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Transcript Interview Episode with Karese Laguerre

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Karese: [00:00:00] When there's body dysfunction, there's typically some sort of emotional dysfunction or emotional chaos that's going on too. And so I love energy work especially in those situations where, cause I don't use it as my primary thing, right? It really supports a lot of what I do. It helps to clear out and to enable the body to heal in a more, I like dynamic as a word.


I think that's just the best word that's ever been created, but heal in a more dynamic way. We have to clear out a lot of the energy that's sitting there preventing healing and restoration.


Laurin: Hello friends and welcome to Curiously Wise. I'm your host, Laurin Wittig. And I have a wonderful guest here today. Karese Laguerre is joining us and she is a myofunctional therapist. And, I didn't know what that means when I first started talking to her. It's a really fascinating thing. And it's such a lovely example of why [00:01:00] I love the topic or the title of my podcast, Curiously Wise, cuz I get to get curious about all kinds of things.


And so this is an area that I'm really excited to bring to you. And I hope that you learn as much from Karese as I have and continue to learn from her. So Karese welcome. How are you today?


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Karese: I am well, I'm super happy to be here and I just love your energy. So I'm excited about today.


Laurin: Great. Thanks. Okay. So we're gonna dive in, first of all, can you tell us what myofunctional therapy is?


Karese: Absolutely. You know, I get that question more than any other question. It's not something that's super well known, but it is a phenomenal modality of alternative health. So what it is is, I like to liken it to personal training really. It's kind of like personal training for all the muscles below your eyes, but above your shoulder.


So we're working with the oral facial and some of the oral Pharyngeal muscles to really help strengthen and coordinate them. That's gonna help facilitate [00:02:00] better sleep, better breathing. Just better digestion. I mean, there's so many wonderful health benefits for it.


Laurin: Interesting. Okay. So, everything below the eyes and above the shoulders, that's a very specific area. So, I know that you work a lot with breath.


Karese: Yes.


Laurin: Why is breath so important?


Karese: Oh, my gosh, breath is the most important thing that we have out of everything. I mean, we can go for a few days without water. We can go for a few weeks without food, but not many of us would last any more than a few minutes without oxygen. I mean, we need to breathe. Right? And not many people know that.


There's a way to breathe that it's not just because you're respirating that you are breathing properly. You have to breathe and breathe one through your nose because our nose is primed and prepped and physiologically the optimal way for us to intake oxygen. But it's definitely something that it's the powerhouse of our bodies, that breath.


We need that oxygen in order [00:03:00] to have great cognitive function, to be able to sleep well, to be able to digest and to process and to have all of our organs run and our blood flow, we need oxygen. So breath is a passion of mine because we have to breathe in order to really survive and forget thriving.


You need it to just survive.


Laurin: Just to survive. Yeah. And I know, I've spent a lot of my life, the first 50 years of my life having terrible allergy issues. So I always had a stuffed up nose and I know that I don't breathe well, and I still occasionally have that, especially when I'm trying to sleep. I don't always remember to think about that.


We really can't live long if we don't breathe.


Karese: Yeah. I mean, minutes, minutes.


Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. I, I really, I don't know why I don't think about that. So, it seems to me like breathing is something that we should just naturally know how to do. And yet I know I hold my breath a lot without realizing it and I'll just go, all of a sudden, I'm like, oh, I [00:04:00] gotta breathe.

So why is it that we have to train it?


Karese: We have to train it because sometimes that foundation from when we're young, so babies are obligate nasal breathers, or they're supposed to be. But there are sometimes physiological barriers to that. There are tongue ties. There are babies who are born with you know, cranial facial deficits that are going to impair the nose from being able to breathe.


They might have a deviated step. Then you might have things that kind of compound as you get older. So, it's important to really get to the root of what's the issue with why you can't physiologically breathe the appropriate way. But then to also understand that we have so much going on in that area of my specialty when we talk about below the eyes. so that that's a whole upper respiratory system.


So when we're talking about that, we wanna be able to utilize that the way that it's designed, right? So our nose. It's going to filter out any sort of toxins or anything that we don't want in our oxygen. It's going to prime and [00:05:00] prep that air it's gonna humidify it, moisturize it. We want that air to be optimal to take in, and it's going to provide nitric oxide.


