulation under Soma Training can target specific veins, even deep interior veins, of the legs, hips, arms and extremities, and most of these exercises can be done with a trainer or alone, once they are learned. A trainer will teach a patient how to isolate the part of the body where the targeted vein is located, usually through specific movements that keep some body parts immobile while others move or are stretched.
Breathing exercises require similar discipline of movement and must be performed with a trained therapist or other professional, who must monitor and assess breathing. The advantage these exercises have over traditional breathing exercises is that they can target individual pulmonary segments—one lung or one part of a lung. These movements depend on specific positioning of the body to concentrate breathing mechanics for each targeted segment. These techniques are qualitative in nature, meaning that they foster a very precise recruitment of each pulmonary segment by increasing airway pressure in order to improve oxygenation as well as the amount of air each segment takes in.
Improved Intake and Oxygenation
Greater intake and better oxygenation can make a huge difference for people with asthma, COPD or smoking-related respiratory insufficiencies. They also can be a boon for athletes who want to improve performance and gain greater endurance. If you breathe more efficiently, you will be more competitive, and you will be able to go harder for a longer time.
The important thing to remember is that poor respiration or varicose veins don’t have to be permanent conditions. A person can do more than maintain the status quo and prevent a further decline. With the proper targeted exercises, we can improve the quality of respiration and reduce the effects of poor venous return.