Done! You’ve been shopping, come out of the store and the first thing you do is pull the mask off your face as quickly as you can with your fully packed arm. Then you breathe in a few puffs of fresh, cold winter air. How liberating, right? But in fact, this leads us to an important question:
How do you actually breathe?
We all know that humans need to breathe in order to survive. Far less well known, however, is the fact that it is not only that we breathe, but also how we breathe. With proper breathing, we can promote our health and improve our well-being. Incorrect breathing, on the other hand, can sometimes have fatal consequences. To find out how you breathe, there’s a simple experiment. Just pay attention right now to whether you are breathing through your nose or mouth at this very moment. How fast or slow is your breath flowing? Are you breathing fast and shallow? Or deep and slow? Where do you feel your breath moving? Into the chest? The belly?
Breathing always takes place and is mostly unconscious
Of course, you are not just breathing in this one moment right now. You breathe every moment of the day, most likely without even thinking about it. Your body regulates this for you – you probably only notice your breath when it doesn’t go so smoothly. For you, this may have been the agonizingly stuffy nose during the last cold, or the fast and frantic breathing when you just made a sprint to not miss your train.
Observation of one’s own breathing
If you want to find out how your breathing behaves in everyday life, you should do the little observation exercise you just did a little more often. To do this, I recommend a trick: set an alarm clock for yourself every hour for one day (on your cell phone, for example) and observe your breath every time it rings. Or you can link self-observation to a few fixed points in your daily routine and, for example, pay attention to how you actually breathe when you get ready in the morning, read your emails in the office, prepare dinner and during your evening activities, as well as during sports if necessary. Now that you’ve figured out how you breathe, you’re probably asking yourself the question:
What happens when you breathe wrong, anyway?
Researchers have found that up to 90% of people today are breathing incorrectly. Incorrect breathing can cause or aggravate chronic diseases. For example, it can cause sleep apnea. In sleep apnea, nighttime breathing stops repeatedly while sleeping. In the long run, this can cause or worsen high blood pressure, nerve disorders and autoimmune diseases. But asthma, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder or stress disorders can also be linked to improper breathing. Bad breath and tooth decay are other consequences that incorrect breathing can have.
Continuous breathing through the mouth has negative effects
About half of all people breathe mainly through their mouths. However, mouth breathing can be bad for your health if it becomes the norm. It can affect the nervous system, putting the body in a kind of permanent state of stress. The mouth, then, is not meant to be breathed through permanently alone. It is more of an emergency hatch that should only be used sparingly for breathing, such as during great physical exertion. In addition, in the long term, mouth breathing can cause the tissues in the throat to slacken and sink in. This can reduce the space in the airways, making nasal breathing even more difficult. Narrowed airways, in turn, are known to be a risk factor for infections, as bacteria or viruses accumulate more easily and the body has a harder time getting rid of them.
Breathing during sleep
Sleeping with your mouth open can further exacerbate the problem. Nighttime snoring is also mainly triggered by chronic mouth breathing. This can lead to less restful sleep and less time spent in the deep sleep phase. In addition, mouth breathing causes the body to lose significantly more water, which can lead, among other things, to us waking up thirsty and our bodies lacking water.
So how do you breathe properly?
Permanent mouth breathing causes us to breathe even more through the mouth. However, if we consciously breathe more through the nose, this can lead to the tissue in the nasal cavity and throat being strengthened and the airways widening again in the long term. Breathing through the nose then becomes easier again. We get better air.
Breathe slowly and through the nose
Slow inhalation and exhalation is also very important to efficiently absorb oxygen from the air and relax. The longer the air remains in the lungs, the more oxygen they can extract from the air we breathe. Many people, on the other hand, breathe much too fast on a permanent basis. By breathing slowly through the nose, the body can relax and make optimal use of the air it breathes. In addition, the nose preheats the air, humidifies it and filters out harmful particles. This also allows the air in the lungs to be utilized more efficiently. Breathing out fully and slowly before the next breath is also important to let out the stale air. Breathing too shallowly can be harmful over time because it can reduce the capacity of the lungs. However, adequate lung capacity is important to take in air well. As we age, the lungs lose capacity. Any sport that you do regularly can help expand lung capacity or maintain it for as long as possible. Even regular walking or cycling can make a valuable contribution.
For whom is proper breathing particularly helpful?
In principle, everyone can benefit from healthy breathing. In particular, however, people with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD or asthma may be able to achieve significant relief of their symptoms through better breathing. Proper breathing can also help with nighttime snoring and sleep apnea, as well as high blood pressure. Do you, like many people, suffer from stress in everyday life or acute high stress? Or would you simply like to bring more peace and serenity into your life? Better breathing can help here, too! In the case of illnesses such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, panic attacks, anxiety disorders or depression, there is also evidence that better breathing can contribute to recovery.
With the right breathing to more well-being and health
With proper breathing, you can permanently influence your autonomic nervous system and improve your health. Breathing exercises can make a valuable contribution to learning and practicing healthier breathing.
In my practice, I use a comprehensive medical history and thorough diagnostics to first determine the causes of your current symptoms and then create a holistic treatment approach for you. In addition to nasal breathing, which is an important basis, for example, the immune system test to determine viruses, bacteria and other disturbing factors of the respiratory tract can be used, or heart rate variability training, which helps the respiratory and nervous systems to regulate better and become healthy, as well as, in the case of psychological problems, the Rosen Method bodywork, which helps you to achieve natural free breathing and to permanently process old emotional ballast.
Do you have questions for me about breathing or do you want to learn to breathe better permanently? Then please feel free to make a free online video appointment or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 089 32 80 88 97.
I am looking forward to meeting you!
Your Sebastian Weber
Important note: The treatment methods mentioned in my blogs originate from empirical medicine. The majority of these established, medical therapy methods have not yet been sufficiently scientifically validated according to the principles of evidence-based medicine (orthodox medicine). In particular, randomized, controlled studies or comprehensive meta-analyses do not yet exist. A success of the empirical medical therapy forms cannot be guaranteed in every treatment case.