Why Holding Your Breath is Making You Tense

Breathing – such a simple exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that involves trachea, lungs, bronchi, bronchioles, diaphragm, intercostal muscles, ribs, sternum, nerves, circulation, and lymph channels – no big deal right??!!

Image credit: Blend Images – JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

One thing I LOVE about the respiratory system is the unique design is voluntary and involuntary. It’s really phenomenal!! You can’t control your heartbeat rate or rhythm and your leg is not carrying you across the street if you don’t send a signal from the brain to do so. Obviously, this system also has sympathetic and parasympathetic control, allowing you to increase or decrease oxygen supply as needed in response to your minute-by-minute demand.

So, why do you hold your breath – well, you are either going under water OR you are bracing for stress. You might be about to lift a heavy box, get punched in the stomach, or dive under water – physical stress. Maybe the love of your life is getting on one knee, or you just learned your mom passed away – emotional stress.

The one stress that you may not be as aware of is chemical. Chemical stress is experienced when pressures or stimulus changes. For example, you are climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or falling asleep. These variable follow 2 rules:

  • Boyle’s Law – the relationship between pressure and volume
  • Autonomic Nervous System – the division of the nervous system that sends signals to respond to stress

I would like to qualify why I think most people hold their breath unconsciously in response to chemical stress. From my perspective – caring for people’s reaction to stress –-> injury, the majority of people do not mindfully connect to where and how their body is processing the level of stress they are exposed to. Are you?!! Do you know when to say no? Do you practice adequate self-care? Do you plan good nutrition? Do you get enough sleep? Do you stop to heal when you have been injured (physically or emotionally)? If you answered no to these – you are part of the majority.

Now the epiphany!!! When you hold your breath, you are actively reducing oxygen distribution to tissues. This creates a hypoxic (and acidic) environment that reduces chemical reactions at all tissues, although for the purpose of inspiring relaxation, I want you to think about the muscles. Decreased chemical reactions –> decreased range of motion and nutrients –> TENSE! Not only is there a chemical consequence for what you feel, but there is also a mechanical consequence that creates limited movement in aiding respiration –> feeds the cycle.

Now that I’ve shared the bad news, the GOOD news is that you are the commander of your voluntary and involuntary respiratory system!!

You can CHANGE your mindfulness, practices, habits, and attentiveness to what YOU need!

STEP 1: Learn how to breathe. Practice different techniques. The one I
personally love the best is doubling my exhale in relation to my inhale. No
matter what technique you use – relax the rest of your body WHILE you are

STEP 2: Prioritize your health. Find routines and disciplines that support your

STEP 3: Identify where stress tends to show up in your body. Find ways to
actively nurture that system. If you have a natural health professional on
your care team, ask them for help.

STEP 4: Check in with your breathing at intervals throughout the day. Set a
timer on your phone or tie a deep breath to something you do regularly
throughout the day.

STEP 5: Exhale on exertion. Coordinate your exhalation with any moving or
lifting that you do repetitiously (even sit to stand) or that aggravates your
body. Practice makes perfect!

STEP 6: Check your posture! When you stand/sit/sleep in an ergonomic
position, it is easier to get maximum respiratory function from your tissues.

Enjoy NOT holding your breath!! I hope you find a trick or two that you can implement easily into your day to help you benefit from maximum oxygen intake and the relaxing affect on your body that exhalation offers!!

