Diaphragm piston

My diaphragm muscle is the locomotive of my breathing. It’s a relatively slow-moving muscle, but together with my heart, it drives life forward; the diaphragm leads, and the heart follows.

The diaphragm connects to my lowest ribs and supports my lungs from the bottom. It creates a definite division of my body into two parts. One part is over my diaphragm, and the other is under it.  Above the diaphragm, I have my heart and lungs, which are vital organs. Under my diaphragm, I have vital organs such as my: liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, digesting organs, and others. My diaphragm is attached to my spine and is affected by my spine’s flexibility and mobility. In addition, a busy channel passes through my diaphragm, including a network of nerves, a food pipe, and blood pipes.

The active part of my breathing occurs as I inhale, and air draws into my lungs. My navel moves away from my spine as my stomach inflates and assumes the shape of a watermelon. Parallel to that, my diaphragm muscle descends, eventually forming the shape of a pizza.

The passive part of my breathing occurs as I exhale, forcing the air out of my lungs. My navel moves towards my spine as my stomach draws inwards. Parallel to that, my diaphragm muscle recoils, ascends and eventually assumes the shape of a para shoot or a dome.

Down to the bottom

When I engage my diaphragm effectively, the air gets to the bottom of my lungs, which allows me to:

  • Spread the effort of Oxygen absorption over a more significant number of exchange
  • Keep my lower bubbles active.
  • Maintain lung elasticity.
  • Exercise my diaphragm muscle.

Failing to use my diaphragm when breathing may lead to losing bubble-exchange functionality at the bottom of my lungs. In addition, when the lungs are not pulled and pushed, they may become stiffer. Losing elasticity may lead to decreased lungs-performance.

When my diaphragm is active, moving up and down, it has physical contact with a few of my vital organs. The up-and-down movement gently presses on these, massaging them every time I inhale and exhale. Swollen organs may restrict the diaphragm from moving freely and cause movement distortion.

It’s essential to have enough space in the stomach for the diaphragm to move freely. When inhaling and keeping an upright posture, the diaphragm moves down, pushing the organs into the lower part of the body. That allows the lungs to expand and the air to fall because of gravity. When exhaling, the diaphragm moves up and presses on the lungs from the bottom, assisting in emptying them. A straight spine allows deeper descending and higher ascending of the diaphragm.

Engaging the diaphragm in breathing makes it easier for my heart to pump blood, thus reducing blood pressure. When the diaphragm moves up and down at a wide amplitude, my ‘breathing app’ gets an acknowledgment from my diaphragm that I’m not in a threatening situation. Furthermore, proper diaphragm movement relaxes the digestive system and improves assimilation and elimination.

Some waste products in my body have no active pumping system for expelling and cleaning. When the diaphragm moves up and down, it helps clear lymph waste, facilitating detoxification. When something goes wrong, and my body needs to expel by vomiting, my diaphragm muscle helps by pressing on the stomach cavity from within.

As a species, we haven’t fully completed our evolutionary erection from four to two legs. As a result, my body struggles to balance on two long ‘sticks’ (my legs). My diaphragm takes part in my body’s efforts to keep balance.

My eyes are at the front of my head, so intuitively, when I visualize breathing with my diaphragm, it’s my stomach going back and forth. Ideally, when I engage my diaphragm muscle during breathing, it should expand and contract all around; at 360⁰. Perceiving it as an all-around muscle may contribute to more efficient diaphragm muscle activation.