Susan Reider, Occupational Therapist, shares how she uses yoga teachings on breath (pranayama)  when working with patients with respiratory distress:

I’m an Occupational Therapist and I work in acute care at a local hospital. Most of the patients I see have respiratory problems (COPD, acute respiratory distress, pneumonia) and cardiac issues (CHF, open heart surgery). I also see patients who are post-op from orthopedic procedures (total joint replacements, spinal surgery) and have significant pain. I want to share with you how I’ve been able to use your teachings to help my patients.

When the body is in crisis, the fight or flight response engages. As a result, I see patients who “panic breathe” – shallow breathing using the accessory muscles in the neck and upper chest versus deep breathing using the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Many of these patients have been breathing this way for years, and the body has forgotten how to breathe in a natural way.

Since taking your classes, I’ve been incorporating yogic breathing techniques into my treatments. I have seen the effects directly.  The monitors show oxygen saturation increases and it has a positive effect on blood pressure. Patients also report less pain after using these techniques.

It is true – Breathing is life. These techniques have been an invaluable tool for my practice and so beneficial to my patients. Thank you for giving me this gift.