Breath to Breath: Interview with Martin McPhilimey of Performance Through Health

“The vagus nerve is one of the most misunderstood nerves … the vagus nerve is actually detecting sensory information and sending that back to the brain. Through the manipulation of the things you are actually doing, we’re tricking the vagus nerve into believing that we are safe and in a state of rest and therefore sending signals to activate parasympathetic activity.”
— Martin McPhilimey

In this Breath to Breath conversation, I unpack a lot of the science behind the breath, rest and recovery with Martin McPhilimey of Performance Through Health.  I first noticed Martin’s Instagram account and was immediately interested in the consistent and reliable information he was producing on complex topics involving the body, breath and physiological responses.  So thankful he agreed to let me further address topics and concepts he is beyond knowledgable about.  We dove into subjects ranging from what steals your breath, pairing research and reality, the relationship between exercise and sleep, the high performer complex, recognizing quality sleep, Martin’s recovery process, movement and myofascial release, cold exposure for residence building through the lens of exposure therapy, understanding the role of vagus nerve, vagal tone exercises, the respiratory metaboreflex or “blood stealing”,  ways to improve diaphragmatic strength, eustress versus distress, and CO2 set points. 

Martin also referenced studies by Ernest Rossi.  Links to over 30 research papers written by Rossi on everything from Psychosocial Genomics, Epigenetics and Bioinformatics Research can accessed here.

NOTE: If you’ve been following along, this is actually the SIXTH not FIFTH Breath to Breath interview! Dang, I’m beyond grateful my guests keep saying yes to allowing my curiosity to run wild through conversations and connections. I have some exciting upcoming interviews in the works and more to come!


Martin McPhilimey is an accredited and experienced Respiratory and Sleep Scientist, Exercise Physiologist, Behavioural Science Practitioner, Coach and Mentor. With his qualifications, passion and 15 years of experience in research, clinical work, and training, Martin’s mission is to create a world of high performing individuals with healthy minds and bodies.

With an eternal passion for health and fitness, Martin was inspired to pursue his dream of working with Australian athletes and high-functioning individuals by the Sydney Olympics. He graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2009 with a Bachelors (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science, majoring in Exercise Physiology. Martin then completed a year-long Research Masters, focusing primarily on how to improve recovery from exercise using inspiratory muscle training in athletic individuals. In 2015, he completed the Scientist Training Programme in the NHS in England; a 3-year intensive work-based program with a Masters’s degree. He was fortunate enough to train under some of the best physicians, lecturers, and physiologists in the UK. Martin graduated from the National School for Healthcare Science as a Sleep and Respiratory Scientist.

After a brief stint working as an Exercise Scientist at one of the world’s largest cardiology departments at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (Barts) in London, Martin decided to embark on an adventure to Perth, Western Australia. He spent nearly six years as a leading respiratory scientist in Australia. In 2019, Martin realized a lifelong vision by launching Performance Through Health. He had noticed that between the ages of 25 and 35, both male and female clients often began to sacrifice their health because of their career-focused lives. Martin is now focused on helping clients who are at risk of deteriorating performance, stress, burnout and mental health issues due to a lack of emphasis on sleep, breathing, and stress resilience. By tackling these issues, clients can look forward to reduced stress and enhanced performance and happiness both at work and at home.

Martin has built a unique framework for living a successful, fulfilling and happy life with a healthy body and a high performance mindset. By realizing his vision of helping clients prioritize health, success, and performance, Martin can help you take back control of your mind and body to fulfill your life mission.


FACEBOOK: Performance Through Health

INSTAGRAM: @PerformanceThroughHealth


PODCAST: Performance Through Health


Have an idea for a future BREATH TO BREATH interview? Email me! Perrin Live with intention. Move with gratitude. Breathe with purpose.

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