BREATHE BETTER, PERFORM BETTER
DEVELOPING A HEALTHIER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE YOU THROUGH BETTER BREATHING
Somewhere along our human development, we lost the path to proper breathing. As James Nestor wrote in his book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art: "There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet as species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences."
We were meant to breathe through our noses, not our mouths. However, breathing through our mouths seems to occur even when we're very young. As studies have shown, approximately 50%-60% of children are mouth breathers. This could be the result of air-hunger from enlarged adenoids, allergic rhinitis, small nasal passages, or a breathing disorder that they acquired along the way. This can lead to anatomical changes in the sinuses, nasal passages, jaw size, and shape that can further compromise our breathing.
Mouth-breathing is not just a problem with children, but can also occur later in life--teenagers and adults--leading to significant health consequences including but not limited to obstructive sleep apnea, asthma/poorly controlled asthma, anxiety, panic attacks, hypertension, and dysfunctional breathing. In regards to the latter, we are seeing this occur in an ever-growing population of long-haulers or post-acute COVID syndrome, where patients are significantly breathless, have brain fog, and have an array of symptoms that are having a devastating effect on their lives.
Dysfunctional breathing involves oral breathing, increased respiratory rate, frequent sighing and yawning, paradoxical breathing, and movement of the upper chest. Causes of dysfunctional breathing include asthma, a genetic predisposition, the belief that it is beneficial to take deep breaths and breathe more air, anxiety, stress, trauma, lack of physical exercise, hormonal changes, and eating processed food.
"The perfect man breathes as if he does not breathe."
WHO SHOULD SEEK A BREATHING ASSESSMENT?
Anyone actually is a candidate for a breathing assessment. Since the majority of people don't breathe correctly, what can be learned from this assessment and the exercises implemented by me could make a significant impact on improving your mindfulness and lead to a healthier and more productive life. Of course, individuals with dysfunctional breathing and a history of asthma, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, chronic cough, chronic fatigue, ADHD, and long-haulers from COVID-19 definitely should seek such an assessment, as this would determine an individualized exercise program using nasal breathing to help them with these conditions.
In addition, proper breathing can help athletes improve their performance and endurance. Non-athletes or the casual athlete may not be aware that they have an issue and have not yet developed health problems, could begin to learn breathing techniques that would prevent the development of such health issues, this assessment would be considered a preemptive and preventative approach.