We don't produce that in our mouth. When we mouth breathe, it's not. Yeah, nitric oxide is so critical, especially for that oxygen to bind to the blood so that we get that hemoglobin flowing well. Yeah, so…


Laurin: That's huge.


Karese: We need that nose to be doing all of that. And so if we're not breathing predominantly through our nose and we're breath holding and we're increasing the CO2, that's in our body through breath holding, you're really decreasing the quality of the oxygen within your body.


And that's decreasing cell function. That's decreasing neurocognitive functioning, and that's definitely gonna impair. Other aspects of your life. As far as being able to critically think, be productive, sleep and maintain a good quality of sleep.


Laurin: Mm-hmm [00:06:00] fascinating. I know that one of the things that you talk about when you're talking about breathing is dynamic breath. So could you tell us what that is and why it's so important?


Karese: Yes. So just breathing with your nose, not enough, right? We have a tongue. And our tongue. I like to call the tongue a respiratory organ. Now the tongue, a lot of people think of it as just one muscle. The tongue is actually comprised of eight different muscles that are in pairs. Cause there's really 16 muscles that innovate that tongue.


So since it's got 16 muscles, it's an organ for me. Okay? But we need that tongue to be up against the roof of the mouth when we are breathing. That's one, the roof of the mouth is the floor of the nose. So you're stimulating that nasal respiratory. Breathing mechanism. Okay? You're also stimulating your vagus nerve.


So that's gonna help you with Autonomic nervous system regulation, which is such a big deal. There are so many people who are on like this overdrive. They're constantly in that [00:07:00] flight mode, right? Where they can't rest and digest, they're in that fight or flight. And so what we want to do is be able to breathe.


But optimally with that tongue up against the roof of the mouth, stimulating that nasal floor, enabling us to really get the most out of the oxygen that we get. And that's going to create one, it'll create definitely a lot of more room because your tongue, our tongue is a very long organ. Our tongue can go all the way down to on our spine.


We're talking C six C seven.


Laurin: Oh, my gosh.


Karese: Yes, this is, it's a long organ. Okay?


Laurin: I had no idea.


Karese: I know when we get it up and on top of the roof of the mouth, the pallet, then we're getting it up and out of the airway. And so that nasal flow is able to go. That volume of air is able to go much deeper than it could before.


Laurin: Oh, my gosh, I'm learning so much anatomy. This is awesome. I love to learn anatomy cuz I, every time I do, I learn new things about how the body works [00:08:00] and, how it's interconnected. How it's not just like, for now the tongue is not just for tasting and swallowing. It actually has to do with our breathing abilities.


And that is not something that I've ever realized or known. So that's really fascinating. So that's dynamic breath and it has to do with tongue facilitating the nose and getting out of the way of the breath as well.


Karese: Absolutely. Absolutely.


Laurin: So I've got that one down. So there was something else that I noticed on your website called restorative breathing.


And so I'm wondering what that is.


Karese: So restorative breathing is one modality that I do. I use that, that is Dr. Lois Laney, who came up with restorative breathing. So I used her methods and her tactics. What that involves is, so yes, the tongue is involved when the tongue is up on the roof of the mouth. It's involved with stimulating the vagus nerve, but the vagus nerve is just one of 12 cranial nerves that we have that are really going to help to stimulate [00:09:00] and get our body going the way that it should.


So it's really working on integrating the cranial nerves. That way we can really optimize. All of that breath that we're doing in getting good whole-body function. So, we're working on balance. That's cranial nerve A, we're working on the ability for us to be able to turn and move our accessory cranial nerve.


I mean, there's so many cranial nerves, our facial nerve, and, oh, there's so many. I could talk about that really all day, honestly, but being able to restore that balance between the cranial nerves and how they are functioning, it helps significantly with the breathing and being able to restore functionality to that breathing.


Laurin: Wow. Okay. I had no idea. It was so complicated in this little part of our body.


Karese: This is the part nobody thinks about. Like, when I talk about personal training, I mean, nobody even regards that there are muscles above the shoulders, right? Because you think of [00:10:00] all those body builders, they have those big, broad shoulders. They work out everything, shoulders and below, but there's so many muscles over a hundred in the complex where I work just to hear the eyes where it's. Nobody thinks about them.


