THE TWO RESPIRATIONS
We have made the distinction between physiological and paradoxical respiration. This distinction overlaps approximately with two ways to coordinate gestures and breathing.49
1. Biomechanical coordination. During inhalation, the thorax expands. When all of the muscles are relaxed, the arms and the legs follow this movement to create more space for the expansion of the thorax. Similarly, when the thorax contracts during exhalation, arms and thighs get closer to the thorax to support the respiratory movement.
2. Emotional coordination. Here, what is important is the coordination between the expenditure of metabolic energy and the function of the gesture. This coordination no longer follows the laws of relaxation and biomechanics but those of the affects. In-breath absorbs energy that will be spent when out-breath supports expressive activities. This implies, from this point of view, that we have, in this instance, a paradoxical coordination. The hands distance themselves from the thorax while it contracts during the exhalation, and get closer to the thorax when it expands in inhalation. These two logical contradictions (on the biomechanical plane) help the organism tense up and mobilize the vegetative sympathetic system.
By default, the proper breathing for any form of relaxation is the one that conforms to the biomechanical respiratory movement. Every movement that crushes the thorax is associated with exhalation, and every movement that favors the expansion of the thorax is associated with inhalation. In the case of movements that have a contradictory effect on the volume of the thorax, a detailed biomechanical analysis is recommended. An example of this would be when the arms close in on the thorax while the knees move away from the abdomen. In the case of doubt, always let the patient move any way he wants. When a correctâ respiration comes into conflict with the patient’s spontaneity, respect the mechanisms of the patient first and analyze what is happening before confronting the patient’s defense system.