Would you be interested in a free method for increased energy, improved blood circulation, reduced swelling, and even an improved complexion? Better yet, you already own the required equipment - your lungs. Studies show that simply learning how to breathe correctly can have remarkable effects throughout your body.
Breathing correctly can be as powerful as it is simple. The typical person only uses around twenty percent of their lung capacity, but with practice, they can learn how to tap into their lung's full potential. Sending better oxygen content to all the cells of the body can bring dramatic changes in general health and mood.
Famous health guru, Dr. Andrew Weil, says that if he could only give one tip for better health, it would be to breathe properly. Proper breathing technique is central to the ancient practices of Yoga, Qi Gong, Ayurveda and other meditation disciplines. A clinical study* of thousands of participants over a 30-year period presents convincing evidence that the most significant factor in peak health and long life is how well you breathe.
*You can get more information on the ongoing Framingham Heart Study from the Department of Health and Human Services/ National Institutes of Health/ National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/framingham/index.html
Breathing correctly is critical in maintaining the level of oxygen for energy, keeping the correct pH levels in the body, and enough carbon dioxide for bodily functions. Healthy people make 93 per cent of their energy aerobically ("in the presence of oxygen") but poor breathing habits can reduce the amount of energy made aerobically to 84 per cent. A full seventy percent of the elimination of wastes from the body is through breathing. The good news is that poor breathing habits can be reversed. Among infants, correct breathing comes naturally. Observe a baby as it breathes to see its belly rise and fall with each breath. As we grow older, we are taught to "suck in that gut" and "puff out that chest" as we try to achieve as slim a waist as possible. Such resistance to the natural breathing posture restricts oxygen intake, which can lead to numerous physical as well as emotional problems.
Too much oxygen, and not enough carbon dioxide, can create an agitated state. As you learn to exhale slowly, you conserve carbon dioxide and rebalance the system.
However, too much carbon dioxide, and not enough oxygen, can create feelings of fatigue and depression. Learning to inhale slowly re-balances your system by taking in more oxygen. In extreme cases, a restricted supply of oxygen can contribute to anxiety, panic attacks, and even phobias.
How to breathe "right"
With practice, you can be breathing this way naturally throughout the day.
Such advice can lead to hyperventilation (breathing too fast.) The amount of carbon dioxide in blood generally regulates breathing. If carbon dioxide is released too rapidly, the arteries and blood vessels constrict and an insufficient supply of oxygen to the cells results. This includes the blood (and oxygen) supply to the brain. Restricting oxygen supply to the brain can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (our "fight or flight" response) and cause tension, anxiety, mood swings, and depression.
Remembering to Breathe
Getting "lost" at a computer keyboard or within the pages of a good book happens to everyone. You will need a timer or similar alarm to remind you on a regular basis throughout the day to practice this skill. Kitchen timers work well as does a wristwatch alarm or cell phone alarm. As these require resetting and the audible alarm can be embarrassing in some settings, there is a "personal breathing coach" device on the market with a discreet, silent alarm at www.breathminder.com.
Unfortunately, this information is not widespread in today's medical community. Topics of illness and pathology are the priority of most healthcare training, not wellness. In addition, things that are free and can't be patented (like breathing) do not attract funding for research, so little finds its way into popular medical journals.
Breathing correctly can be as powerful as it is simple. Use the equipment you were given at birth (your lungs) to find remarkable health effects throughout your body.