TAKE A BREATH: Gwendolyn King-Siem has started breathing workshops for adults and will soon start a class for children.
TAKE A BREATH: Gwendolyn King-Siem has started breathing workshops for adults and will soon start a class for children. Crystal Jones

The woman teaching people how to breathe

BUNDABERG naturopath Gwendolyn King-Siem has started workshops teaching people how to breathe.

According to Mrs King-Siem, it's something that we're getting wrong and its leading to numerous health problems.

"It is the fundamental thing, we're all concerned about air quality but does anyone say 'how much should we be breathing?'," she said.

Mrs King-Siem first took up breathing lessons for herself and after finding it helpful, trained with Patrick McKeowan, a renowned expert on the Buteyko breathing technique pioneered by Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Buteyko.

The technique aims for increasing the oxygen levels in the body, relying on neuroplasticity in the brain to continue the benefits.

"Butyeko has had about 22 direct trials done now," Mrs King-Siem said.

One such study, carried out by Brisbane's Mater Hospital in the 1990s, showed benefit for asthma patients whose need for reliever medication reduced by 90 per cent.

"It basically resets your breathing centres," Mrs King-Siem said.

She said healthy breathing was especially important for children, who often breathed through their mouths.

"If you stop a child from mouth breathing you stop them having a lot of problems," Mrs King-Siem said.

She said the technique has been used by athletes and while it wasn't a cure-all, it could "peel away the layers" of stress and anxiety, making health issues easier to treat.

A key component of the breathing technique is the increase in oxygen and healthy blood flow.

Hyperventilation - or overbreathing - has been associated with a decrease in cerebral blood flowand subsequent health issues.

But an increase in carbon dioxide, from improved breathing, increases blood flow and the body's oxygen levels.

Mrs King-Siem is running adult workshops and will soon run workshops for kids.

For more information, call 0408 196 000.


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