In Love and Service, Dr. TSTEP 1: Learn how to breathe. Practice different techniques. The one I
personally love the best is doubling my exhale in relation to my inhale. No
matter what technique you use – relax the rest of your body WHILE you are
STEP 2: Prioritize your health. Find routines and disciplines that support your
STEP 3: Identify where stress tends to show up in your body. Find ways to
actively nurture that system. If you have a natural health professional on
your care team, ask them for help.
STEP 4: Check in with your breathing at intervals throughout the day. Set a
timer on your phone or tie a deep breath to something you do regularly
throughout the day.
STEP 5: Exhale on exertion. Coordinate your exhalation with any moving or
lifting that you do repetitiously (even sit to stand) or that aggravates your
body. Practice makes perfect!
STEP 6: Check your posture! When you stand/sit/sleep in an ergonomic
position, it is easier to get maximum respiratory function from your tissues.
Enjoy NOT holding your breath!! I hope you find a trick or two that you can
implement easily into your day to help you benefit from maximum oxygen intake
and the relaxing affect on your body that exhalation offers!!
In Love and Service,

That Thing that is More Harmful Than Obesity

I was working with a patient that was just released from a 2-week stay in the hospital with Covid pneumonia.  We had the most emotion-filled interaction.  He was so full of gratitude while walking in humility.  He is doing great, by the way 😊  Let’s say his name is Rip (yes, I’m a Yellowstone fan!).  Rip testified that the TURNING POINT in his recovery is when the hospital allowed his wife to visit him.  He was adamant that the destruction of humanity was packaged in isolation.  I’d like to further describe, Rip is a very healthy, Christian, Enneagram 7, 48 yr-old male without any complicating health conditions.  I don’t describe that to contribute to growing statistics of affected populations, but to emphasize that he has a healthy perception of reality and truth. 

When he described the despondency that he experienced in isolation, I instantly thought of multiple people that I know professionally and personally that whether they discussed it or not, I witnessed their health decline in relationship to isolation.  Most experienced exacerbations of their existing conditions in the absence of any germ involvement.  Some experienced Covid and faced fear and anxiety that surfaced buried traumas, complicating their mental health and slowed their healing.  Others have been faced with very difficult decisions surrounding how family members feel about gathering/isolation that have impacted them deeply. People are suffering!

I began to look at the psychology side of isolation.  Can it impact physical and mental health?  I looked at the Bible and the internet – isn’t that what everyone does??  Lol! 

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, co-authored a meta-analysis that reports lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.  She also found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity!

It is without question that our best self is that around others!  I’m often reminded that I live in a bubble where most people are healthy and mindful about their health.  So, I don’t want to speak in generalizations as I think the line between my personal perception and professional opinion is too fuzzy.  But….I will say, please don’t assume AND don’t be compliant against your better judgement.  Speak up for what you personally need – loudly if needed, and be kindly respectful of what your neighbor needs, even if they differ.  I’m NOT saying to be reckless, irresponsible, or obstinate – I think you all know me better than that.  If there’s confusion in what you should say or do, ask someone you love and trust.  These are big decisions that directly impact your health and vitality!

If you need relief from isolation, and it is not in the best interest of your situation to be in contact with people, please consider the following from Rush University with my ideas sprinkled on top:

  • Learn new ways to gather – technology can offer lots of options
  • Find things related to your loved ones that you can celebrate – send a card, gift, photos
  • Get outside – sunshine and nature are alive and are fun to interact with
  • Use mindfulness tools to increase your calm
  • Make your brain work daily – puzzles, sudoku, word finds, math, etc
  • If you don’t already, please consult with a professional

I hope that seeing the direct correlation between isolation and your health can offer you some motivation in pushing away fear (whatever that looks like for you), and taking action to nurture health in your body and mind!!!  You, above everyone else, needs YOUR care!

In Love and Service,


Move to Health

We say “Movement is Life” on a daily basis!!  Movement has a variety of implications – exercise, breathing, range of motion, circulation, speed, spinal, extremities…..the list goes on!  Our #1 goal as chiropractors is to restore movement!  You can understand why, there’s such a high value on the quality of your body’s moves!

