UWS Sports Medicine Master’s Student Published

Rylee StephensRylee J. Stephens, a sports medicine master’s degree student at University of Western States, had a study titled, “Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing Patterns on Balance: A Preliminary Clinical Trial” published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) With assistance from Dr. Mitch Haas, vice president of research at UWS, the study is now in print.

The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of performing a larger study to determine if training in diaphragmatic breathing influences static and dynamic balance. A group of 13 healthy people (eight men, five women), who were either staff, faculty or students at University of Western States participated in an eight-week breathing and balance study using an uncontrolled clinical trial design. The participants were given a series of breathing exercises to perform weekly in the clinic and at home, and then balance and breathing were assessed at weekly clinic sessions. Breathing was evaluated with Liebenson’s breathing assessment, static balance with the Modified Balance Error Scoring System and dynamic balance with OptoGait’s March in Place protocol.

The conclusion of the preliminary study revealed costal-diaphragmatic breathing patterns may be associated with improving balance and that a study of the phenomenon using an experimental design would be feasible.

At UWS, we pride ourselves in our incredible students who are as busy studying as they are in researching and learning how to benefit the health care field.


Stephens R, Haas M, Moore WL, Emmil JR, Sipress JA, Williams A. Effects of Diaphragmatic Breathing Patterns on Balance: A Preliminary Clinical Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2017;40(3):169-175.