Breathing Pattern Disorders


I was very fortunate to attend an intimately small workshop with Leon Chaitow last week discussing manual therapy approaches to breathing pattern disorders.  I have not been shy about sharing how much I have learned from Chaitow and his extensive body of work, so spending a day with him was awesome!

Below is summary of some of the main points of the course that I thought would be worth sharing.  These are all direct statements from the workshop and are from his textbook on Breathing Pattern Disorders if you want to learn more or see some of the efficacy and references.

What is a Breathing Pattern Disorder?

  • While 10% of patients in the US have diagnosed hyperventilation syndrome, far more people have a more subtle, yet likely clinically significant, breathing pattern disorder that involves being in a constant state of inhalation.
  • This leads to hypocapnia – the deficiency of carbon dioxide in the blood due to hyperventilation, leading to respiratory alkalosis, and eventually hypoxia or the reduction of oxygen to tissue
  • This is commonly seen in chest breathers, that essentially never fully exhale and utilize all of their lung capacity.
  • This essentially puts an individual in a sympathetic state and a subtle, yet fairly constant state of fight-or-flight
  • This can lead to changes in anxiety, blood pH, muscle tone, pain threshold, and many central and peripheral nervous system symptoms.  Some even mimicking cardiac problems.
  • Some of the most interesting info I learned were related to two studies that document the correlation between breathing and some of our daily activities.
    • In one, the study examined typing on a keyboard and showed that EMG activity of the scalenes and trapezius increased and thorax and abdominal activity decreased while typing.  Perhaps this is a primitive reflex but it causes us to breathe more shallow, with less diaphragm, and with more upper chest and neck.  Since we all likely spend a good chunk of our day typing, this is very prevalent.
    • In another, the study showed that people held their breath, increased their respiratory rate, and experienced sympathetic arousal when sending AND receiving text message.

Full article here Breathing Pattern Disorders


The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy

It’s hard to overstate the impact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) has in the U.S.. Consider the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease affects 65 million Americans.
  • Close to one million Americans have a heart attack each year.
  • In the U.S., one person dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease.
  • 1 of 3 deaths that occurs in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors related to overweight/obesity and insulin resistance.
  • The total cost of cardiovascular disease in 2008 was estimated at $300 billion.

To put that last statistic in perspective, the World Health Organization has estimated that ending world hunger would cost approximately $195 billion. One might argue that the $300 billion we spend on treating cardiovascular disease in the U.S. is a necessary expenditure; however, a recent study which looked at the relationship between heart disease and lifestyle suggested that 90% of CVD is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors. (1)

Read full article here The Diet-Heart Myth: Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Are Not the Enemy


Baked Pizza Meatballs



  • 1 pound lean beef (longhorn, bison, etc)
  • 1 oz nitrate-free pepperoni
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 T chopped italian parsley
  • 3 T homemade marinara sauce
  • 1 T Mrs. Dash tomato basil garlic
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil, on a skillet set to medium-high heat, until onions are translucent.
  2. Once done, put them in a bowl with the beef, pepperoni, egg, parsley, Mrs. Dash and 2 T of the marinara sauce.
  3. Mix well with your hands and then form into little balls.
  4. Place them on a baking dish with either parchment paper or greased with grassfed butter/coconut oil and then top each meatball with a little bit of what’s left of the marinara sauce.
  5. Put the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Pair with spaghetti squash, spiraled zucchini, or a big side of veggies!

National Survey Highlights Perceived Importance Of Dietary Protein To Prevent Weight Gain

National Survey Highlights Perceived Importance Of Dietary Protein To Prevent Weight Gain

Women Eating More Protein Report Weight Loss Success

Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, South Beach Diet, etc., etc., etc. Chances are you have known someone who has tried a high protein diet. In fact, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, 50% of consumers were interested in including more protein in their diets and 37% believed protein helps with weight loss. In a new study released in the May/June 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, researchers found a relatively high proportion of women who reported using the practice of ”eating more protein” to prevent weight gain which was associated with reported weight loss.

Among a national sample, researchers from the University of Minnesota surveyed 1,824 midlife women (40-60 years old) to (1) describe perceptions about protein sources and requirements, (2) identify the reported frequency of using the ”eating more protein” practice to prevent weight gain, and (3) compare reported protein intake to reported frequency of using the ”eating more protein” practice to prevent weight gain.