Justification and motivation to add chiropractic care and well-balanced exercise to your health regimen:

  • Better BRAIN performance – with movement, your frontal lobe gets excited and helps you have improved memory, decision making, impulse control, and rational thinking (less anxious).
  • Perky POSTURE – as you excite proprioceptors in your joints, you will feed your brain information to help your body have a more erect posture.
  • Reduced HEALING time – as you open and close muscles, you increase the quantity and rate of circulation bringing nutrients to your body, and also improve the flow of the lymphatic system removing waste from the healing reactions.
  • Increased RESILIENCE – if your muscles and joints are consistently working, you will have a higher average performance that results in the reduction of injuries.
  • Awesome SLEEP – with increased oxygenation and decreased tension, your muscles and nervous system can find a state of rest at night that will allow you to sleep well and wake feeling rested.

If you haven’t moved today, start today.  Consistency is the key!  Make a small, attainable goal that you strive for each day.  As you get good at consistency (daily movement), then increase the rate, range, duration, and intensity of your movement.  Measure your movement using a timer, pedometer, smart device, heart rate monitor, or match a set number steps to each of your daily tasks.  You will be in love with the difference you will feel!!

In Love and Service,

Dr. T


I always say I’m going to make a t-shirt that says, “Why did I wait??!!”  This is rhetorical question that I hear often after someone receives their first chiropractic adjustment.  Usually, it is followed with a description of an apprehension that delayed their introduction to chiropractic care.  That apprehension, of course, quickly fades as it is replaced with the euphoria of feelings that flood your body following a chiropractic adjustment. 

I often hear of the limited view of how chiropractic care helps relieve neck and back pain.  If people are open to wholistic care (massage, chiropractic, lymphatic enhancement therapy, cold laser, ionic foot baths, etc), then they essentially wait until the “need” relief to pursue such care.  It is much less common for people to use proactive practices such as drinking adequate water, eating the rainbow, working out, deep breathing, or supplementing various systems in your body.  It is even more uncommon to hear of people seeking proactive treatments, such as adjustments, when they are feeling GOOD. 

I hope that with just a few more words, I can help you perceive the benefits of using wholistic care in general when you feel GOOD to feel your BEST!

Power Poses That Project Happiness And Increase Your Mood
  1. Improved sleep, digestion, respiration, circulation, and mood!  Every system works in harmony to care for the needs that you demand of your body – work, school, recreational, fitness goals, etc.  Wholistic care relieves the “work load” on your body that is required to keep your baseline normal, it leaves more energy for your demands.
  2. When you receive alternative care in a feeling-good state, your care-giver can help relieve deeper, older dysfunction to help you reach new levels of function.
  3. With increased proprioception and processing (refined nerve synapses) you can avoid falls, injuries, and poor performance.  I love thinking about prevention in all ways!!! 
  4. It is statistically proven that keeping your nervous system in fine tune will help you miss less work, recover quicker, and experience fewer complications from illness/injury. 
  5. When you feel good, you feel good!!  It’s hard to argue that how you feel physically affects how you feel emotionally 😉

Whether you are brand new to wholistic practices or you are the wait-til-there-is-a-problem guy, I hope you will not wait.  Experience for yourself how being proactive in your health and healing can help you be more awesome in every way!!

In Love and Service,

Dr. T

What Have You Been Telling Yourself?

Self-talk is a term we are all familiar with.  That little voice in your head that usually stays on spin cycle most of the day, turning the same thoughts over and over – even sometimes while you try to sleep.  What is the common theme of that voice?  Is that voice someone you would like to hang out with?

There’s science and common sense that tells us the input to our brain and body has an affect on our next move.  If you get a compliment from a stranger, you might decide to wear your hair like that again.  If you get punched in the face, you might decide to fake dead – lol!  If you feel safe in a conversation, you might decide to get some feelings off your chest.  There is a lot to be said about the influences around us.  Some say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  Who spends more time with you than that inner voice?

It is common to live on autopilot and let your thoughts carry you away.  A study at Michigan State University suggests a person has 80,000 thoughts a day.  Some sources say that women have more thoughts than men within that average.  MSU, in advocacy for mindfulness, also published that 90% of the 80,000 thoughts (72,000) were a previous thought (remember the spin cycle analogy).  Furthermore, 80% of those thoughts (57,600) were negative.  It’s easy to see how Stinkin’ Thinkin’ can wreck your mood!!  If you get 8 hours of sleep per night, that estimates you have 60 negative thoughts per minute – one EVERY SECOND! 

