Today we are talking about nose breathing. It makes very big difference both for mental health, physical resilience – and for strong immunity. Now you’re gonna find out exactly why!
Let’s talk about breathing through the nose, what functions it performs and why it is important to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth.
When breathing through the nose, we increase the efficiency of using our energy by 50% than when breathing through the mouth.
The nose is the bottleneck of the entire human respiratory system.
When we start breathing through our mouth, our oxygen supply to the tissue cells like muscle and the brain gets worse, digestion worsens, our immunity deteriorates, we stop filtering the inhaled air (the indicators of the humidity of the inhaled air also change for the worse). Continuous mouth breathing increases inflammation and shortens life, to put it briefly.
When we begin our work on optimizing breathing, we begin to breathe less and less with time, and minute ventilation decreases. In doing so, we use the respiratory muscles less and less. Since a lot of energy is spent on the respiratory muscles during the day, here we also significantly save our energy. For comparison: people with normal breathing use approximately 15-20 thousand respiratory movements during the day, sick people can make up to 100 thousand respiratory movements per day, that is – 4-5 times more.
In this way we can save this energy for other vital processes: immunity, physical movement, mental side, emotional side, digestion, etc.
The human nose differs from the structure of the nose of animals in that we have an inner nose and an outer nose (in animals, as a rule, there is no outer nose).
In humans, the external nose performs a huge number of necessary, vital functions.
Thanks to this, we can adapt to life in very different temperature conditions, air humidity, etc. Therefore, the structure of the nose in different human races can be very different.
A thin nose can be developed in those peoples for whom the functions of thermoregulation are important. Flattened nose (or wider) is more necessary in those climatic zones where there is a lot of humidity and constantly high temperature, which does not need to be constantly regulated.
In the northern regions, it’s completely different, because humidity and temperature must be constantly regulated depending on the time of year.
There are a huge number of nose functions. When we begin to improve breathing, all these functions begin to recover.
For example, when we begin to breathe through the mouth, the formation of a specific gas called nitric oxide (NO) stops in the nasal cavity. This gas is used to regulate nervous activity, the functioning of the genitals and heart. By the way, heart failure, problems with high blood pressure arise due to the fact that we begin to breathe through the mouth (this is a kind of reaction of the body to chronic stress).
This gas is also one of the most important parts of our immune system!
We may need more than one week to understand the physiology of the nose.
2. PHYSIOLOGY – approx. 15 min video:
Today we will consider the basic functions of our body, which are completely and completely dependent on breathing through the nose. And what can radically change if we begin to breathe through the mouth, and never through the nose.
By breathing through the nose, I mean both inhaling and exhaling only through the nose. Only such breathing is physiologically normal, functional for all people without exception.
We conditionally divide our skull into three floors, or three compartments – the lower, middle and upper (see. Figure on the board).
The lower floor is the mouth, we use it mainly for food and for communication (talking – and kissing).
The middle or second floor is the nasal cavity. It is divided into external and internal, and this distinguishes us from most mammalian animals, in which the external nose practically does not exist.
One version of why this happened explains this division of the nose by the large size of the brain in humans, which developed as it evolved. The brain eventually displaced all the functional parts of the nose to the outside, taking up almost all the space inside the skull.
There are many races on earth, and they all differ in the structure of the nose. There are races with thin, wide, very short and so on noses. It all depends on what kind of habitat people are in. The structure of our outer nose varies greatly, and factors such as: strong wind, high or very low humidity, very dry air or very low temperatures, or, conversely, very high air temperatures in the climatic zone where people live .
The breathing functions are very diverse, they are not limited to those that I wrote on the whiteboard (this is an important, but far from complete list). And further in the course we will talk more about this, returning to the topics mentioned today at a deeper level.
It must be remembered that the functions of breathing through the nose are radically different from the functions of breathing through the mouth:
The most important indicator, which changes during the transition from breathing through the nose to breathing through the mouth, is described in the Verigo / Bohr effect (we discussed this earlier). These scientists discovered independently from each other that the balance of our respiration is determined by the optimal ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, which affects the supply of oxygen to our cells.
– When we open our mouth, the optimal flow of oxygen into the cells stops.
