The simple technique of ‘deep breathing’ can make a powerful contribution to feeling good and being fit and well.
Our bodies need an abundance of physical and mental energy to be able to function at their best. The energy source is food,but food is useless without oxygen, which is the key to our power. The more oxygen we deliver to our cells, the more energy we will have.
Breathing is the way we obtain oxygen and the benefits of periodic deep-breathing are enormous. However, if our breathing is shallow, we cripple the functioning of our systems. When the oxygen supply to our lungs is not sufficient, it can contribute to illnesses, both physical and mental.
Posture is important for proper breathing. Most of us spend time bent over a desk or bench or walk and stand with rounded shoulders. The chest is partially collapsed and hardly moving.
People who have a stooped posture with shoulders hunched forward, tend to breath using only the lower part of their chest, which is called diaphragmatic breathing. As a result, the rib-cage remain partially collapsed and loses mobility, eventually making proper breathing virtually impossible.
If the lungs cannot pump a sufficient amount of air into the body, the bloodstream will not be sufficient cleansed of its main exhaust gas, which is carbon dioxide. As a result, the blood returns with a mixture of oxygen and an excessive level of acidic carbon dioxide: ‘exhaust fumes’.
If the body is short of oxygen it cannot function properly, including digestion, assimilation of nutrients and elimination of wastes. The accumulating wastes add to the congestion in the bloodstream, increasing its acidity and further reducing its oxygen carrying capacity and thus a vicious cycle is created.
As a result, the eliminative organs cannot cope with the level of waste products and some will be discharged via the sweat glands in the skin, producing body odour. Other wastes may be discharged via heavy mucus secretion in the nose, sinuses, bronchial tubes, lungs or digestive tract and we will then say we have cold, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, gastritis or colitis respectively.
Lack of oxygen also means incomplete combustion of fuels: carbohydrates and fat, leading to lethargy and a further accumulation of acidic waste products,a condition we call ‘toxaemia’.
Our brain, which requires much more oxygen to function properly than the rest of our body, suffers first and thinking becomes sluggish and unclear.
Shallow breathing can cause a range of emotional and physical disorders and psychosomatic symptoms. When we try to avoid feeling of emotional trauma, we hold our breath, pause or breathe shallowly and this pattern of breath avoidance becomes a habit.
The compromised respiration reinforces chronic tension , which further suppresses full respiration.The results can be debilitating, and emotional responses are becoming increasingly inhibited. The body looses energy , organs and tissues are adversely affected and our immune responses weaken.
From the physical point of view, shallow breathing does not deliver an adequate change of air at the base of the lungs, where two- thirds of lung capacity is located. Through shallow breathing many people are starving themselves of oxygen.
Adrian Joele became interested in nutrition and weight management while he was an associate with an nutritional supplement company in 2002. Since 2008 he wrote several articles about nutrition.
He likes to share his knowledge with anyone who could benefit from it, He enjoys helping other people solve their problems.