Diaphragm Development:  Many Sources Of Mediocre To Bad Information. How To Know the Good Ones.

Diaphragm Development: Many Sources Of Mediocre To Bad Information. How To Know the Good Ones.



From an enlightened medical doctor. "Mr. A has had an injury to his diaphragm -- inability to function properly --adversely affecting his breathing. There is no established medical treatment for this condition and patient has been encouraged to seek any and all alternative treatment modalities."

Partly good advice but yikes on the many sources of mediocre to bad information that are out in the world these days.

Breath-by-breath measurement of the volume displaced by diaphragm motion.

Department of Pulmonary Physiology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia6009, Australia. Bhajan.Singh@health.wa.gov.au

To develop an accurate method to measure the volume displaced by diaphragm motion (DeltaVdi) breath by breath, we compared DeltaVdi measured by a previously evaluated biplanar radiographic method (Singh B, Eastwood PR, and Finucane KE. J Appl Physiol 91: 1913-1923, 2001) at several lung volumes during vital capacity inspirations in 10 healthy and nine hyperinflated subjects with 1) DeltaVdi measured from the same chest X-rays by two previously described uniplanar methods (Petroll WM, Knight H, and Rochester DF. J Appl Physiol 69: 2175-2182, 1990; Verschakelen JA, Deschepper K, and Demendts M. J Appl Physiol 72: 1536-1540, 1992) and a proposed method that considered actual cross-sectional shape of the rib cage and spinal volume (DeltaVdi(S)); and 2) DeltaVdi(S) measured by lateral fluoroscopy in the same 10 healthy subjects. Relative to biplanar DeltaVdi, DeltaVdi(S) values from lateral chest X-rays and fluoroscopy were not different, whereas DeltaVdi values of Petroll et al. and Verschakelen et al. were increased by (means +/- SD) 1.98 +/- 1.59 and 1.16 +/- 0.82 liters, respectively (both P < 0.001). During quiet breathing, DeltaVdi(S) by lateral fluoroscopy was 66 +/- 16% of tidal volume and similar to that between functional residual capacity and one-half inspiratory capacity by the biplanar radiographic method. We conclude that accurate breath-by-breath measurements of DeltaVdi can be made by using lateral fluoroscopy.   PMID: 12571137 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

If you think you have some kind of illness I caution you against self-diagnosis or self treatment. There are numerous health conditions sometimes associated with respiratory muscle weakness as outlined on page 1891 of The Thorax, by Charles Roussos. He missed sleep apnea. I suspect he missed a few more

The diaphragm is the central muscle of the human body, the principal muscle of your breathing. It almost completely separates the body in half from top to bottom. Ancient Greece called the diaphragm phrenos, "the unity of all possibilities of human expression".

The diaphragm shrinks and as it shrinks it will rise less and less up into the chest. Liken it to a bicycle pump. If you pull the handle out just a little you get very little air into the tire. The higher the diaphragm rise, the higher the pump handle can rise, and the more air it can push/pull into the tire/lungs. It shrinks irregularly as well. This happens with almost every lung issue.

I have had video fluoroscopes of MY diaphragm. It was fascinating. The MD radiologist was kind enough to let me x-ray my diaphragm but did not have a protocol for this which suggests to me a lack of clinical research into diaphragm function and development.

Your heart rests above and next to it and your liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach, and kidneys lie below. It is attached to your spine as it moves and massages all your abdominal organs.

Your diaphragm functions as the mediator of all the biological and emotional rhythms of your body, including the autonomic nervous system. The diaphragm interconnects your abdomen, lungs and spine. Because of these relationships, its movement is profoundly influenced by (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

The rhythmic movement of your diaphragm is changing constantly. It is shaped like a half dome arching into the cavity of your chest. As you inhale, it contracts down pressing on your organs and hopefully with a proper deep breath, (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

But the diaphragm shrinks. And when it does it loses some or most of its air drawing and exhaling ability. It is then that we can learn about how much of so called diaphragmatic breathing really ISN’T full breathing.

All optimal breathing is diaphragmatic + (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

If you think of the diaphragm as a face down half-dome shaped bowl like a fresh half plum that can weaken and shrivel up on the top and all around its sides like a prune. This means that the diaphragm is affected on ALL sides of it. It can weaken on any part of its bowl shaped surface. If it does, it will most likely remain so unless it is redeveloped.

With the recent "new age" popularity of daily conscious breathing exercises, many are being trained to either breathe into the belly, consistently watch their breath, create postures that are supposed to expand the breathing (many do), or forcefully inhale or exhale in an attempt to increase breathing rate or volume.

