Analysis of the respiratory biomechanics in an animation from Respiratory Psychotherapy.


 NOTE: The considerations that have been taken into account of the respiratory mechanics for this animation in which the respiration is voluntary and forced, would be the same considerations for an involuntary respiration.

The fundamental principle of the respiratory mechanics exposed here obeys the own autonomic and functional design of the respiratory system.Although the animation shows one person restingand on voluntary and forced inhalation, the fundamental mechanics are the same in any respiratory instant in everyday life. Therefore, at all times of our daily life, when running, sitting, talking, etc, the diaphragm has always to descent to create an emptiness of pressure so the air can enter the lungs. The body, the trunk, and especially, the lumbar-abdominal ring, do not have to have unnecessary pressures, the body has to be relaxed. Then, for the whole time that the inhalation occurs, the whole trunk will expand through six sides (bottom, behind, front, right, left and top). The diaphragm always works this way in the respiratory mechanics, descendant and ascendant, in any circumstance, during physical activity or rest.

Animation. The insertion of the diaphragm

It is a small depression in the sternal region, at the level of the 5th rib, 4 centimeters above the peak of the sternum (sternal symphysis). It corresponds to the point Ren 16, called in Chinese Traditional Medicine “Zhongting” Central Palace.

When there is a restriction of the diaphragm’s movement, there are usually contractions in this point and this unlocks when the diaphragm descends without restrictions.

The posterior part is inserted at the level of the lumbar vertebras.  This lumbar region is called “Pillars of the diaphragm” since it forms the settlement of the diaphragmatic muscle. These insertions are produced in the anterior parts of the vertebras, L1 to L4 on the left and vertebras L1 and L3 on the right.

Additionally, in these two insertion zones, the diaphragm also inserts along the whole extension of the costal borders of the thorax’s internal wall.

A arco dorsalThe “inhalation arch” is produced due to the optimal descending motion of the diaphragm from behind, (which also guarantees the descend from the front), a vector of strength is produced towards the region lumbar-sacral-coccyx area; the pelvis opens up.

The peak of the cranial arch results from the combination of the forces produced by the inhalation musculature of the serratus menor posterior superior muscle, as well as, the sternocleidomastoid muscle, scalene muscles and pectorals pectoralis. This produces an elevation of the sternum, and by consequence increasing the pulmonary capacity.


A arco ventralThe “exhalation arch” happens when the diaphragm goes back to its ascending and relaxed position. The pelvis goes back to its resting state. When “letting go” the inhalers superior muscles and when relaxing the diaphragm, the superior end of the arch goes back to its starting position, the vertical (top of the head to the sky).

In the animation, the movement of the arch of the head and the pelvis backwards has been exaggerated with the intention of highlighting the movement. The arch is barely perceptible to the naked eye in real life.

The movement of the movement of the primary respiration of the liquid cerebrospinal fluid, CSF: the head and the sacral-coccyx go backwards when the filling of the CSF is produced in the ventricular spaces, the head and sacral-coccyx go forward in the emptying of the CSF in the ventricles. respiratory arch during inhalation and exhalation is the same to the

The respiratory diagonal

The diaphragm contracts, creates an emptiness of pressure and the air enters the lungs. The awareness has to accompany the descent of the diaphragm towards the lumbar zone. This action feels like a vector of forces in diagonal much more defined. The air that enters through the nose, declines towards the lumbar zone and this one expands, as well as expands the whole thoracic perimeter at the level of the insertion of the diaphragm due to the its drop and flattening.

This direction of the entrance of the air is of great importance due to the fact that the posterior mid-diaphragm is two thirds larger than the anterior mid-diaphragm. This is especially relevant since the lower lobes in the lungs represent 60% of the total pulmonary capacity and are located in the inferior

The expansion of the rib cage

The neck muscles (sternocleidomastoid, scalene muscles) elevate the clavicles and the sternum expanding the chest, increasing in this way the pulmonary capacity. This action is a precursor of the respiratory arch’s formation, since it produces a movement of the head, and the superior area of the chest towards the back. Furthermore, the inhalator muscles serratus menor posterior and superior elevate the first 5 ribs, having an impact on the arch of the head towards the back and contributing in this way to the enlargement of the rib cage.

The importance of considering the costodiaphragmatic cavities and the inferior lobes of the lungs

As we have mentioned, the 60% of the total pulmonary capacity corresponds to the inferior lobes which adopt an inferior-posterior position in the rib cage. Hence the importance of descending the posterior hemi-diaphragm for the costodiaphragmatic areas to form a major emptiness and for the inferior lobes to descend more and acquire more expansion.

