The Health Benefits of Breathing

Posted on July 17th, 2009 by admin  |  4 Comments »

Natural health expert Joseph Mercola always makes it a point to share the simplest, most inexpensive but effective natural ways to help you get healthy. And it can’t get any simpler than teaching you the benefits of proper breathing.

Dr. Mercola attended the annual Natural Products Expo West and listened to Dr. Andrew Weil’s presentation, which included sharing a useful breathing exercise called the 4-7-8, or relaxing breathing exercise.

You’ll be using four, seven and eight counts in this exercise, and the key is getting the ratio right, not in the amount of time you spend in each phase.

Here’s how you perform the 4-7-8 breathing exercise:

  1. Sit up straight.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue up against the back of your front teeth and keep it there throughout the entire breathing exercise.
  3. Breathe in silently through your nose (four counts).
  4. Hold your breath (seven counts).
  5. Exhale through your mouth to the count of eight, and make an audible “woosh” sound.

These steps complete one full breath. You can repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

You can do this exercise as frequently as you want throughout the day, but during the first month or so of practice, don’t do more than four full breaths. You can do up to eight full breath cycles later on.

Mercola personally believes that combining the 4-7-8 breathing exercise with your meals will give you the most benefits. Since most people eat thrice a day, that makes it easier to remember to do the exercise. Combining the activity with the attitude of gratitude for a healthy meal you are about to eat or finished eating can have a powerful, beneficial influence on your health.

Breathing mindfully can modify and accelerate your body’s self-regulating physiological and bioenergetic functions to  correct your internal and energetic balance, and directly impact your:

  • Nervous system – increased oxygen intake nourishes your nervous system, which improves the health of your entire body since the nervous system communicates to all of your body parts.
  • Respiratory system – helps relieve asthma and bronchitis symptoms
  • Circulatory system – helps enhance blood circulation and cell oxygenation throughout your body
  • Endocrine system – the action of your diaphragm helps pump lymph throughout your body, which helps clear out toxins and boost your immune system
  • Excretory system – helps eliminate fluids and massage your kidneys

Doing breathing exercises is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Watch Dr. Mercola’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise video to start breathing your way to good health.

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    Different cultural perceptions of nose and/throat resistance are also of paramount importance. A karate yell for example can be understood physiologically as an invigorating maneuver (in the East) or purely psychologically. If yoga techniques producing sounds on inhaling are understood physiologically as means for increasing lung volume, tuning the respiratory system etc. they then make sense but to a western doctor they do not. Richard Friedel

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