We’ve discussed in Kids & Stimulus that each input is filtered to determine if you are safe or not.  It gets clearer from this perspective why most adults feel exhausted, frustrated, and even victimized.  Your own thoughts have taken you hostage. 

How does this relate to chiropractic??  It’s everything!  When the sympathetic nervous system is driving and your negative self-talk jumps in the passenger seat your BODY is the hostage!  Tight muscles, back pain, headaches, constipation, sleeplessness, slow recovery, sugar cravings, limited range of motion, poor circulation, frequent illness – these are all ways, among others, that your body pays the consequence of negative self-talk. 

Like all things God created, there is GOOD built into this same system!!!  You can challenge your self-talk and take it from negative to positive!  You can reverse the self-induced stress!  Your body is self-healing and self-regulating.  When you put God in the driver seat and positive self-talk in the passenger seat, you will enjoy the ride of your life 😊

5 Steps to Help You Invite Positive Self-Talk

  1. Affirm yourself: I exhale fear.  I inhale peace.  (insert your own words that YOU need).  You can also search for affirmations that you feel congruent with to share with yourself.
  2. Be a Dream Catcher for negativity: just like dream catchers intercept bad dreams, you can intercept negative self-talk.  Once it is intercepted, redirect your thoughts. It is helpful to redirect them in a positive way. Check out Monique’s work at Rise Regardless.
  3. Thought dump: give those negative thoughts an EXIT – write them in a journal – trash or burn them to help you release your hold on them.
  4. Think of your thoughts like a balance scale.  If you load the negative side (thoughts get away from you) then invest in yourself by loading the positive side. Obviously you want the scale to be loaded in your favor, so don’t hesitate to work when there’s technically “balance.”
  5. Dedicate 10-20 minutes per day in a “word search.”  Think or journal words that you want to invite into your life (think of what you might be deficient in).  This is also a way to have those words in your “easy access” file in your brain so when your thoughts get floaty the positive words can get put it in the playlist more readily than the negative ones.

We are cheering for you as you take on loving you!!!  As simple as these concepts seem, they will change your mind and body!  Add one or two steps to your goals for next month!  It only takes 21 days to make a habit!

In Love and Service,

Taryn Lowery, DC

Kids & Stimulus

I have two little humans that teach me daily!!!  I try my best to learn from them and FOR them!!  My husband and I both take parenting to heart and want to give our kids OUR best.  As I read, listen, inquire, and observe, I find that there is always a new way to look at the same information.  In trying to be the best mom and chiropractor I can be, I have found that stimulus is one thing that I can influence and regulate to help children thrive.   I want to inspire you with what I’ve learned!




  1. a thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue.

“areas of the brain which respond to auditory stimuli”

The nervous system has countless jobs, but one very important job is deciphering stimulus to determine if you are safe or not.  Safety = survival.  It’s not that simple, but it is.  So, as a newborn, your brain starts processing every smell, sound, vibration, touch, taste, and sight to decide which system to activate – sympathetic or parasympathetic.  As you grow and learn, your nervous system uses older information to make quicker, more efficient decisions about stimulus – still deciding if you feel safe or not.  As the nervous system matures, it attaches emotions with stimulus.  This is how you can feel love and security as you smell a honeysuckle that reminds you of your grandma. 

How does this relate to your day-to-day role as a parent, teacher, grandparent or lover of children?  It’s everything!  Since a child spends most of their time with their parent at their home, the smells, sounds, sights, etc of those people and that space are most safe.  As stimulus varies from that “normal” the nervous system must work (expend energy) to decipher the degree of safety.  Unfortunately, the younger they are, the more black and white the conclusion is: mom=safe (parasympathetic) VS neighbor=not safe (sympathetic).  So every time your child goes to a new place, hears a new tone of voice, smells a different odor, eats a new food, sees a face they have not seen often/ever – the amount of WORK that has to be done to maintain homeostasis is dramatically more.  This means they increase the demand for vitamins, minerals, hydration, sleep, comfort, calories, and calm

You can loosely correlate this to the allostatic load that many athletes use to determine how often and how hard they work out.  Most commonly you hear the analogy of a cup.  If the cup is full – you can handle more.  If the cup is low or empty, you need to rest and refuel. 

