With asthma, deep diaphragmatic breathing while you’re lying on the Backpod® is particularly effective. Our feedback has been not just of improved lung function generally, but also of fewer and milder asthmatic attacks.
It’s not just about the lungs. Regardless of the state of the lungs, you can’t fill them fully if you can’t expand the rib cage fully, and you can’t do that if the rib joints around the back are tight. This has commonly become the case in chronic asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions. It is frequently overlooked by doctors dealing perfectly correctly with the lungs themselves.
Home test for tight ribs: An indication that the rib cage itself is tight and restricted is that upper body rotation will also be limited. You can test this yourself. Sit squarely on a bench or desk. Then get someone to twist your torso round to each side. Normal range would be about 90˚, with your shoulders coming in line with your thighs. If the joints round the back where your ribs hinge onto your backbone are tight or frozen, you won’t get that far. You also won’t be able to take a completely full breath in – because the tight rib joints won’t let you. Being short of breath can simply be a rib cage tightness problem – it’s not necessarily the lungs.
The Backpod® is particularly effective at stretching these posterior rib joints. Other spinal fulcrums like foam rollers and Swiss balls aren’t. The long cylindrical shape of a roller means you can’t get much specific leverage onto a tight rib joint, and all balls and rollers are unstable, so your muscles can’t relax on them. Anything too squashy like a rolled towel or tennis ball can’t give enough leverage. The small stable peaked shape of the Backpod® is specifically designed to stretch tight rib joints. We don’t think, from 30 years of New Zealand manual physiotherapy expertise, that there’s anything else that does this effectively – for clear, scientific reasons.
Home stretch for tight rib muscles: The other part of freeing up a tight rib cage is stretching the shortened muscles between the ribs. How to do this is shown 10 minutes into our YouTube video on fixing costochondritis. The twisting stretch shown after that is also useful.