Costodiaphragmatic recess: Is a space between the respiratory diaphragm and the thoracic wall in each pleural cavity (compartments which enclose the lungs). The lungs move into this space in deep respiration.

Costodiaphragmatic Recess in red circle.

Costodiaphragmatic Recess in the red circle.

I learned about rib flare adhesions from my Functional Methods teacher, Jeffrey Burch. Functional Methods was pioneered by osteopath Harold Hoover in 1954. Hoover recognized that mobility was essential for proper physiological function. Life is movement.

A note from Jeffrey Burch: 1.Ribs are among the most flexible bones in the body. The costal cartilage along the bottom of the rib cage is even more bendable than the bone, and its deformation contributes to the flare. 2. It is usually easy to release costodiaphragmatic recess adhesions, which soon restores the normal contour of the lower ribs.

Functional Methods are low force methods designed to reduce adhesions and wake up proprioception in the body. Adhesions are formed from inflammation, infection, surgery, and trauma.  Coupled with dysfunctional breathing patterns and lack of upper body movement, adhesions have an increased chance of forming and becoming a problem that may result in pain or organ dysfunction.

Natural movement and proper breathing mechanics are built-in fascia release mechanisms. Click To Tweet

This is just one of the many reasons hanging and climbing is so important. Hanging from your hands and reaching above your head provides a natural fascia release to the tissues of the thoracic cavity. Modern life doesn’t require these movements very often. We get our food from a shelf rather than from climbing and picking it from a tree. We use a navigation APP, rather than climbing to higher ground to scan the landscape. We turn on the thermostat instead of swinging an ax to chop wood to burn.

Fit more hanging and overhead reaching into your life by installing a pull-up bar near your workstation and take hanging breaks throughout the day. Hang with both hands, one hand, overhand, underhand, wide grip, narrow grip, vary your position as much as possible while breathing deeply into your intercostals. As always, start slowly keeping your feet on the ground, or skip the pull-up bar at first and hold on to the door frame while leaning to the opposite side. Visit a restorative exercise specialist for help transitioning into hanging. Moving too quickly into hanging when you don’t have the proper range of motion or strength in your shoulder girdle could cause injury.



Take your kids to the park to hang on monkey bars, or build monkey bars in your hallway!


Hanging in the hallway! Photo credit Lindsay McCoy

Hanging in the hallway! Photo credit Lindsay McCoy

June, the sweet little girl above had open heart surgery at just 3.5 months old. June’s  mama, Lindsay McCoy at Mama Aligned says that she saw first hand how hanging helped June’s lungs/pneumonia issues.


Photo credit Christine Hughes Zarrilli

Photo credit Christine Hughes Zarrilli


Photo credit Debbie Beane.

“The soft frame is supported by and suspended from the hard frame. Therefore, any restriction of the bones can affect the organs and vice versa. For example, an intercostal restriction can fix part of the pleura because of the relationship between the internal intercostal muscles, subcostal muscles, and pleura.”– Jean-Pierre Barral The Thorax

Need extra help?

I like the Within Reach and Twisting The Night Away Alignment Snacks.

Katy Bowman also has a Get Moving Set!

If you are looking for assistance with releasing restrictions in the thoracic cavity, see a Functional Methods practitioner, or a Visceral Manipulation™ practitioner who has completed VM4 (the thorax). Or visit me in Portland!

Disclosure:  This is not a medical or exercise advice blog. I blog to organize my thoughts and share information. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. When you shop through the links or banner ads on this blog I make a small commission and you help support my blogging efforts. Thank you! I only recommend products and services I truly believe in.

Free Womb Care ebook!

Subscribe to the Alignment Monkey newsletter to get the Womb Care ebook for FREE!

You have successfully subscribed. Your ebook should arrive within a few minutes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This