Take a Deep Breath

Nov 24

Take a Deep Breath

When was the last time you took a deep breath?  Did you know that breathing well – filling and emptying your lungs completely on a regular basis – is one of the best foundations for health?

Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP, in her article: Deep breathing — the truly essential exercise, says:

I have noticed that a surprising number of my patients show irregularly high levels of carbon dioxide in their blood. Interestingly, the carbon dioxide level is often abnormal when all the others tests of the blood are fine. In fact, I probably see more abnormal tests for carbon dioxide than for standard glucose, kidney or liver tests.

While this is not life threatening, it does tell me that my patient is not inhaling enough oxygen or exhaling enough carbon dioxide, which can have consequences such as fatigue, mental fog and decreased tissue function. I often note “needs to breathe” on a patient’s chart. Not the shallow chest breathing many of us default into, but deep, meaningful breaths, or “belly breathing.”

I did some research on the web, and here are the benefits I found that come from good breathing:

Good breathing

  1. Stress management
  2. Relaxation
  3. Helps manage eating disorders
  4. Weight loss
  5. Purifies the bloodstream
  6. Increases energy by increasing the hormone Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
  7. Slows aging
  8. Improved mental ability
  9. Improves digestion
  10. Rejuvenates the glands of the body
  11. Feeds the skin so it glows and looks younger
  12. Massages internal organs so they perform better
  13. Reduces stress on the heart
  14. Lowers blood pressure
  15. Relaxes the muscles
  16. Burns fat
  17. Releases endorphins (“Happy Hormones”)
  18. Reduces asthma
  19. Reduces insomnia
  20. Reduces water retension

Most of us use only 20% of our lung capacity. You can take a Breathing Test here to see how you measure up. It takes about 10 minutes to do, and you get some pretty detailed results that will help you increase your overall wellness. Pretty cool.

Simple breathing exercises done daily will vastly improve your capacity. But how do you breathe correctly? Here are the steps taken from: Breathing Techniques

Although this exercise can be practiced in a variety of poses, the following is recommended for beginners:

  • Lie down on a blanket or rug on the floor. Bend your knees and move your feet about eight inches apart, with your toes turned outward slightly. Make sure your spine is straight.
  • Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose into your abdomen to push up your hand as much as feels comfortable. Your chest should move only a little and only with your abdomen.
  • Continue step three until it becomes rhythmic and comfortable. Now smile slightly, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, making a quiet, breezy sound as you gently blow out. Your mouth, tongue and jaw will be relaxed.
  • Take long, slow, deep breaths raising and lowering your abdomen. Hear the sound and feel the texture of breathing as you become more and more relaxed.
  • When you first begin this technique, do it for five minutes. When you become more comfortable with it, you may extend it up to 20 minutes.
  • Upon ending a session, stay still for a few minutes and try to keep the entire body relaxed.

The purpose of this technique is to develop a good, relaxing breathing method. It may be practiced anytime, especially during stressful situations.

And there you have it! A quick primer on breathing. Before you leave, take a few deep breaths and see how it makes you feel!

Darlene

Don’t forget to pick up your FREE COPY of the PraiseWalker Primer! And also, please check out my Christmas challenge here!

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