Laurin: No, no, it's like we need a head gym. So, can you give us a tip or two about how to learn to breathe better? I mean I am so aware of my breathing at this, this moment talking to you and how often I hold my breath and, not really realizing it. So personally, how could I notice that better? How could I do something better?


Karese: I would say set intentions to, so having a time where you can sit down and consciously focus on your breathing, conscious breathing is like the first step. You have to be aware of how your body is postured when you're breathing. Okay? So take time. If you have meditation time, if you have some quiet time, if [00:11:00] you just set aside five to 10 minutes out of your day to just sit and breathe and be aware of it.


Is there a sound to your breathing because we don't want sounds to our breathing. I mean, we can talk about sleep, you know, and the sounds that get produced once we're sleeping. But daytime, breathing should not have a sound. Breathing needs to be inaudible. If you are noticing a sound in your breathing, that's the sound of air meeting resistance as it's going through your upper respiratory tract.


We don't want that. I mean, we just talked about how important breathing and oxygen is to our bodies. We do not want any resistance to that as it is going into fuel us. Right. So make sure that you're sitting and that it is inaudible breath that you can't hear it, cuz that would be the first sign of a problem.


Be aware of where your tongue is postured as you're breathing. So take those breaths in and the breaths out and just be aware of where's our tongue sitting. If it's sitting low or kind of floating in the middle of the mouth [00:12:00] or anywhere other than lightly suctioned and pressed against the roof of the mouth, that's going to be an issue because we just talked about that dynamic breath and really amplifying the way that we're breathing.


I want you to be aware of how you are breathing. Do you have a consistent rhythm to it? Is it something where you feel like you are holding too often? I mean, just making time to set the intention, to focus on your breath, that way, you know, what's normal for you and how we can really get to. What it is that you need to work on.


So, is it your tongue posture? Is it the fact that there's maybe some blockages that are creating that breath to have a sound to it? Is it the fact that you're breath holding? Like what is it that you need to work on? So, step one, set an intention.


Laurin: Okay.


Karese: Once you figure out what it is that you need to work on. I mean, if it's your tongue, like I said, there's 16 different muscles.


So, you might need to go to the, head or the face gym or whatever we're calling that. That's where I come [00:13:00] in as a myofunctional therapist. But if you're finding that you have audible breathing where we're really hearing sounds. One, you wanna get checked out by an E N T a medical professional that can scope and see if there's any obstructions there.


Is there something going on? If there's no obstructions, no physical obstructions, like the adenoids or enlarged turbinates or a deviated septum. If there's nothing there that's preventing you from having a quiet breath, then you wanna make sure that you are again, getting in touch with a myofunctional therapist. Because we have a lot of exercises for those pharyngeal muscles, all those muscles that encompass that upper airway.


And so we'll be able to help you facilitate maybe getting those a little bit more. And I hate to use the word tone because it's not like a true tone, but we get them to be a little more solid. That way you're able to respirate and not hear that sound. And if you find that you're breath holding, oh, there's so many great breathwork practices for that.


Buteyco is one that is commonly talked about [00:14:00] in my field, but there's any number of ways that you can use breathwork to really amplify your breathing. And I would say a hundred percent consider using breathwork or some breathwork techniques in order to help you because breath holding is not something that we wanna do.


Laurin: Yeah. no, no, I'm aware that I do that. But I love that because it does fold in very nicely with the meditation practice. Maybe just to take a little time before you actually start meditating to really pay close attention to the breath and how your body feels. And actually, I think that would be a really awesome way to start a meditation just to really focus on the physical.


Where am I right now? What do I need to intention doing better? I love that. I'm gonna add that to my meditation practice. Thank you. thank you. Thank you. Okay, so let's talk about, you mentioned the noise when we're sleeping. I know that I have a sleep app and I know according to it that I [00:15:00] do make noises at night.


I know my husband does. So, what's the connection about breathing well or not breathing well and quality of sleep?


Karese: So breathing and how we breathe is going to make an impact on how we are cycling through our sleep. When you're not breathing appropriately, you're going to have a dysfunctional sleep cycle. Now we know that the sleep cycles are designed to help us to restore and to regenerate. There are vital hormones and things that are produced during some of our sleep stages.


