How You Breathe Can Change your Life.
When I first started to question the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function, breathing, I found myself thinking, “I’ve been doing this my whole life. What’s the big deal … right?” I figured that my body knew what it was doing when it came to breathing. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
As with many other things that we take for granted, I came to see that there is a hidden benefit in trying to understand what’s really going on with our breathing patterns and the significance of doing it properly.
Proper breathing and certain techniques cannot only help us relax but can also help us fight disease and improve our general health and well-being. Once you know and understand this, you might be surprised at how much you can achieve with some simple breathing techniques.
There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing correctly.
Breathing techniques are considered to be effective methods for universal stress release. Studies in this regard have shown that mere breath control induces deep relaxation and increases body temperature, favoring a calm state. They can be put into practice in the office, at home, or in the park. They are free, require very little training to perform them correctly, and quickly dispel the negative effects of chronic stress.
Scientists at Harvard, Stanford, and other institutions have also discovered that today a large percentage of us are breathing incorrectly and this failure is either causing or aggravating a laundry list of diseases. On a more inspiring note, some of these researchers were further showing that many modern maladies such as asthma, anxiety, hypertension, and psoriasis could be reduced or reversed simply by changing the way we breathe.
Breathing therapy can help to treat the following problems:
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep disorders/Insomnia
- Exacerbated states of physical and mental tension
- Focus and concentration Issues
- Phobias and panic disorders
- Heart Disease
- Sleep Apnea
How can we breathe to become more healthy?
Here are a few of the suggestions that James Nestor offers in his book, Breathe.
- Breathe In And Out Through Your Nose: When we breathe through our nose we are humidifying, pressurizing, and conditioning air. We are filtering that air out so by the time the air gets to our lungs it can more easily be absorbed and we can easily extract oxygen from it. Nearly half of all people are chronic mouth breathers and are chronically stressed and exhausted as a result.
- Slow it Down and Breathe Less: Breathing less is applicable for almost anyone (that doesn’t have chronic lung health problems). If you’re someone in reasonable health, there is a good chance that you are breathing more than you have to. If anyone doubts this get a pulse oximeter and watch what happens when you breathe less. Chances are that your oxygen levels will increase or not change at all. It’s about using the breath in your body most efficiently, not constantly needing more.
- Rhythmic Breathing: Symmetrical inhales and exhales produce maximum benefit. One of the breathing techniques that James recommends in his book is inhaling for 6 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds through the nose, which translates to about 6 breaths per minute.
- Exhaling Slowly Can HelpYou Relax: According to a 2010 study, this method of breathing helps your parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for your ability to relax) slow down your fight & flight response. Aiming to breathe deeply can help increase your lung capacity and also help get your heart rate up. These small changes increase your lung capacity and boost your lung size up to 15%.
It doesn’t matter what you eat, or how much time you spend exercising, whether you’re fat or skinny, young or strong, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.
Just Do It!
Whether you find a few moments throughout the day to take in some deep breaths to help you relax and calm down, or have a need to learn some new breathing techniques, anyone can use breathing for their benefit.
By changing the way in which you breathe, you can actually not only help to change your physical health but also the way in which your mind is processing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. How we breathe absolutely affects us!
The science and practices such as the Wim Hof Method, the program Oxygen Advantage, and the book Breath can help you to learn more about this.
For more detailed information about breathing check out the links and articles below:
YouTube: Why you should Breathe through Your Nose for Better Sleep and Good Health by James Nestor
YouTube: Benefit of Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown