by Patrick Mckeown
Nasal breathing is something many people take for granted. And yet, it is something so many people donâ€™t do or donâ€™t do correctly. They consider breathing as an automatic activity, that needs no attention â€” what a mistake.
In this article, we will talk a little bit about the health benefits of nose breathing. You will learn why it is so important, and why you should incorporate techniques like the Buteyko method if you want to achieve long-term health.
Nose Breathing Protects You from Diseases
The first of many benefits of breathing through the nose is its filtering property. Nature designed our noses to stop bacteria and viruses from reaching our lungs, and through them, the rest of our organism.
There are several methods of how this defence functions. First, there are hairs. They are there to stop any bigger debris from going through, mainly dust and pollen.
But nose hairs work together with mucus inside it. They trap bacteria, viruses, fungi, and all other things that end up in your nostrils during the day. All this results in nose-breathers catching fewer colds than people who breathe through the mouth.
Also, our sinuses produce nitric oxide, which is responsible for fighting pathogens in our body, further boosting immunity.
However, the problem with this is that you have to breathe through your nose if you want this defence to work. If your breathing is obstructed, or your breathing technique is wrong, your nose wonâ€™t do its job, leaving you vulnerable.
When breathing through your nose, your lungs get more oxygen, particularly the lower part of it. Thatâ€™s important, because most people only use the upper lobes of the lungs, breathing shallowly and rapidly. By learning the nasal breathing Buteyko method, you will supply your lungs with an optimal amount of oxygen, re-energizing the body.
Most people use only up to 20% of their lungs. Through breathing exercises, you will expand your lung capacity, using those forgotten parts of these vital organs.
Oxygen is our driving force, and through improved oxygenation, you will boost energy levels, and overall health. Otto Warburg received a Nobel Prize for his discovery that only those cells that are not receiving enough oxygen start to mutate, which can lead to cancer.
But, the exhalation is often neglected. Through it, our body releases toxins. But, exhalation is actually the part of breathing where our bodies extract oxygen. When you breathe through the nose, the tempo is slower, and lungs have more time to process that O2 fully.
Thereâ€™s also nitric oxide, an important element that our body uses for expanding blood vessels, improving blood flow, but also boosting immunity and preventing organ damage. This is only possible during nasal breathing, as NO forms in sinuses.
Better Exercise Performance
When breathing through the nose while exercising, our body cleans itself much better, releasing CO2.
Nasal breathing can also improve stamina, decreasing the breathing rate, and also perceived exertion. Thatâ€™s why nose breathing is the preferred method of many endurance athletes, including Scott Jurek, a famous ultramarathon runner.
There is also one more benefit, especially if you work out outside. When breathing through the nose, the air travels longer before reaching your lungs. Therefore, it is warmer, once it does. Warmer air is much gentler on your throat and lungs, and wonâ€™t trigger cough or leave a sore throat.
But, during the summer, the effect of the nose and sinuses is the oppositeâ€”they cool down the air. Thatâ€™s why you should breathe through your nostrils whenever possible.
Boosted Brain Function
Nose breathing helps hypothalamus, which is the â€śgeneralâ€ť responsible for controlling many functions throughout the body.
Proper nasal breathing exercises (like the Buteyko method) will increase the airflow through both nostrils, resulting in balancing out both the sympathetic and parasympathetic functions of the hypothalamus.
But, because it is also much slower than mouth breathing, nasal breathing slows down the organism. You can use nasal breathing in high-stress situations, as it will help you calm down and reduce stress.
This feature makes nasal breathing a good option for people with hypertension, anxiety, or panic attacks.
Exercising Nasal Breathing Will Prevent Snoring and Apnea
People who suffer from sleep apnea, a severe condition with side-effects that can shorten the lifespan, or who snore, always breathe through the mouth.
While itâ€™s hard to control yourself while sleeping, learning the proper breathing technique, and strengthening the lungs and the respiratory system will reprogram your habits. Through exercise, you will reduce, or even completely stop snoring, opening up the airways. You can also use chin strips, to physically restrain yourself from opening your mouth during sleep.
You Will Look Better
To breathe through your mouth, you have to keep them open. Letâ€™s face it, having your mouth open all the time doesnâ€™t make you look too smart, does it? Avoid if possible!
Breathing Through The Mouth Has Its Place Too
Look, nose breathing has many benefits, especially if you learn how to do it right. But, sometimes you should breathe through the mouth. There is a reason why nature supplied us with alternatives.
Mouth breathing allows you to get more in and out much quicker. In extreme situations when your body has less oxygen, you have to use mouth breathing.
But, if you regularly practice proper nasal breathing techniques, you will strengthen your lungs, and the situations where you have to breathe through the mouth, gasping for air will become scarce.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should learn proper nasal breathing. It is natureâ€™s default way, and itâ€™s a pity how rare it is that people use it correctly.
There are many different breathing methods, more or less effective. The Buteyko method is one of the most effective ones, especially for treating asthma, snoring and sleep apnea.
Through this unique method, you will teach yourself how to breathe the right way, ensuring the optimal amount of oxygen (and carbon dioxide) is in the lungs at all times, benefiting your health as a whole.
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