Workers today are becoming more sedentary. We are thinking more and using our bodies less - we communicate all day with a computer screen, becoming so absorbed that our shoulders tense, our breathing changes, we hold our breath too much and, by the end of the day, we're exhausted. There has been extensive research linking dysfunctional breathing patterns to problems such as occupational overuse and RSI. The main risks are: asymmetry in body activity, eg use of mouse in one hand; use of upper shoulder muscles in typing and turning at the same time: breath holding or very shallow breathing during movements; lack of awareness of breath holding; lack of awareness of body bracing. It includes a number of crucial exercises specifically for high computer users, and more general exercises for all sedentary workers. Then there are exercises to energise you and to reduce anxiety before presentations, meetings and job interviews.
Dinah Bradley and Tania Clifton-Smith are physiotherapists who run BREATHING WORKS, the first breathing pattern disorders clinic in Australasia. Dinah is the author of HYPERVENTILATION SYNDROME. Tania is the author of BREATHE TO SUCCEED and they co-authored BREATHING WORKS FOR ASTHMA.