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De-Stress with Breath

Release graphicWho would have thought the way we breath has such a massive impact on all aspects of our health. Something that is so innate, something we don’t even think about, yet it is essential for our very survival. It is a function we all carry out approximately 14-16 times each minute of every hour, of every day of our lives.

I read a fabulous book recently, written by James Nestor. It is titled Breath. It turns out that how we breath and the rate at which we breath can have massive affects on our health and wellbeing. In fact if we breathe through our mouths this can have detrimental effects on our health, and even lead ultimately to sickness.

It turns out that simply breathing through our noses, we are able to filter the air coming into our lungs, and it helps to regulate our blood pressure and our heart rate. Breathing through our mouths does none of these things. What is also evident is that mouth breathing affects our teeth and also the shape of our mouth and head. Supposedly our diets and the fact that we have more processed food, which requires less chewing has also contributed to our poor dental health and mouth breathing.

Our inhalation (breathing in) and exhalation (breathing out) are equally important. This action of air in and air out, exercises our diaphragm and allows us to fully inflate our lungs, very important for our health and wellbeing.

However, interestingly it is also important to take slow and shallow breaths too, this helps with our oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange which is essential for life. It turns out if we can inhale for 5.5 second and exhale for 5.5 seconds, breathing approximately 5.5 breaths per minute this will help our blood vessels dilate and transport more blood around the body.

Breathing correctly or what we refer to as ‘belly breathing’ helps to regulate our parasympathetic response, which promotes ease in the body, a state of healing and good digestion.

Proper breathing has a massive effect on calming our nervous system and many ancient practices have adopted specialised breathing techniques which practice this to promote ease in the body and mind. For example meditation, yoga practices and Wimhof breathing.

Through the act of a few simple, mindful breaths we can self regulate and de-stress.

Woman with arms outstretchedBreathing correctly has become so important that there are breathing clinics where people are coached how to breath correctly for their health and wellbeing.

One particular ancient practice is Buteyko Breathing, this practice was developed by Dr Konstantin Buteyko of Russia. He discovered that that breathing was not only the cure of many ailments, but also the cause of many too. He went onto develop a specialised technique which has helped many patients who suffered with asthma, sleep apnea, insomnia, snoring, chronic fatigue and anxiety.

Do take the time to check out our podcast recording with Dina Ceniza from the The Breathe Clinic for a more detailed look into the power of breath and the Buteyko technique.

So stop what you are doing, and breath in through your nose for 5.5 seconds, breathe out for 5.5 seconds and do this 5 times – feel that stress slip away!

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