What is dysfunctional breathing?

Dysfunctional breathing is an umbrella term for a range of breathing disorders that create breathlessness in the absence of heart and lung disease. The breathlessness associated with dysfunctional breathing is realย and neuro-motor retraining is often required to restore normal breathing patterns. Dysfunctional breathing may also be called:
- hyperventilation syndrome
- vocal chord dyschrony
- upper chest breathing
- functional breathlessness


Our breathing is linked in with our nervous system, the system that controls and regulates most of our bodily functions. When our body calm, our breathing should be calm. When our senses are heightened (for example playing sport) our breathing should be heightened. When our body is calm but our breathing remains heightened we call it dysfunctional breathing.

What does dysfunctional breathing look like?

  • breathing with the upper chest
  • breathing through the mouth
  • breathing at fast rate

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • increased state of stress and anxiety
  • inability to turn off the mind
  • tension in the shoulders and neck
  • poor sleep patterns
  • dizziness
  • chest pain

The Nijmagen Questionaire is a proven method to screen for dysfunctional breathing patterns such as hyperventilation syndrome. Click HERE to complete this short questionnaire.

How can breathing training help?

  • Restore activation and strength to your 'calm' breathing muscles
  • Help re-align breathing with our body functions to prevent heightened senses of stress and anxiety
  • Provide the ability to use breathing to relax and provide relief from stressful situations