Belly Breather VS. Chest Breather and Why It Affects Your Loved One’s Balance:

Breathing Children

Breathing Children

So let’s review…We talked recently about the “soda can model” of breathing and how it affects posture. (If you didn’t get a chance to read that and would like more details click here). We discussed how important it is for all of the pressures to balance so that we can function and go about our days. Some people may breathe more with certain parts of their systems though, which can cause deficits and imbalance. Here are the two main examples:

Upper Chest Breathers:

This is exactly how it sounds. These are people who breathe with more of their upper chest versus diaphragm (aka “belly”). If someone breathes more with their chest it could be due to a variety of reasons such as asthma, weakness, and even scoliosis. Why? Because your body will always compensate. It will always take the path of least resistance, therefore, it will make sure you’re breathing first and worry about everything else later. It isn’t the most effective way of breathing but sometimes is necessary…or sometimes your body just doesn’t know how to breathe using your diaphragm.

Belly Breathers:

Belly breathing is also known as diaphragm breathing. This is commonly seen in kids or adults with low tone (hypotonic) or stiff chests. Someone could have a stiff chest from a surgical scar or due to high tone/positioning.

Why Does This Matter?

If we put together all of the information from this and our previous blog post, if there is an asymmetry, it will affect our balance. The differences in support and volume of air whether that is in your upper chest or your belly, can affect your child’s sitting balance and/or standing balance. If there are asymmetries between sides of your body during breathing, it can also affect one’s balance and must be accounted for. You can work through all of the core and trunk strengthening possible, but if the breathing pattern is not corrected then they won’t be achieving their full potential and could be possibly be doing more.

There are always exercises and techniques to help. If you’ve never thought that your child’s breathing could affect balance, think again!

If you are interested in learning more about your specific situation, make sure to email me at or give a call to 631-348-0959 and we would be more than happy to answer any and all questions that you may have!

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Christine Astarita