Breathing – You’re Doing It Wrong
Because we know you needed another thing to worry about…did you know you could be breathing wrong?!
Breathe in – breathe out. It sounds simple, right? While breathing is an unconscious, involuntary bodily function, believe it or not, there is actually a right way and a wrong way to direct oxygen into your lungs (and most people are only breathing at 10-20% of their full lung capacity).
Let’s take a look at what it means to ‘breathe properly’ and how it can benefit your daily life!
Effects of Improper Breathing
You have two passageways that draw air into your lungs – your nose and your mouth.
Sometimes it is necessary to breath through your mouth – like when you’re vigorously exercising or experiencing high levels of nasal congestions due to allergies or illness – but this shouldn’t be practiced all the time.
Poor breathing techniques, such as mouth breathing, have been linked to many health issues as well as sleep-related problems such as insomnia. A survey conducted by Breathe Right found that more than 61% of respondents regularly breathe through their mouth instead of their nose while sleeping.
Common side effects of mouth breathing in your sleep include nasal congestion, dry mouth, gum disease, bad breath, and snoring. Other potential health risks include high blood pressure and a decline in respiratory function. Children who primarily breathe through their mouth can develop facial deformities, crooked teeth, and stunted growth. All of these health concerns can seem scary, but luckily there is a solution – nasal breathing!
Benefits of Nasal Breathing
Your nose produces nitric oxide, a property that helps increase your lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen and transport it throughout your body. Nitric oxide also contains anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antibacterial properties that enable your immune system to fight off infections. Breathing through your nose also engages the olfactory bulbs, which are an extension of the hypothalamus – the ‘brain’s brain’ which is responsible for many of the automatic functions in our bodies such as heartbeat, sleep cycles, blood pressure, thirst, and appetite as well as generating chemicals that influence our memories and emotions.
When you breathe in through your nose, the hair follicles and mucous membranes help trap bacteria, dust, and pollen before they make their way into your lungs. Not only is the air somewhat filtered as it passes through your nasal cavities, it is also warmed and moistened to prevent dryness in both the bronchial tubes and the lungs.
Breathing through your nose also adds resistance to slows the air down as it enters your lungs to prevent over-breathing (aka: hyperventilation). When you breathe air in too rapidly, like when you’re breathing through your mouth or hyperventilating, it reduces the amount of CO2 in your blood.
Retrain Your Body to Breathe Properly
Now that you know why nasal breathing is essential, it’s time to dive into techniques you can use and routines you can establish to help retrain your body to breathe properly
- Nasal Irrigation: An accumulation of toxins take place in your nose and it’s imperative to find a sage way to get rid of them. Using nasal irrigation tools a few times a week, such as a Neti Pot, is one way to do this.
- Nasya: Moisturize your nose by using an ancient Ayurvedic practice, Nasya, where you lubricate the nasal cavity with coconut or sesame oil. Nasya fosters deep inhalation by opening up the nasal passage, clearing out stagnant, dry mucus, and relieving congestion.
- Nasal Dilators and Filters: Invest in a high-quality nasal dilator with filtration, such as the O2 brand. Nasal dilators gently open your nasal passages to increase airflow, while the filters capture pollution, viruses, pollen, and other allergens that are known to cause congestion.
- Belly Breathing: Chest or shallow breathing is a lazy, ineffective, and unhealthy way of breathing that is usually contributed to poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, focus on breathing through the nose and into the belly, engaging your diaphragm.
Retraining your body to breathe correctly takes a degree of awareness and self-control, but by practicing proper nasal breathing techniques, implementing nasal irrigation, and wearing nose filters, you’ll see an increase in energy and related benefits within a few days – which can lead to a lifetime of health and happiness.
Interested in trying O2 Nose Filters? Click here for a FREE (+S&H) sample pack to see which size works best for you!