The belly breath can stabilize the nervous systems and emotions and is generally a good place to begin strengthening. But I have seen many exceptions to this as improperly trained belly breath can also become an habitual distraction and breathing restriction.

Watching the breath is good for many to focus and get calm but can develop into (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit) . Postures can expand or distribute the breath as well as cause the breathing restriction they hope to eliminate. The forcefulness/effort can be valuable, but is in many ways continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit. These blocks are tensions and postures in the body that restrict the natural flow of the breathing energy called life-force, chi, ki, qi, ha, prana, pneuma, elan vital, and many, many others. Breathing awareness, physical assessments, and (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit) are the primary markers for positive change of the breath.


Many techniques exist to modify, direct or observe the activity of the breath. Each has its purpose and limitations. Any one exercise you do with the breath will, after enough repetitions, restrict the (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit). When we forcibly take deeper belly breaths we also partially stimulate the sympathetic nervous system because we are efforting the activity. When practicing breath awareness, observation of the breath may cause it to (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

‘Breath awareness’ is more of a sitting or walking meditation and a pretty good one except I have had clients tell me that to follow their breath made them extremely anxious and others that just couldn’t do it due to stress and internal distractions.



The lungs lose their capacity to increase vital capacity primarily in five ways.

My order of priority. 1. continued in (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)


See the diaphragm and lungs above. The stomach is directly underneath the diaphragm. With food in your stomach, you can not breathe as easily. Food also lowers your blood oxygen.

See the lungs above and notice how they are mostly in the lower trunk. So it is a waste of time trying to get any breath in the chest area. There is MUCH more to learn.


2. The diaphragm muscle deteriorates ...(continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)




The smaller diaphragm won’t (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

3. The lungs collect debris inside (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)


4. Posture and coordination of the pelvis, (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

5. The soft organs can swell and inhibit diaphragm and (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)


The diaphragm needs to developed to be larger, stronger, (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

Like a bicycle pump, you cannot draw in air to the tube of the pump unless (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)


The diaphragm loses excursion height and does not (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit) The diaphragm needs to become larger. A larger car engine runs slower and smoother. Observe the fastest cats (Cheetahs) and dogs (Greyhounds) to get a good example of breathing and its relationship to chest size.



Poor posture compresses the entire system and inhibits full and free inhalation.

Note all the air areas in the picture above and areas that need to be open to allow for air passage. Upper respiratory factors including neck and throat allow for or distort free flow of air and sound quality.

Debris builds up in the lungs that can not be (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

Watch the logo animation and let it guide your breathing. See how the ribs expand as the diaphragm goes down pulling in air from the windpipe into the (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

A hole in the diaphragm (continued in the Optimal Breathing Mastery Kit)

Respiratory management of diaphragm paralysis. The diaphragm is the most important muscle of ventilation. Its contraction is key to the development of intrathoracic pressures. Diseases that affect diaphragmatic function result in decreased pressure-generating capacity by the respiratory muscles. If the involvement is severe or if there is underlying respiratory pathology, diaphragmatic paralysis can lead to overt ventilatory failure. Diaphragmatic involvement can occur unilaterally or bilaterally from systemic diseases or from diseases primarily affecting the diaphragm. Whatever the cause, unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis is usually well tolerated if there is no underlying lung or ribcage pathology. However, under conditions of increased loads, unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis can cause dyspnea and hypoxemia and require treatment. Bilateral diaphragmatic paralysis of any etiology is usually symptomatic and may result in ventilatory failure when severe, or when associated with underlying lung pathology. In some patients unilateral or bilateral paralysis can improve spontaneously but usually over prolonged periods of time. In patients with significant symptoms or development of ventilatory failure, symptoms and outcomes are improved by treatment with noninvasive ventilation or, in selected cases of unilateral paralysis, surgical plication of the diaphragm.

Keywords: diaphragmatic paralysis, ventilatory failure, underlying lung, unilateral diaphragmatic, paralysis, diaphragmatic, unilateral, usually, failure, ventilatory, pathology, diseases, underlying, diaphragm Authored by Celli BR. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, USA. bcelli@cchcs.org

If you have not already done so, take the Breathing Tests. Get the manual and recorded exercises and improve your breathing. Don't wait until you have no energy and need me to help you. To be really alive at one hundred and five, you need to learn to breathe better now.

Begin here to develop your breathing

Comment from member of the Optimal Breathing School core faculty.

Very few people even consider the possibility that they're doing harm by athletically over-taxing an uncoordinated diaphragm. see sports induced breathing problems.

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