When a child resorts to emotional upper chest breathing, the oxygen demands made on the diaphragm is lowered in favor of the brain for a few seconds. Cerebral oxygen levels need to be maintained through properly developed PNS dominant breathing so that the brain has sufficient oxygen for learning and memories.
Diaphragmatic breathing also promotes better sleep, which is vital for brain growth and memory consolidation.
As the limbic system is affected in ASD, the breathing pattern changes significantly, and children with ASD become emotional roller coaster breathers.
It has now been proved that children with ASD have abnormal blood flow in this region of the brain. A vicious circle follows, where the limbic system induces sub-optimal breathing, resulting in inadequate oxygen levels to the brain, which in turn causes abnormal blood flow to the brain, resulting in an overactive fight, flight, freeze, fake it, stumble or mumble oriented limbic system. And the cycle just goes on. Upper thoracic breathing makes a child anxious and susceptible to emotional meltdowns, in conjunction with hyper acid weakened gut/immunity issues.
Optimal Breathing™ techniques help in relaxed, grounded breathing, which helps in decreasing metabolic demands and increases oxygen supply to all parts of the body, including the brain. The increased oxygen levels help in reducing stress and anxiety and allow children with ASD to learn better and for developmental mechanisms to improve.
Optimal Breathing is vital in maintaining physiological equilibrium, aka homeostasis. ASD and autism are better managed with early intervention as with age; children gain additional height and weight that further increases the metabolic load on developing systems. A weak diaphragm is unable to cope with the stress, and maybe a reason that ASD medical and health concerns appear to worsen with age. The diaphragm is also the body’s main muscle organ that helps to create flexibility, overall physical stability, and core strength necessary for the development of fine motor skills.
Optimal Breathing™ helps maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Oxygen plays a vital role in digestive processes, aiding absorption of digested food matter, evacuation of fecal matter through oxygen activated enzyme systems and the pumping action of the diaphragm. Oxygen also increases the bowels ability to restrict harmful waste products crossing the intestines gap junctions easily, and thus protects the body and promotes gut health. The oxygen also aids in enhancing gut flora and the entire microbiome.
Anyone that works with autism knows full well that establishing calming and relaxation are extremely important and most often difficult to sustain. We have created a few tools that aid in this like nothing else. Our 12 foot Chest Expansion Strap
and Optimal Breathing Pattern Stabilizer
work to expand, ease, balance and strengthen PNS breathing as well as hold it in place during activity and sleep. Some of our exercises can be integrated into games and as the breathing
patterns improve so then does the grounded mindbody integration.
When it comes to Autism, early intervention can change a life.
Research has made clear that high-quality early intervention and prevention can improve learning, communication, and social skills, as well as underlying brain development. Don’t wait till it is too late. Act now!