I recently read a great book on breathing written by James Nestor titled “Breath”.
There isn’t much that I read nowadays in the health and well-being arena that is fresh and groundbreaking. Breath was the first book in years on a topic I new very little about that was so important to health and longevity.
If you are interested in buying the book or downloading the audible version – here is the Amazon UK link
Here are some of the important lessons you will learn in the book (amongst more):
Breathing through your mouth is seriously bad for your health. You should practice breathing through your notice all day every day as your nose is the first line of defence for viruses etc and it warms the breath before sending it down to your lungs. I also read a few articles like this one recently which hinted that correctly breathing through your nose (especially when wearing a mask) would vastly reduce your risk of catching Covid-19! increasing nitric oxide delivery to the body’s cells (which is achieved through nasal breathing) or laying people on their sides rather than their backs—are currently being adopted in an effort to treat patients with COVID-19
Breathing out so you empty your lungs of stale air is equally important. There is an interesting tale of a pulmonaut (a non medical practitioner who teaches correct breathing techniques) called Carl Stough who treated emphysema patients in the 1950’s and 1960’s with unconventional techniques such as massaging a patient’s neck and throat while having them repeatedly count to five.
Developing your lung capacity is key to longevity. It is a better predictor of how long a person will live than any other anatomical technique. Those amongst us who work at increasing their lung capacity via various practices generally live the longest. As with most things in life (human growth hormone, collagen, our muscles etc.) our lung capacity naturally declines with age but can be reversed if we are dedicated and practice techniques mentioned in the book.
C02 can play a vital role in your body. One of James’ friends from Sweden who takes part in a mouth/nose breathing experiment with him theorises that we are not getting enough C02 (not oxygen).
Most of us need to slow down our breathing. Frequency of breath is crucial; while science reveals that the ideal rate is approximately 5.5 breaths per minute, many people breathe too fast. James proposes inhaling for 5½ seconds and then exhaling for 5½ seconds as respiration’s magic metric.
We are introduced in the book to an ancient Buddhist practice known as Tummo (inner fire meditation). It has something of a global profile thanks to Dutch extreme athlete and Tummo devotee Wim Hof, who has set records for swimming under ice and running barefoot on snow. Tummo employs a system of heavy hyperventilation for several minutes followed by a sequence of holding the breath for 15 seconds at a time, as well as periodic exposure to cold. You breathe like crazy for 20 minutes. You’re just going for it. You’re holding your breath and then you’re doing it again. The idea is to trigger the sympathetic nervous system, which puts you on high alert. It purposely stresses your body out by controlling the knob on your own body. But then the other 23½ hours of the day you feel completely chilled and relaxed.