And so we have to cycle through them the way that we're supposed to. Breathing is critical, especially during sleep because of the only time, that's the only time when your brain is going to drain. So our body has all these different methods of draining. We have our lymphatic system, we're able to drain toxins and get rid of things, right?


Our brain only does that when we're sleeping. And our [00:16:00] blood brain barrier is carrying oxygen to the brain and helping during that process of sleep. So when we are not respirating appropriately, our body has to change gears. It's gonna shift and it's going to say, okay, something's going on here? We can't really breathe properly.


We're gonna have to put that on hold because we've gotta keep this person alive. That's our body's number one task.


Laurin: Mm-hmm


Karese: Stay alive. Right? And so it's shifting away from restorative properties. It's shifting away from cell regeneration. It's shifting away from anything that needs to be healed or any healing process it's shifting away from cleansing the brain.


We want the body to focus on all of those critical tasks during sleep. And it stops doing that as soon as it feels like danger, danger. Right? So, when we talk about those sounds during the sleep. The sound is snoring. I mean, it's, for a lot of people, it's snoring. They could call it like a light sound [00:17:00] or they can call it whatever they want.


That snoring is very common, but it is not normal. And we don't wanna ever consider it normal, because like I said, that is the sound of air meeting resistance. It's really trying to push through that upper respiratory tract. That means that there's something that is closing and blocking it off. And so we want to be sure that when we are going to sleep that our body's gonna focus on the critical task that we need in order for it to be restorative sleep.


So we don't wanna just sleep and then wake up and feel exhausted the next morning. We wanna sleep and get full restoration. And so breathing is the key to that.


Laurin: Yeah, so that, that is, I can think of so many ways that that would affect especially cognition. If you're not giving the brain time to clean itself out. And so much of what they're learning about, at least Alzheimer's and dementia in general, seems to me that the brain has not had enough time to regenerate and recuperate and clear and all of that.


So.[00:18:00]


Karese: Absolutely! Memories are only processed during sleep. I mean there's been such a large connection with research at the moment that more that we learn, we know that Alzheimer's and poor sleep or sleep deprivation, they're almost always connected in every situation. So we wanna ensure that we're getting quality sleep.


That way we can secure our future.


Laurin: Right, right. Yeah. I have a long line of women in my family who had dementia, you know, in their later years. And I would like to avoid that. So


Karese: We all do right.


Laurin: Yeah. That's where my particular interest and okay. How do we make the brain work better, heal more, be more elastic, all of those lovely things.


This is important in so many more ways than I ever really connected. So it's…


Karese: It's like mind blowing sometimes. It's like, oh, the simple thing that I don't really take it for granted, essentially. You're just breathing. It's just something that happens. It's so vital.


Laurin: [00:19:00] mm-hmm yeah. It's just one of those things you think your body just will do. It's like your heart beating is just you'll breathe,


Karese: Exactly.


Laurin: But it's not exactly the same as the heartbeat because we do seem to mess with it. I noticed another thing on your website that really fascinates me because it's something I also use with my clients. And that is that you bring Reiki into your practice. So how long have you been doing that and what brought you to add it to your practice?


Karese: Since 2018, I've been using it in my practice. And it's really, I mean, it, it was a no brainer for me, honestly, because energy work is so critical, especially in restoration and healing and enabling people to really get to the root of some things. Where there are blockages in different chakras or where we are really experiencing some stress and some stripe. Everything kind of goes together, honestly.


[00:20:00] When there's body dysfunction, there's typically some sort of emotional dysfunction or emotional chaos that's going on too. And so I love energy work especially in those situations where, cause I don't use it as my primary thing. Right? It really supports a lot of what I do. It helps to clear out and to enable the body to heal in a more, I like dynamic as a word.


I think that's just the best word that's ever been created, but heal in a more dynamic way. We have to clear out a lot of the energy that's sitting there preventing healing and restoration.


Laurin: Yeah, yeah. And that's what I focus on is that helping to clear those kinds of blocks. And I love Reiki because it's such a gentle energy work. It's just, it's got its own intelligence essentially to go where it's needed. I've never used it on anybody who didn't walk away going, I just feel so good.


Karese: Yes. Every time, every time they're like, why can't we do this all the time? Like, cause we have all [00:21:00] these muscles that we still have to work on.