The animation shows a person in a relaxed state whose inhalation is voluntary, with maximum descend of the diaphragm and the maximum expansion of the lugs. The volume of the air inhaled is maximum, around 3.000 ml of complementary air, when in the regular respiration in resting state the volume is between 450 and 500 ml (only one third of the forced voluntary inhalation). We appreciate that the diaphragm is displaced to the maximum in its journey down and up (caudal and cranial). In the inhalation during resting or regular state, the displacement of the diaphragm is in between two and four costal arches.

The entrance of air through the nose to the lungs

Due to the emptiness of pressure created by the descend of the diaphragm, the difference of pressure with the exterior (which is greater during the inhalation) allows the entrance of air in the pulmonary cavity. The air, when entering through the nose, adopts the form of the vectors.

There is evidence that justifies the entrance of air through the nose and not through the mouth.

Some of them are: temperature, humidity and speed regulation. Air purification. Prana absorption, aeration and cleaning of the frontal cavities, less water loss. The two openings of the nose, the nostrils, are always open, the mouth, is not.

The exit of air from the lungs through the nose

The air exits due to the rise of the diaphragm. The pressure is greater inside the lungs than outside. During the expiration, the air exits the lungs with a superior pressure and temperature than the external atmosphere, creating volutes.

Core or focus of air expansion

 When the air of entry arrives through the trachea it bifurcates for both bronchial tubes and the expansion of the air in the lungs is produced, more or less in a concentric way. The initial area where the expansion of the lungs begins is located at the height of the dorsal ribs 5 or 6, underneath the bifurcation of the primary bronchial tubes, in other words, at the height of the heart and underneath the thymus.

In the animation, the moment of expansion of the air in the lungs is appreciated, in the area described previously. The expansion is concentric and the air starts to take up space in the whole pulmonary parenchyma at the same time. Due to the design, fundamentally descendant of the bronchi, the speed of the airflow and the dissemination of the air is much quicker, filling the lungs in a more homogeneous way.

The energetic centers Hara/Dan Dien and Ming Men

Hara, vital center of the human being. Located at 4 centimeters underneath the bellybutton, in the inner cavity of the lower stomach. During a correct and complete inhalation, a greater activation and balance of the energy Hara and Ming Men (or Door of Life) occurs due to the great decline of the posterior region of the diaphragm (The Ming Men is located in between the lumbar vertebrae L2 and L3).

When making inhalations, free of any physical blockades, the lower stomach’s musculature acquires an elevated tonic level. The “bloated stomach” will not happen. The abdominal viscera have the tendency to displace themselves to the lumbar area through the great emptiness created by the decent of the posterior hemi-diaphragm.

The most profound meaning of the Hara in Japanese is “to become”, to achieve a great fullness in the physical, psychological and spiritual being.

This would correspond, more or less, to the Greek term “areté” or virtue. If our respiratory mechanics are liberated, this means that the body has been rusting away the ego’s armors that were constraining the musculature implicated in the ventilation mechanics, then, will emerge the Being.

Respiratory Psychotherapy’s logo and its meaning


Fundamentally, the distribution of the bronchial tree has a journey from top to bottom

The air entering the nose is driven towards the nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx and trachea; from the trachea, it bifurcates in the two primary bronchial tubes, it continues along the secondary and tertiary bronchial tubes, all the way to the alveolar sacs where oxygen is absorbed.

The bronchial tree has a natural, functional and beautiful design, since the air, being a gas, has a tendency to go upwards, and the blood, by gravity, has a tendency to go downwards. It is logical for the bronchial tree to have a design mostly upwards and downwards in tree fourths and one quarter ascendant.

When the person is in a vertical/standing position, the air directed through the respiratory tree is mostly descendant, although a small portion of the total of the bronchial tubes is ascendant.


Considering the tree respiratory types; luboabdominal, intercostal and costoclavicular

It obeys the law of gravity, there is more perfusión of blood in the lower areas of the lungs than in the upper areas.

Ventilation is a process of mobilizing air in the atmosphere towards our lungs, and from our lungs to the atmosphere with the objective of exchanging gasses in order to oxygenate the organism. Under a physiological point of view, we cannot consider only th

ventilation, we also have to consider the last finality of ventilation, the oxygenation of the blood.

Perfusion is the contribution for blood supply of our lungs to mobilize the air in our lungs to our tissues, oxygenating them.

The exchange of gases is produced, fundamentally, in the lower third and mid third of the lungs (see West zones). Perfusion barely happens in the upper third, except when the body is in a horizontal position in supine position.

The lungs have three zones; lower zone, mid zone and upper zone (pulmonary apex or peak of the lungs). Referring to perfusion, the upper zone is usually called “dead zone”, due to gravity, the blood is more deposited in the bases of the lungs than in the peak of the lungs. The lower third of the lungs is permanently perfused, there is always blood, both in systolic and diastolic. In the mid third, perfusion only occurs during the cardio systolic, not during the diastolic. In the upper third, perfusion does not happen, this is why it is called the dead zone.