So, if you want to be supermom and have the best functioning kids on the block – moderate their stimulus!  Make sure your outings and social activities don’t drain their cup AND plan adequate time to rest and refuel.  This might look like:

  • Doing 2 errands per day for 5 days instead of 10 errands in 1 day
  • Mandating rest the day before and after a birthday party or family gathering
  • Planning extra cuddles adjacent to leaving for work and when you return home
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend at a playdate
  • Packing “safe” items that smell, sound, or look like home when your child is away

I hope:

  1. This inspires you!! 
  2. You find that balancing stimulus helps your little human thrive like never before!! 
  3. Your little human gets adjusted; adjustments help the receipt and response to stimulus like nothing else can!!
  4. You feel like you can relate to your child’s behavior in a more compassionate and understanding way!

In Love and Service,

Taryn Lowery, DC

Posturing Yourself for Amazing Sleep

We all do it!  Most of us enjoy it!  Not many of us do it well.  I’m so excited to help you learn how to use your sleep posture to feed your parasympathetic nervous system (needed for quality sleep) and allow you to wake up feeling loose, relaxed, and rested!

#1 Sleep on your back

I hear a lot of reasons why patients can’t sleep on their back…..I can argue why they CAN with a few exceptions.  It is possible, and it is best.  Most people have a hard time sleeping on their back because they can’t get “comfortable.”  I argue that the comfort is not a physical obstacle but an emotional one.  Laying on your back is a very vulnerable position and our unconscious subconscious cues you to move to a safe position (most people choose fetal or stomach).  You can train your brain – just mindfulness, as well as use a weighted blanket, pillows, etc to support your physical body in a way that allows you to find comfort!

#2 Support your spine

We have 5 curves in our spine that need support while you are sleeping.  This is huge, especially if you are getting quality sleep – fully relaxing.  To accomplish this, a pillow under your knees will create a supple low back by relaxing your hips.  Palms face up while keeping a gentle bend in your elbows.  Shoulders have a gentle external rotation – think of tucking your shoulder blades under you.  You can use a pillow under your head but keeping your neck neutral is important.  I talk about the chin a lot!  The position of the chin determines if your spinal fluid is flowing freely, pulled tight, or compressed while you sleep.  Tucking your chin is the worst – side sleepers beware!  Keep your chin neutral as best you can.  My favorite is using a TriCore pillow or several pillows to have support around each cheek to keep your neck neutral while your chin is mid-range of motion.

#3 Thought dumping and more

Prepare your body and mind for sleep.  Allow 30-60 minutes before you want to fall asleep for your body and mind to transition from busy-day mode to heal-and-repair mode.   This is more important than you might think.  If you fall asleep quickly from exhaustion, your quality (and probably quantity) of sleep will be compromised.  This time could include prayer, meditation, deep breaths, journaling away your thoughts (thought dumping), self-massage (only very gentle touch), hot bath, essential oils, gratitude, gargling water, BioMat, and much more.  The concept is to initiate the conversion of function in your body to the resting state.  You could look up ideas online that surround “activate your parasympathetic nervous system.”

I wanted to include reasons why sleeping on your back add to your health, but I’ll save that for another time 😉  Hopefully you can practice the posture, and then find those benefits all on your own!  Until then, I hope your journey in healing and health is fruitful!

In Love and Service,

Taryn Lowery, DC

hOw We MeT HaLcYoN vIlLaGe <3

So today marked the beginning of the next season for Peace of Life Chiropractic!  Looking back at the journey – we have had so much fun, served many lives, inspired change in our community, created a culture of love & connection.  Looking ahead……WOW!!  The vision we have for our patients and our community is coming ALIVE!

