“Breathing and the Respiratory Stumble”

By John Diamond, M.D.

Perhaps the first thing that happens when we are confronted with any sort of stress is that we jam our breath. We stop breathing. Watch the dental patient walk in the office and see the dental chair. Immediately his breathing will jam. He will have what we call a “respiratory stumble.” That stumble will then allow the specific energy imbalance to which he is prone in that situation of stress to reveal itself. It may be related to any of the meridians. This is ultimately, in microcosm, the origin of disease patterns.

One of our primary purposes is to learn how to remain balanced with our Life Energy high, so that if we are confronted with a shock or stressful situation, it is far less likely to cause our respiration to falter. As long as we are centered, as long as our Life Energy is high, we will not have respiratory stumbles, and we will minimize our energy imbalances.

Furthermore, we must realize that the thymus is intimately interconnected with the organs of respiration. As we breathe, the thymus is being rhythmically pumped (just as the pituitary is being pumped by cranial respiration), and energy is circulated throughout the body. But as soon as there is a jamming of the breath, a respiratory stumble, there will be an interruption of the ebb and flow of the energy stimulated by the thymus throughout the body, and the susceptible meridian will then suffer an energy loss.

The meridian involved will depend to a large extent on which half of the diaphragm is most affected by the shock. We can show, for example, that someone may be breathing with good lateral expansion on both sides of the lower thoracic cage. Subject him to a shock, and it will be found that after recovering from the momentary stumble, or break in his rhythmic breathing pattern, he will begin to breathe again, but one half of the diaphragm will be inhibited in its excursion. The lower ribs on that side will not move laterally, and the cerebral hemisphere on the opposite side of the body will now be dominant.

Thus, our structural relationship at the time and the nature of the stress determine how we will be affected. We generally then find a weakness in one of the six meridians relating to the underactive hemisphere [I have shown in my Speech, Language and the Power of the Breath that six meridians relate to the left hemisphere and six to the right].

When we are asleep, assuming that we are not troubled by disturbing dreams, we will automatically correct body energy imbalances through rhythmic breathing. This important aspect of the function of sleep should not be overlooked. Energy lost during daily activities can be replenished through the revitalization of rhythmic, non-stressed, non-forceful breathing.