Healthy breathing

Life begins and ends with the breath. The Hebrews described how the Creator transformed matter into a living being through the sacred breath of life (Genesis 2:7). The ancient Egyptians called the life force ka. Traditional Chinese physicians call the breathing force chi. In Japan they call the force ki and this word is reflected in words such as genki and byouki, which means healthy and sick. Yoga practitioners know the term life force as prana. So we have been aware of good breath for a long time. Both psychological and physical complaints can be related to breathing that is too fast or too slow, although the latter is rare. First of all, it concerns psychological complaints, such as anxiety attacks, traumatic memories and depressive moods. Physical complaints include headaches, neck pain, perspiration, back pain, accelerated aging, excessive sweating and fatigue. Actually, the list of complaints is endless. Can you remember the last time you were fit, pain-free and had a clear, empty head? If the answer is no and the doctor has no identifiable cause for your complaints, it may be advisable to examine your breathing.

Breathing process

Breathing is an autonomic process and is regulated by the autonomic nervous system. When you are upset, breathing rate and heart rate increase due to the secretion of adrenaline. By regulating and calming your breathing, you can restore balance to your mind and emotions. This sends a message to the adrenal glands to stop secreting adrenaline, so that breathing and heart rate continue to calm down. By regulating your breathing you can better cope with stress. Furthermore, the way you breathe is your body’s way of drawing attention to what you are thinking and feeling. In our modern age, many of us do not breathe correctly. We often only use a small part of our lungs. This is often due to stress, incorrect posture and too little exercise. We talk about breathing and unfortunately that is what many of us do, but in fact we do not need to breathe because the breath comes and goes on its own.

Energy loss

According to Bram Bakker, psychiatrist and publicist, the number of breaths per minute varies on average from about four to sixty times, depending on the physical and mental effort you make. According to him, breathing six times per minute is sufficient if you are sitting relaxed in a chair. During a walk, ten to sixteen breaths per minute are okay and during an active workout forty to sixty breaths per minute. Bakker rightly points out that mental activity can also increase your breathing. Thinking and worrying can cause you to breathe five times faster than necessary. Imagine; While sitting in a chair, you breathe not the required six times, but twenty times per minute because your thoughts are racing in all directions and you cannot stop worrying. This is exhausting, for both body and mind. By breathing too quickly you do not use your energy optimally. Energy that could last you for days can now be used up in a few hours. Breathing is necessary to take in oxygen and get rid of waste products. Oxygen releases energy. With every inhale, oxygen enters your lungs. This oxygen naturally goes to energy-rich sugar stores in your body. When oxygen and energy- rich sugar stores come together, energy is released. If you breathe too deeply and too quickly, you will not get enough usable oxygen.

How do you achieve healthy breathing?

In general, it can be said that the exhalation should be twice as long as the inhalation, for example inhale for four counts, hold the breath for a moment and exhale for eight counts. There are generally four types of breathing: abdominal breathing, flank breathing, chest breathing and full breathing. Complete breathing is a breathing technique that is also used by yogis. This breathing starts in the abdomen, then spreads towards the flanks and finally to the chest. Furthermore, it is generally accepted that abdominal breathing is the least bad form of breathing. If you know that your breathing is disturbed, it is advisable to work with a breathing coach to find a breathing rhythm that suits you. The techniques are simple, but must be learned with great care and attention. Your body will breathe a sigh of relief.

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