Part of me is exhausted….physically and mentally.  Our village has worked 12+ hour days over the last five.  We started early and stayed late.  We faced opposition while we crawled through the trenches.  We fussed at each other.  I had a melt down….LOL….one single, but very large, melt down.  Plenty of moments where bystanders made the statement of, “when are you opening…oh, wow, good luck with that.”  They weren’t trying to be mean or pessimistic, there was just literally an unimaginable amount of work to be done!

The other part of me feels exhilarated!!!!  I really feel like God has given each of us tools, and then combined us for this amazing mission –

Connection – Help our community feel like they are supported and loved.  Give them a place to come together in heart, philosophy, parenting, healing, grieving, thriving!

Movement – Facilitate a well-skilled, passionate, and compassionate group of professionals to help our community move!  Keep them moving 🙂

Healing – Give our community access to professionals and tools to help them restore harmony in their body.  Relieve the effects of stress and trauma.  Invite the mindset of endless possibilities!

Balance – Bring awareness to the need for emotional balance.  Encourage our community to seek care for the needs of their mind, as it relates to stress response and the body.

As we find our hearts filling with purpose, fulfillment, and joy, we continue to refine how we combine what we do with how we do it.  That sounds so simple, maybe cliche, but the how is really what has set us apart.  I think the how is what will propel our community into well-being and vitality!

Drum Roll……Here’s How We Met HALCYON VILLAGE

About 3 summers ago I went on a girl’s get-away with some friends from high school in Hideaway, TX.  After a fun night of wine, dinner, and games, I woke up the next day feeling rested, relaxed and nostalgic.  I sat out on a quiet porch and watched the morning roll by.  I began to jot down some thoughts.  One thing led to the next, I had the vision for a community of people with hope and love, working together to create a place where healing and joy could be cultivated.  I journaled, googled, and brainstormed until the vision had a name.  Halcyon Village was born.

halcyonHalcyon is a type of bird.  It is referenced in Greek mythology.  They represent love, commitment, peace, and calm.

Village to us means the people, not necessarily the places.  “It takes a village” is a proverb of unknown origin.  It’s truth transcends all cultures.
We have incorporated an olive branch in the logo as well.  The branch is classically known to represent peace.  The tree has even more significance.  The tree is hollow – ministers teach that, like an olive tree, you must fill yourself with the Holy Spirit.  It is resilient – if the trunk is cut, its roots will continue to grow.  Its heartiness and strength are qualities that justify its symbolism for righteousness.
As you can tell, these are not just words to put on a sign or business card.  These are words that represent who we are.
HV Logo
So today….it was a really good day!  For somewhere around 1,095 days, we have been planning some ingredient of today.  Today, our insides were seen on the outside!!
1) Dr. Joey Lowery (my Shoog) came to serve with us
2) Expansion is complete (we have an additional 650sqft)
3) Jayme Fletcher, LMT joined our village
4) Reception got a face lift
5) New equipment – cold laser, percussion, and arthrostim
6) Countless memories with our current village so we could grow our vision
I hope this tells you a little about this evolution of change in our service, culture, and staff.  I hope you come by soon to check out the feeling of our space and the amazing people that are there to serve you!
We will be publishing an updated “Body of Services” soon!!
In Love and Service,
Taryn Lowery, DC
AKA “Dr. T”

Creating Happy 2015

April 1st marks the beginning of the Creating Happy movement at Peace of Life Chiropractic!! The full outline is available on our website @ wwww.peaceoflifechiropractic.com. JOIN US!!!


Each day you will write 3 new things that you are grateful for. Writing them down is important. Writing them allows them to become a conviction or confession, whichever applies. Over the course of 21 days, you will have 63 things you are grateful for!!!

Here is a little helper you can print or share to Create Happy in your life and in the lives of others 😉
3 Gratitudes