Breathing is central to life providing us with the energy required to survive and thrive in our daily activities.
It is the process of bringing air, and oxygen into the lungs through the mouth or nose (inhaling) and removing air from the lungs (exhaling). All of our daily tasks, such as digesting food, moving our muscles, and thinking, require oxygen.
Many of us overlook the importance of breathing, unaware of how to breathe correctly.
Dr Ron Ehrlich recently spoke with Brent Bultitude of Radio Station 2HD to discuss the difference between “just” breathing and “breathing well.” He emphasised the importance of understanding the distinction, as breathing affects every system in your body.
“The secret to living a long life is to keep breathing for as long as you can,
and an important part of living a ‘healthy’ long life is to breathe well…
There’s a big difference between breathing and breathing well.”
~ Dr Ron
How Can We ‘Breathe Well’?
Breathing through your nose is important because it helps to reduce your risk of allergies, asthma, and upper-respiratory problems. In addition, the nose has an integrated air filtration and humidification system, which filters the air before it enters your lungs.
The following are the five levels of air filtration:
Hairs in the nose which filter out the particles
Mucus lining, sinuses, turbulence, and nasal passages which kill bacteria
Adenoids which trap harmful bacteria and viruses
Tonsils kill germs and help to prevent throat and lung infections
Nitric acid that is produced when you breathe and acts as your body’s first line of defence against airborne pathogens
Dr Ron believes there is no better time than now to breathe through your nose, considering the ongoing global pandemic. Studies show nasal nitric oxide has the ability to disrupt the coronavirus’s reproductive cycle with its strong antimicrobial properties.
Breathing Slowly And Gently
To reduce stress and keep your nervous system relaxed and calm, it is important to breathe slowly and gently. The normal breathing rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute
Breathing From The Diaphragm
Breathing well uses the diaphragm (from the belly) to slowly breathe 8 to 12 breaths per minute, rather than pulling the chest up and down through your neck and shoulder muscles.
Diaphragmatic breathing provides the following health benefits:
Stabilises blood pressure
Lowers levels of stress hormones in the body
Stops reflux from happening
Improves pelvic floor muscles
The Importance Of Breathing Exercises
Stress is a significant part of our everyday modern life, affecting us in various negative ways. You may not have previously thought about discussing stress with your dentist, however at SHDC, many of our patients report experiencing anxiety and other stress conditions. By introducing our holistic health model we are frequently assisting patients with their stress and anxiety levels, in addition to their dental and oral health needs.
It is common for people to operate from the ‘fight and flight’ or sympathetic nervous system as a response to acute stress, the same way the body would respond to danger. Operating from this state causes an increase in rapid breathing and tension within the body. If the body remains in this state for long periods of time it can lead to further health complications.
This is why we advise our patients to do breathing exercises to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ part of the nervous system which keeps the body calm.
For whole-body wellness, Dr Ron recommends the following exercises:
Full breath in through the nose for four seconds
Out through the nose for four seconds
Hold the exhaled breath for four seconds
Repeat five to 10 times
Breathing is an integral part of whole-body wellness, therefore if you are prone to mouth breathing, especially during the night, Dr Ron suggests medical micropore tape to cover your mouth to ensure you are inhaling through the nose for correct air filtration.
In view of the pandemic, we at SHDC advise everyone to always breathe through their nose, even if wearing a mask, to ensure you are not only protecting yourself from the virus but also filtering the air you are breathing.
Being aware of nasal breathing and how to ‘breathe well’ is important and has life-changing benefits everyone can enjoy.
Thanks to Brent Bultitude for Hosting Dr Ron on 2HD Radio