It goes without saying that being able to breathe properly is the key to a happy, healthy life; not to mention a long one. Yet a wide variety of self-inflicted problems lead to our being unable to breathe, to an inability to live life to the fullest. Overeating, smoking, and lack of exercise are the most common examples of this.
Consider, nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are 20 to 30% and 25 to 30% more likely to develop lung cancer and heart disease, respectively, than they would be if they could avoid it altogether. Sleep apnea, a condition known to make you stop breathing multiple times throughout the night, can lead to chronic fatigue and, in extreme cases, sudden death. Yet one of its main causes, obesity, is entirely treatable, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Many of these problems, sleep apnea among them, can be treated with the help of medical technology. According to Dr. Barbara Phillips, a sleep specialist at the University of Kentucky and a board member of the National Sleep Foundation, prescription dental devices exist to pull our jaws forward while we sleep, increasing our breathing ability and reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. As the science continues to evolve, however, it seems that the key to improving breathing may not lie with breathing machines but with our own respiratory systems.
Proper Breathing Leads to Better Health
According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, 12.7% of Americans have used deep breathing exercises to improve their health. Breathing therapy is quite popular among asthmatics, for example. However, as will be seen, learning to improve breathing can treat far more than asthma.
- Stress Relief Breathing
- Breathing for Weight Loss
Breathing to relax has long been a staple of many Eastern medicines. Yoga and meditation, for example, put stress relief breathing techniques at the center of their discipline. Stress relief breathing is shown to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that works to aid in relaxation and improve sleep.
Recent studies have shown that training yourself to breathe properly can also lead to natural weight loss. When you fully oxygenate your cells, you improve their ability to transport vital chemicals, oxygen included, around your body. This not only gives you more energy, but it can lead to a higher metabolism.
If you want to learn stress relief breathing or common techniques for weight loss, then you have two main options. You can take up yoga or meditation or you can choose to use a respiratory trainer device. Vann Burchfeld, the current holder of the Guinness World Record for longest circular breathing at over 47 minutes, has likely already mastered these techniques. Remember, however, that you do not have to be a world class breather. You just have to be good enough to get yourself healthy.