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Just Breathe… Your Way to Better Health

Every day we take around 20,000 breaths, mostly unconsciously. We breathe to give oxygen to our bodies and remove waste carbon dioxide.  But is that all there is to it? Read on to discover more about how you can take control of your breathing to create changes that can decrease stress, improve your mood and benefit your immune system.

The Relaxation Response

When in a stressful ‘fight or flight’ situation, or if you have ever experienced a panic attack, you will notice that your breathing becomes rapid and shallow. Taking conscious, voluntary control over your breathing can trigger the opposite effect – the relaxation response – activating your parasympathetic nervous system and calming your whole body and mind. In this state your heart rate and digestion slows, and improvements can be seen in conditions such as anxiety, hypertension, sleep apnea, and ageing. Brain growth, improved brain functioning and increased self-awareness are even more of the amazing research-backed benefits that can occur through simple changes to breathing technique.

How Best to Breathe

In general, breathing is best when slow, steady, and through your nose. Exercises used in yoga, Pilates and meditation sometimes emphasise  taking large, deep breaths in through your mouth, but research has demonstrated that breathing through your nose is considerably more beneficial for your health and fitness, and breathing technique crucially affects facial development in children.

Give it a Go!

If the health benefits associated with the relaxation response sound appealing to you, have a go at this simple exercise right now, using the Buteyko method:

  1. Put one hand on the top part of your chest, with the other on your abdomen.
  2. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose. Feel your belly rise. Breathe out through your nose and feel your belly drop. Continue breathing in this way and focus on the air flowing in and out of your nose.
  3. Now stop and hold your breath for 5 seconds.
  4. Breathe again normally, as before, for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat the sequence.

If you’d like to learn more about breathing techniques and how to gain maximum healing benefits, please contact the clinic to arrange a consultation with Vivienne