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The topographic diagnosis of respiration, based on the schema in figure 1.1, presents an analysis of respiration according to the degree of utilization at each phase. Certain diagrams are more refined, distinguishing, for example, the top and bottom of the thorax. Few persons utilize these six phases all the time. To propose a relevant respiratory diagnosis, the therapist takes note of the duration and the amplitude of each phase. This analysis sometimes changes when a person is either lying down or standing, or engaged in different kinds of activities. This type of diagnostic distinguishes above all between individuals who breathe mostly with their abdomen from those who breathe mostly from the thorax. It is generally recognized that the persons who breathe only from the thorax easily become affectively labile and overstimulated. The explanations of this relationship are rarely convincing, but the correlation is sufficiently robust. Most of the approaches to respiration recommend, above all, verifying that there exists a good ventral respiration that expresses a minimum functioning of the horizontal respiration (top ^ bottom when a person is standing) of the lungs and a flexibility of the diaphragm Typically, a citizen25 has a diaphragm that is only relatively mobile, to which voice teachers will attest. These deviations from the ideal norm are not necessarily pathological. Full breathing exercises demand that a person attempt to take in and let out as much air as possible. They make it possible to evaluate the degree of adaptability of the respiratory schema to demanding situations on the organism. The therapist, for example, asks a person who breathes mostly from the abdomen what is going on when he also breathes from the thorax.

FIGURE 1.1. The moments of respiration. Phase 1: Inhalation by the ventral segment. Phase 2: Inhalation by the thoracic segment. Phase 3, Apnea I: The duration between inhalation and exhalation. Phase 4: Exhalation of the thoracic segment. Phase 5: Exhalation of the ventral segment. Phase 6, Apnea II: The duration between exhalation and inhalation.

Another important element of a topographic diagnostic is the distinction between ventral, dorsal, and lateral respiration. Respiration that is visible on the front of the body is common to everyone. Fewer people have a respiration that visibly mobilizes the back. Still fewer have a respiration that mobilizes the sides of the rib cage other than in moments of breathlessness.

Most of the body psychotherapists who work with breathing make these distinctions. Typically, the mobilization of the dorsal respiration permits the patient to regain contact with an impression of strength, whereas the mobilization of the lateral respiration can help a person experience containment and calm.

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