We have to consider the importance of correct respiratory mechanics, which brings the air to the pulmonary bases. Due to perfusion in the whole cardiac cycle, both in systolic and diastolic, the oxygenation will be greater.

Having maximum perfusion

In both of the lower thirds of the lungs, we have to consider the importance of correct ventilation mechanics, which brings enough air to the pulmonary bases since perfusion occurs in the whole cardiac cycle in both systolic and diastolic.

As to perfusion of the three respiratory types, the abdominal is the optimal one, since it is in the lower zone of the lungs where more blood perfusion is produced. Therefore, more capacity of oxygen absorption is created in order to be transported through the red blood cells in the bloodstream to the heart, and from there, pumped to the whole body. However, the complete respiration is the one that can provide greater oxygenation to the organism because, not only there are benefits of the abdominal respiration type in regard to perfusion, but also, we include the oxygen absorption of the mid zone (during systolic).

To conclude, the complete respiration provides greater oxygenation to the organism.

Horizontal position of the body in supine position.

The blood, due to gravity, is distributed throughout the whole posterior zone (the lower, mid and upper zone of the lungs are perfused due to this position).

Horizontal position in lateral position.

Perfusion happens in the lower half of the trunk.

Posición horizontal en decúbito dorsal


Advantages of complete breathing regarding blood oxygenation and the ventilatory mechanics.

Complete breathing has the most advantages. Besides the lower zone of the lungs, the mid zone also is implicated in blood perfusion (mentioned above).

The upper zone of the lungs is the most problematic one. Overtime, hypoxia can be produced when respiration is not complete, in other words, when the upper zone of the lungs does not expand. Despite the fact that there is not perfusion in the upper zone of the lungs when in standing position, the fact that they expand better in this zone has many benefits,

for instance, better functioning of the alveolar sacs.

Mid zone is the one that benefits the most from a complete respiration concerning perfusion in a complete respiration.

In a complete respiration, the expansion in the mid zone is greater than in an abdominal respiration, therefore, we add more oxygenation to the body.

 The lower zone is the one that presents the most advantages in terms of oxygenation of the organism due to the fact that blood perfusion happens during the whole cardiac cycle, systolic and diastolic.

A greater psychophysical relaxation occurs during a complete respiration.

When lowering the diaphragm without psychophysical blockades and when expanding in liberty the trunk, there is more capacity to activate both principal glands in the branch of the parasympathetic system, located in the chest.

The complete respiration is a natural mode with which we come into the world, it is free because it is not restricted by physical blockages that difficult the respiratory mechanics. The psycho-emotional conflicts are the ones that block the free ventilatory mechanics. When the everyday respiration is abdominal: the mid zone of the trunk and the lungs have the movement restricted, the upper costoclavicular zone of the lungs is practically collapsed in its movement, this can provoke health issues.

The complete respiration represents a minor muscular effort than the other two predominant respiration types, abdominal and costoclavicular.

The respiration with dominance costoclavicular is the one that requires the greater respiratory effort and the one that can entail the most health problems.

The complete respiration and the respiratory mechanics

The respiratory effort has to be oriented towards the posterior inferior base of the lungs, because if the air is displaced in the superior part (as in a costoclavicular respiration), there will not be enough gas exchange, therefore, the blood will be less oxygenated. Individuals with a costoclavicular respiration usually face the problem of cold limbs due to the low oxygenation in the blood. In the upper zone of the lungs perfusion barely happens when being in standing position. On the other hand, very few air arrives to the lower region of the lungs. Furthermore, we have to consider the function of the diaphragm as a second heart, by its hemodynamic capacity, its capacity of moving blood.

The position of the diaphragm is in its relaxed state before the inhalation (dome-shaped position). For the air to enter from the outside, the diaphragmatic muscle has to descend or contract at the same time that it descends, expands and widen its perimeter. This action compresses the visceral mass in the abdomen, facilitating the return of the venous blood to the body.

The importance of correct, natural and free respiratory mechanics resides in the air that enters the lungs that has to be guided in diagonal towards the lumbar zone. As we have already mentioned, the air enters the lungs due to emptiness of pressure (vacuum effect) that occurs when lowering the diaphragm, ensuring that all the sectors of the diaphragm will descend. During inhalation, we have to be conscious of the great descend of the diaphragm, specially, in its posterior region, and have to be conscious of the drive of the air towards the lumbar zone in order to install a natural, free and correct habit of the ventilatory mechanics. It is advisable to do a few voluntary and involuntary conscious respirations.

The whole trunk will expand during the inhalation: the lower, mid and upper zone of the lungs. There will be more absorption of oxygen in the lower zone, as well as the mid zone. This way, the exchange of gasses will be optimal.

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