Your Breathing Muscles


Ever notice a subtle muscular pain in your chest area after you have had a bout of excessive coughing, sneezing or even…laughing?


Introducing your intercostal muscles and they help you to breathe all day, every day! These tiny muscles have worked on your behalf for so long without calling attention to themselves. They are an area of your body that deserve some long overdue care.


As a massage therapist, I work with many clients who have difficulty breathing. Some clients experience muscular soreness in the chest area as a symptom of COPD or emphysema. This soreness can often be alleviated by gentle massage to the intercostal muscles.


Taking the time to massage and loosen these muscles results in a freedom of movement, breath and vitality.


Most people have a reluctance to touch this part of the body. This seems to come from some boundary issues, mostly unconscious, from working in any detail on the chest. This is so ironic because not only is the area linked vitality and respiratory function, but also with the feelings of love, courage, and inspiration. Please consider giving yourself a great self-massage of the intercostal muscles.


Here’s how:


Explore your chest area, both front and back. You will be surprised how far your ribs engage and encompass your entire thoracic region. Locate two of your ribs anywhere in your chest region. Some are easier to get to than others. Slowly move your fingers in between two ribs. This is where your intercostal muscles live. Gently move your fingers horizontally between your ribs and vertically, up and down, back and forth between the two ribs. Gently coaxing these muscles creates movement in breath. Keep in mind that you should go gently. Massage should never be painful. Feel free to explore…ultimately knowing that you know your body better than anyone else.