Oxygen IN and Carbon Dioxide OUT…it’s as natural as…well, breathing!
BUT there is a much better way to do it.
The goal of proper breathing is to get the most benefit of increased oxygenation without hyperventilating. We want to AVOID over-breathing or panting or sighing or mouth breathing.
You might be thinking, “Is this guy really serious? Does he think we don’t know how to breathe? Is there really a right way and wrong way to get a breath?”
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Buteyko technique promo from Mercola.com
Everyone knows there are 2 steps to breathing (inhale and exhale), but I’m here to suggest something better:
Top 3 Tips of proper breathing for your better health.
Actually there are 2 main steps, plus a brief rest period between them, so that makes 3 parts total. But if you truly want to get the “oxygen inspiration” step right, it takes 7 deliberate actions…bringing the total # of breathing steps up to 9, or is it 10 parts?!? Let’s learn!
Dr. Jason Blackketter’s Top 3 Tips — proper breathing for your better health:
–>1st tip: Exhale Fully — blow ALL the air out through your mouth (or nose) to completely empty your lungs — before we can get fresh O2 into your cells we need to get CO2 out of your cells. Exhaling Carbon Dioxide (CO2) allows your body to relax. This 1st step in proper breathing (exhalation or expiration) is often overlooked, which leads people to feel like they aren’t getting enough Oxygen (O2). This becomes a problem because when the lungs are too full of used air (from not blowing off enough CO2), it leads to hyperventilation, sighing, straining to “get a deep breath” or panting, and making people feel light-headed and anxious. Instead of focusing on getting more air into your lungs, you need to empty the lungs first. Quite a few chronic health problems can be avoided by getting this step corrected at an early age, so teach your children and grandkids to expire first. Empty your lungs; then you can fill them!
–>2nd tip: Pause and Relax — don’t rush into inhalation — I’m NOT talking about “holding your breath” or straining or tensing up your muscles. Just chill out…relax, and wait a moment.
The key to this second proper breathing tip is to simply stay relaxed as you let the body get ready for inhaling. Most adults only need about 10 to 12 breaths per minute, so there is plenty of time, and we don’t want to get caught in a bad pattern of quick shallow panting breaths. Obviously our demand for oxygen increases with strenuous activity or intense exercise. Also, be aware that children typically breathe much more often than adults, and babies even more than children because their active metabolism requires lots of O2 and therefore a very quick respiration rate.
Don’t rush! Don’t worry! We’re not in a hurry! Just relax and take your time. After exhaling, you can wait for a couple seconds before starting the 3rd step.
–>3rd tip: Inhale Naturally — breathe in through your nose — it’s important to stay as relaxed as possible and to fill your lungs slowly, evenly, and easily.*
*For people who have trouble with nose breathing, please watch the video at the bottom of this page…try it; you’ll feel inspired, literally!
Please follow each part of this process. Don’t worry — inspiration isn’t complicated once you practice!!
Think about these 7 actions as you inhale:
1) keep your shoulders loose and relaxed in an open neutral natural posture (NOT hunched up or slouched forward)
2) gently push stomach out and down (easier to do when standing or lying on your back),
3) drop diaphragm down (the diaphragm is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that is below the lungs and above the stomach),
4) expand the ribs out to increase lung volume,
5) slightly lift and lengthen your spinal column,
6) breathe air in through your nose* allowing lungs to fully expand with fresh air (keep thinking about the diaphragm drawing down to expand the lung capacity),
*If your nostrils or sinuses are blocked, try the “nose clearing” method in the video below
7) enjoy all that wonderful O2 being delivered throughout your body — I want you to literally PAUSE a moment. Stop. Absorb the oxygen. Feel refreshed for a second. Your brain, eyes, nerves, cheeks, sinuses, jaw, lungs, heart, muscles, and internal organs will thank you!!
Now you go back to the 1st step and exhale completely, then take the brief resting step, and then repeat the 3rd step including each of the motions in the 7 parts of inhalation…nose breathing is best.
Don’t rush! Don’t worry! Don’t hyperventilate.
Just relax and take your time. Remember the 2nd tip: after exhaling, you can wait for a few seconds before starting the 3rd step. This casual break prevents any chance of hyperventilation. Remember it isn’t a race; we aren’t in a hurry. Just wait a moment and then get back into the 7 actions of inhalation as you let in an easy natural breath of air.
Doing this the right way is easy, efficient, calming, healthy, and totally worth learning. Once you get it down, repeat it regularly and teach your family how to breathe properly.
Ask Dr. Jason Blackketter for more info. on advanced deep breathing techniques that help you relax, sleep better, cleanse the body, reduce stress, stimulate better immune function, and improve your lymph system.
Dr. Blackketter helping you live better.
*Video demonstration of a simple method to “unblock” the nose, reduce snoring, stop hyperventilating, and open up your nasal breathing passages so you can stop mouth breathing: