The Diaphragm Release in Thai Yoga Massage is especially nice for clients that are less mobile, live with asthma or have been coughing alot. In these instances, the major breathing muscles (diaphragm and intercostals, in particular) can get rather tight and a full breath is restricted. As we all know that breathing is a good thing, this pose comes to the rescue!
As your partner breathes in this pose, any areas that the diaphragm might be “sticking” to the inside of the rib cage begins to release so that it may function properly once again. An added side benefit is the release to the intercostals and the shoulders!
How to do the Diaphragm Release:
- Have your partner lie on their back while you kneel beside them in a knee-down lunge.
- Place your hands on the lower part of their rib cage, thumbs pointing in, one hand on either side. Make sure you are on ribs only, not sternum.
- Ask your partner to breathe in. Feel their ribs expand.
- Ask your partner to breathe out. Follow the downward release of their rib cage with gentle pressure from their hands.
- Repeat several breaths.
- Then, hold your partner’s rib cage at the lowest part of the exhale and ask them to breathe in. This will create some pressure from their ribs to your hands.
- Ask your partner to breathe out. Their ribs will descend a little more, follow that.
- Then, ask your partner to breathe in and follow the upward movement of their rib cage with your hands, gradually releasing the pressure.
- Ask your partner to take a few deep breaths on their own.
Benefits: Releases tension in the breathing muscles. Releases tension in the shoulders. Do not be surprised if your partner has a spinal adjustment (just remember that it should not be accompanied by pain).
Cautions: Do not do with folks that have osteopenia/osteoporosis. Be mindful of your body position so as not to make a sensitive client feel dominated or threatened, this move can be scary for people, keep communication open!