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WellnessBreathing – It’s Not as Simple as You May Think

Breathing – It’s Not as Simple as You May Think

The Buteyko method is a breathing method named for the Russian doctor by whom it was developed. Patrick McKeown teaches the method both in his native Ireland and around the world. He shared information about breathing in a TED talk. McKeown says breathing correctly allows you to get higher levels of oxygen throughout your body and brain, and it is a powerful way to relieve anxiety and stress.

Many people have fallen into dysfunctional breathing patterns, particularly over-breathing and breathing through the mouth. Both of these patterns have adverse health effects. Mouth breathing even changes your facial structure by making your facial features narrow and droop. Narrowing of the back jaws increases your risk of developing of sleep apnea.

Breathing through your nose supports good health, and it is also useful in managing stress. During times of stress, your breath is faster, deeper and noisier. You are more apt to breathe through your mouth and your breath may be shallower, coming from your upper chest rather than your diaphragm. To calm yourself, breathe slowly from your diaphragm. Breathe less, and breathe through your nose.

Most people don’t realize your nose governs thirty different functions in your body. Nerves within your nasal passages connect directly to your hypothalamus. They sense your breathing and use that information to direct bodily functions. As an example, nitric oxide (NO) is released during breathing. NO is then carried from your nose into your lungs. NO is a gas, and it assists in maintaining homeostasis (balance) in your body.

As you breathe through your nose, nitric oxide sterilizes the air that enters your lungs. It opens up your airways and increases the oxygenation of your blood. Nature designed you to breathe through your nose, yet you may have developed a dysfunctional breathing pattern and mouth breathing that is actually hurting your health.

Dysfunctional breathing leads to health problems, which may include asthma. If you have asthma, you feel as though you are not getting the air you need, so you tend to breath heavier, increasing the volume of air coming into your lungs. This causes a loss of carbon dioxide.

In his TED talk, Patrick McKeown discusses other aspects of healthy breathing, and he walks his audience through the correct techniques.


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