How well do you breathe? Are you practiced at it? Although breathing is a natural process that we don’t put much thought and effort into how well we do it—maybe we should! According to the Framingham study, how well you breathe can predict how long you’ll live!
According to Chinese medicine, oxygen is the carrier of energy known as Chi. It is vital for the health and well-being of every organ in our body. Each breath brings vital energy into the body. Expelling this energy, or exhaling removes wastes and cleanses the system. But this process of inhaling and exhaling must be done properly for optimal benefits. Conscious breathing isn’t the shallow breathing we have become accustomed to. Each breath should be intentional and pulled deeply through the nostrils, into the throat, down to the bottom half of the lungs and then exhaled through the mouth.
The thickest portion of your lungs is their bottom half, making this part of the lungs more available to intake oxygen via the bloodstream. Conscious breathing requires expanding the diaphragm to intake oxygen and help it flow more readily through your blood vessels to bodily tissues. Breathing is life. Every cell in your body requires oxygen to live.
The only cells that do not require oxygen, in fact, are cancer cells. These cells thrive in low oxygen environments. Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his cancer research in 1931, discovered that the root cause of cancer is oxygen deprivation. Moreover, cancer cannot survive in oxygen-rich environments. Depriving cells of even 35% less oxygen than its normal state for as little as 48 hours can turn healthy cells into cancerous cells.
Dr. Warburg also linked oxygen levels to pH, finding a correlation between low oxygen and acidity as well as high oxygen states with alkalinity. Cancer, he found, thrives in low pH levels, or higher acidic environments, which correlated with low concentrations of oxygen.
A 2017 study found that diaphragmic breathing also called “belly breathing” or referred to as “breathing from your abdomen” also reduces cortisol levels and helps the body to relax, lowering blood pressure and heart rate and helping to reduce anxiety, depression and even mental clarity. Diaphragmic breathing also helps support optimal immune function since stress overworks the immune system, which may make you more prone to illness.
A recent review of 3 clinical trials of over 1000 participants examined the physiological and psychological impact of diaphragmic breathing on chronic stress. Being that 350 million people worldwide are affected by chronic stress, the researchers wishes to shed more light on its contribution to other health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease.
Results demonstrated that diaphragmic breathing decreased resting breathing rates and cortisol levels as well as decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the control group.
The good news is that diaphragmic breathing is free, easy to learn and requires no fancy equipment. It simply involves focusing on your breathing and being sure you are inhaling deeply, contracting your diaphragm and releasing your breath slowly. This decreases your breathing rate, which stimulates your vagus nerve, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
So, what’s the step-by-step how-to for diaphragmatic breathing?
To initially get the hang of it, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach to help monitor your breathing.
Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose on a count of 2-4 seconds. Focus on your breathing expanding your abdomen—you should feel this with your hand.
Slowly release the air through your mouth (purse your lips together as if you’re sipping through a straw) and exhale slowly on a count of 2-4 seconds.
Repeat this 5-10 times. Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to begin and end your day, or to utilize as a stress-reducing technique as needed throughout the day.
Aside from ensuring proper and consistent oxygen intake, eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables helps sway the body toward a more alkaline and oxygenated state. Alkaline foods generally include fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and herbs and spices. An alkaline body can absorb up to 20 times more oxygen than an acidic body, according to Dr. Otto Warburg. In other words, lack of oxygen and acidic pH equal dis-ease.
Alkalinity and oxygen go hand in hand. Removing waste from the body requires oxygen. Maintaining alkalinity and optimal health requires oxygen. If you’re catching colds frequently and feeling like your immune system isn’t working properly, your body is likely too acidic. Increasing your pH to a more alkaline state (6.8-7.2) can improve immune function and lesson your susceptibility to illness, according to a study conducted at The Royal Free Hospital and School of Medicine in London. Other studies link acidity to poor immune function and critical illness.
Proper supplementation can also help the body to effectively detoxify down to the cellular level, reducing the burden of toxic overload and helping cells receive oxygen and nutrients vital to overall health and wellness.
CoQ10 plays a role in oxygenating down to the cellular level, which is evident in its management of altitude sickness, which is a deprivation of oxygen. Supplementing with CoQ10 when the body is oxygen-deprived (100-200 mg a day) alleviates altitude sickness symptoms and improving outcomes, particularly with heart muscle cells.
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Remember that a chronically acidic body has poor immune function. It cannot combat microorganisms, viruses, bacteria and other pathogenic invaders that are easily managed and protected by a vibrant immune system. An acidic, anaerobic environment is what pathogens LOVE! Cancer loves acidic, low oxygenated conditions. Parasites, viruses, bacteria proliferation—these THRIVE in acidic environments that correspond with low oxygen levels. A pH that is slightly alkaline, however, creates an environment where disease cannot exist.
So, breathe deeply—the fastest, most free and easy way to transform your body into a more alkaline place is OXYGEN. The body cannot rid toxins without optimal levels of oxygen.