Most women correctly identified good protein sources, and the majority could indicate the daily percent of dietary energy recommended from protein. ”Eating more protein” to prevent weight gain was reported by 43% of women (and more than half of obese women) as a practice to prevent weight gain. Reported use of this practice was related to self-reported weight loss over two years. Two factors associated with effective use of this practice included the level of protein intake and self-efficacy toward weight management.

According to Noel Aldrich, lead author, those participants’ who had reported weight loss with “eating more protein” had a protein intake that was consistent with the focus on protein suggested by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. He said, “Education regarding dietary protein requirements may enhance the use of this practice. Women may need more information regarding protein energy content and effective selection of protein sources to enhance protein intake as a weight management strategy. Given that the majority of Americans are overweight, identifying the most effective practices and related factors surrounding successful weight loss and prevention of weight gain are important.” 

Conversion from ‘Bad’ Fat to Good Fat

Conversion from ‘Bad’ Fat to Good Fat

Apr. 28, 2013 — Scientists from ETH Zurich have shown for the first time that brown and white fat cells in a living organism can be converted from one cell type to the other. Their work, using mice as a model organism, provides important new insights into the origin of brown fat cells, which is a prerequisite for the development of successful anti-obesity therapies.

Two types of fat cells can be found in mammals and hence in humans: White fat cells function mainly as highly flexible energy stores which are filled in times of calorie abundance. The fat is stored in the form of lipid droplets, which are mobilized when energy is needed. Diametrically opposed in function are the so-called brown adipocytes: These cells specialize in burning energy in the form of fat and sugar to produce heat. New-born babies possess substantial amounts of brown fat and utilize it to maintain body temperature. Since it was recently shown that brown adipocytes also exist in adult humans, research has focused on understanding how brown adipocytes are formed. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to increase brown adipocyte number and activity in obese humans, allowing them to burn excess calories and thus reduce weight.

Against the current belief

It is known that both humans and mice can adapt to cold temperatures by forming brown fat cells within their white fat depots. These cells are called “brite” fat cells (brown-in-white) and are less common at warmer versus colder temperatures. However, the origin of these special brown adipocytes has remained a matter of debate. The prevalent hypothesis was that brite cells are formed from special precursor cells and are removed when no longer needed. The alternate idea of a direct interconversion between white and brown fat cells gained less attention. By demonstrating that this interconversion does occur and is one of the main contributors to brite fat cell formation, the current belief has been challenged.

Genetically labelled fat cells

To demonstrate how brite fat cells are formed the researchers in the laboratory of Christian Wolfrum, a professor at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, generated mice that allowed them to genetically label specific fat cells. These animals were kept in a changing environment: starting at 8°C for a week and for several weeks afterwards at normal room temperature. During the cold exposure, the mice formed brown adipocytes in their white fat depots — a process called “britening.” After warm adaptation the fat tissue turned white again. Using the genetic markers the scientists concluded from these experiments that white fat cells can convert into brown fat cells and vice versa. As humans have the same type of cells as mice it is likely that the same process occurs in humans upon cold stimulation.

Treatments against obesity

“To develop new treatment strategies we need to find ways to convert white into brown adipocytes,” says Wolfrum. Most of the research has focused on identifying the precursor cells for brown fat cells, an approach that may be insufficient. Future work will address the question of how to manipulate this interconversion process either by pharmacological or by nutritional means.

This approach would represent a novel strategy. “Current anti-obesity therapies target the energy intake side of the equation by controlling appetite and the uptake of nutrients,” says Wolfrum. The pharmacological treatments that are available are not very efficient and usually are associated with side effects. In contrast, this novel approach to treat obesity would target the energy expenditure side of the equation by promoting brown fat formation.

Asian Broccoli Salad



  • 2-2.5 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 1/2 cup whole cashews
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 carrots, spiral sliced or julienned
  • Vinaigrette: 1/4 cup coconut aminos, 1 TBSP coconut palm sugar, 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar, 2 TBSP avocado oil, pinch red chili flakes


  1. Chop the broccoli and bacon, slice the scallions and celery and spiral slice (or use a julienne peeler) the carrots. Combine in a large bowl with the whole cashews.
  2. Mix up the vinaigrette by stirring the coconut aminos, coconut palm sugar, rice wine vinegar and red chili flakes, then whisk while streaming in the avocado oil to emulsify.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Serve!

Southern Hospitality “Live at the Heritage Music BluesFest 2012