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For thousands of years, breathing practices were believed to improve our health and wellness.
Modern research has shown that this is still the case: proper breathing can help us boost our immune system, lower blood pressure, accelerate healing and much more.You may be wondering: “why would I need to learn how to breathe? I was born breathing!”
Well, yes, apparently we were all breathing professionals as new-borns.
According to Don Campbell, author of Perfect Breathing: Transform Your Life One Breath At A Time, we were born with a natural ability to breathe. If you ever watched a baby breath, he says, “you will notice that they inhale naturally and deeply and their stomachs expands like a balloon with each breath”.
Sadly, however, this ability doesn’t follow us for too long: modern life and its usual patterns such as stressful lifestyle and sedentary habits take over our natural ability to breathe slowly. Have you observed your breathing pattern when you are experiencing emotional overwhelm or everyday stress?
As stated in one of Harvard Medical School’s publications on breathing: “one reason may be that our culture often rewards us for stifling strong emotions. Girls and women are expected to rein in anger. Boys and men are exhorted not to cry. What happens when you hold back tears, stifle anger during a charged confrontation, tiptoe through a fearful situation, or try to keep pain at bay? Unconsciously, you hold your breath or breathe irregularly.”
Breathing can help us relax and gain focus by getting rid of the tensions in our body.
That’s why ancient practices like yoga, meditation and Pilates are proven methods for your mind body health.
THE BENEFITS OF SLOW BREATHING
“When we go below 10 breaths a minute we engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body relax when it has been injured”, states Clinical Psychologist Dr. Meunch. Slow breathing, he continues: “activates the vagus nerve, the primary cranial nerve, which is associated with a recuperative state.”
The benefits of breathing don’t stop here though.
Slow breathing has been proved to regulate high blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors for strokes and heart attacks.
For this reason, different breathing devices have recently landed to the market, including Resporate. This device first monitors patient’s breaths per minute.
Then it plays musical notes so that the patient can breathe in on one note, and breathes out on another.
The slower the breath, the longer the note will play.
On top of physical benefits, breathing also affects our minds.
With deep inhalation we bring more oxygen into our bodies, with deep exhalation we are removing toxins from our body. Simple yet fascinating process.
SO HOW DO WE BREATHE PROPERLY?
The air you breathe in through your nose should go all the way down to your stomach. Your breathing muscles consist of the diaphragm and muscles in your core, chest, neck and shoulders. For deep breath, 70-80% of the inhaling should be done by pushing your diaphragm away from your ribcage. In simple words, go back to being a baby and fill your belly and chest with oxygen!
Try this breathing exercise out. This can be executed anywhere, at your desk in the office, at home or when on public transportation:
1) Inhale deeply, for 2 seconds. When you do this, think of filling your lungs from the bottom to the top.
2) Hold for 1 second.
3) To help activate your diaphragm, exhale for 2 seconds, as it you were blowing out a candle.
4) Hold for another second.
Once you master this simple exercise, your body will remember this breathing technique and you will start to incorporate slow breathing into your daily activities.
Sir, I am 30 years old male and have a problem with back pain last 1 year. I have used so many ointments and tablets for couple of days but haven't got any relief so please suggest me doctor for permanent cure.
Our digestive system is made up of a complex set up of organs, enzymes, secretions and much more. In order to ensure that they all function in tandem with each other so that our digestion works properly, we need to take many measures. Solid food and liquids both go hand in hand when it comes to digesting your food properly. Water is one of the main elements that one must ingest regularly during the day so that the body remains hydrated and the stool also softens. It is also a digestive aid. Yet, there are two varied schools of thought when it comes to drinking water during one’s meals. While some people say that it is good, there are others who say that it should not be practiced. So let us find out whether having water during your meals is a good thing or not.
- Stomach Acids: If we are to look at water during a meal from the perspective of our stomach acids, then most doctors will tell you that there is no problem in having water with your food. The main doubt here is whether or not the acidic fluid flowing through our stomach may become too diluted with the consumption of water. However, this does not happen. Various medical studies conducted by reliable hospitals and sources under a controlled environment have shown that the stomach’s pH balance is not affected by the consumption of water during a meal.
- Digestive Process: While the stomach acids may not suffer due to consumption of water during a meal, there are other schools of thought where people refrain from drinking water with food so that better digestion may be achieved. But this is also not entirely true. Digestion is well-known for being a complicated process where many elements need to work together for its proper functioning. This function includes a comfortable and healthy body and state of mind after one has a meal. Therefore, it is more important to have the right kind of food at the right time in a proper environment instead of rushing through one’s meals and eating junk all the time.
- Constipation and Overeating: Drinking water during the meal can help in curbing constipation as it helps in softening the stool. It also helps in clearing the food from the digestive track in a better and timely manner so that the toxins and stool do not remain there. This is due to the fact that drinking water during meals keeps the digestive track well-lubricated. Also, when you drink water with your meals, you tend to avoid overeating as water fills up substantial portion your stomach. Further, water has important nutrients that can suffice for your nutritional requirements along with food. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.