The Science of Breathing

Learn how your breath can transform your life
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Autonomic Nervous System

Achieving Health With Your Breath

It is widely accepted that keeping the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in balance is absolutely critical to our health and performance. This is hardly surprising given the huge role that it plays in bodily processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, immune function and digestion.

Whilst the autonomic nervous system is just that, autonomic (read ‘automatic’), we can have influence over it. One of the key ways to manipulate your ANS back into balance is through utilising your breath. When we speak of balance, we are referring to keeping the two branches of the ANS in equilibrium, or homeostasis.

When we breathe in, we activate the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight branch of our ANS. When we breathe out, we engage our parasympathetic nervous system, the ‘rest and digest’ branch.

Learning how to breathe properly allows us to master the art of keeping these two branches in balance. When we do that, many health challenges resolve themselves, including anxiety and panic attacks. Similarly, we can use our breath to optimise the balance of our ANS for optimum sporting performance.

Accredited Buteyko Practitioner

The Buteyko Breathing Method

According to Professor Buteyko, pictured, some 150 diseases are linked to dysfunctional breathing including asthma, allergies and emphysema are the result of a deficiency in our body of CO2, caused by not breathing correctly, in a panicky way, so you take in too much oxygen.

Doctors and scientists have long known that carbon dioxide (CO2) plays a vital part in releasing oxygen from the blood to cells and tissue – the Bohr effect. By retraining the body’s breathing pattern to nasal breathing, reduced breathing and relaxation regular breathing can be normalised.

The Buteyko method emphasises the importance of nasal breathing, which protects the airways by humidifying, warming, and cleaning the air entering the lungs.

The core Buteyko exercises involve breath control; consciously reducing the breathing rate and/or breathing volume. To undertake breath control you need to undertake a programme of breathing retraining and once this becomes natural and instinctive the exercises in breath control can be gradually phased out as the condition improves.

We also use the CapnoTrainer where necessary to support the training and monitor progress.

Contact Nigel at The Breathing Studio

If you’re ready to reclaim your health by utilising your breath, contact me using this form.