Laurin: Well, and that's I think that's another important aspect of doing any kind of energy work. There is the physical, mental, emotional work that also needs to go along with it so that you do get that holistic systemic kind of healing instead of just, depending on, somebody like you or me to work on that piece of it for me.


And it's the person who has to do the healing. So it's the person who has to do the work. We just guide and facilitate, I think is, yeah. I mean, even…


Karese: Collaborative.


Laurin: Yeah, I mean, all of your work, you are the guide. You are the teacher, but the person has to do the work.


Karese: Absolutely.


Laurin: Make a change. Yeah. I like it that you bring a more physical aspect to it than I do.

But it's still, the person has to do the work and that's I'm not sure people always think about that when they come to somebody who uses energy work, you know, it's like, oh, you're gonna fix me, you know?


Karese: Yes, exactly. That's the first [00:22:00] thing we have to talk about because there's so many aspects of what I do, where yes, you have to put the work in, but I can help you. This one is one where I am really just an intermediary between the energy and you, you are doing all of the real work here and you're healing.


Laurin: Right, right. I think that ownership of taking responsibility for your own healing is something that our culture has kind of turned over to the medical professions. It's like, I'm not responsible. I'm gonna go to the doctor. The doctor's gonna give me something, to take or surgery or whatever.

They're gonna do it for me.


Karese: Yeah, don't get me started on that. That's a rabbit hole.


Laurin: Oh, I know. I know. And it doesn't serve us well, because it…


Karese: At all.


Laurin: We have to take responsibility for ourselves.


Karese: Exactly or for how you got there or for what you can really do for resolution, as opposed to just palliative treatment.


Laurin: Yeah. So, it's that, I think that's something that I have to continually talk to my clients about. That you know, [00:23:00] I'm a facilitator. I can help, but you have to be responsible for acting on it or for making change. I think for me, I love to work with in metaphors and examples a lot just that's.


Personally, that's how I learn. And so I always like to draw these comparisons or these connections between different modalities of helping people feel better and function better. Cuz it helps me to kind of remember how they all connect. You do have a book.


Karese: Yes.


Laurin: I'm gonna go ahead and mention that now cause I don't forget it.


The book is called Accomplished: How to Sleep Better, Eliminate Burnout and Execute Goals, which I love. Those are all things I wanna do.


Karese: Right. Don't we all?


Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. So, how did you come to write the book and, tell us just a little bit about that, if you would, about the book.


Karese: Absolutely! So, it was a labor of love because I'm so passionate about what I do. I'm so passionate about just spreading awareness that sleep and productivity don't have to be limited to just [00:24:00] having a certain type of mattress or a certain type of pillow or sleeping on a certain side or not on your back or what.


It's really down to something that so over everybody's head, it's just breathing. Just breathe appropriately. If you could just get down to the root of that. I don't care what mattress you have. You could sleep on concrete and get restorative sleep. So, it's really about spreading the message that yes, upper respiratory care and health is incredibly important.


This is how you're going to power your body. These are the steps you can take in order to ensure that you get it and how you can amplify it. Then the next day, take that restorative sleep and get to your best, most productive day accomplish goals. Get to become your very best self and so I am super happy to have shared with the world.


And it really just helps to spread the message because I am just one person. Right? I can only speak to so many, but this is a great way to [00:25:00] just spread the message. And so I'm so happy about accomplished and how it turned out and how it's helping the people that it's helping.


Laurin: Yeah, it's one of the wonderful things about books. It's the as close as we get to telepathy, you know, it comes out of your brain onto the page and goes into somebody else's brain


Karese: I don't have to be there. Yes. I love that.


Laurin: I'm a writer. I've written novels. I haven't written nonfiction yet.


But that was one of the things that I, as a child, I experienced cuz I was a voracious reader. These books brought somebody else's ideas into my brain. And then I got to create them in my brain in my own way. And it's like telepathy. It's like their brain to my brain. It’s awesome. I love it when people like you who have these amazing skills and things to offer people, write books, because it does spread you much further than you can do on your own.


And for the listeners, we will have the link to her book in the show notes. And we'll get [00:26:00] you her website information towards the end of our conversation here so that you can go and find it there if you need to.


Okay. Let's go to our rapid-fire questions.


Karese: Yeah, I'm excited.