– Air conditioning (the second point), which can be carried out only by nasal breathing, turns off instantly when switching to breathing by mouth. For optimal air conditioning, parameters in a certain range of viscosity of the nasal mucous layer and friction of the air passing through the nasal mucous layer are important.
When breathing through the mouth, these parameters do not change for the better.
– Breathing through the mouth greatly changes the viscosity of the air, excessively drying the mucous membrane. The speed of transportation of all filtered air impurities (bacteria, viruses of various types, pathogenic organisms) also changes. All of them must be filtered by the nose, the mouth is not able to perform this function.
In the nose there are certain microscopic hairs that form a kind of carpet. These hairs are capable of oscillating movements, slowly promoting the flow of all unwanted pathogens that have been caught, towards the larynx, where they are swallowed and then removed through the digestive tract.
– If we breathe through the mouth, all these microorganisms, bacteria, viruses enter directly into the lungs, and it makes it much harder to cope with for the body, which can often lead to developing acute or chronic disease.
– The humidity of the air that enters the lungs is conditioned by both the inner and the outer nose.
Air temperature is also brought to normal values in order to pass into the alveoli of the lungs.
– The sense of smell. Olfactory nerves (which are responsible for the sense of smell) are located on the back wall of the nasal mucous layer. When you inhale, the air flow intensifies by nasal turbinates, structures situated along the sides of the nasal cavity – and goes directly to the olfactory nerves.
When we breathe through the mouth (due to nasal congestion, etc.), the smell function stops working.
– The signaling functions of the autonomic nervous system, the balancing functions between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems also work in a healthy rhythm oscillating in an intricate way when breathing through the nose.
Normally, on inspiration, the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, on exhalation, the parasympathetic nervous system. And this only happens when breathing through the nose! As soon as we begin to breathe through the mouth, the function of the balance of the nervous system stops. This is very important to remember.
– The function of blood pressure is mainly regulated by a gas called nitrogen monoxide or nitric oxide (NO). This gas is produced by the cells of the islet of Langerhans, which is located on the back of the larynx (for this discovery in the 80s of the last century, three scientists received the Nobel Prize in medicine). It is this discovery that is used in the production of so many drugs for people who have lost the ability to produce nitric oxide. In order to restore it, you must teach yourself to breathe through the nose again, then this gas will be produced in the body naturally – and in the quantities we need.
Nitrogen monoxide and carbon dioxide are the so-called vasodilators, that is, the substances that dilate blood vessels.
It is the expansion of blood vessels that lowers blood pressure and relieves stress from the heart.
When you breathe through your nose, you have a healthy regulation of blood pressure. As soon as the mouth opens, you increase the load on the heart.
– Immunity and systemic inflammation. Here is the same mechanism of influence. Nitrogen monoxide is the gas that lymphocytes use as the main weapon to suppress all undesirable agents – bacteria, viruses, various pathogens. As soon as we open our mouth for breathing, our immunity is reduced due to the fact that this gas stops being produced. Systemic inflammation have a direct connection with this aspect of breathing.
As soon as we begin to develop a normal respiratory pattern through the nose, the healing process with reversal of systemic inflammation starts immediately, and over time many diseases caused by the chronic stress of the modern lifestyle slowly disappear. They fade away.
– The regulation of cellular acid-base balance is also normalized when breathing through the nose.
Nasal breathing normalizes blood pH (normally, the blood has a slightly alkaline reaction from 7.35 to 7.45). When breathing through the mouth, the blood becomes more alkaline (due to hyperventilation), and the acid-base balance of all body cells changes towards a more acidic environment, which leads to increased systemic inflammation – and contributes to the development of cancer cells.
– Digestion, the normal functioning of the stomach and intestines are also very much interconnected with breathing through the nose. Breathing through the mouth starts the processes of inflammation and diseases of the above organs of gastro-intestinal tract.
Digestive health is associated with the predominance of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is activated by breathing through the nose.
– The normal formation of mucus only works when breathing through the nose. If the formation of mucus stops – we disrupt all immunity (since the filtering function is disabled).
Thus, when breathing through the nose, we get a huge amount of bonuses, and this is only part!
Upper floor – We also have sinus drainage. Sinuses are these cavities that are located on the “upper floor”, more precisely, on the border between the “upper” and “middle” floors. They are connected by the special channels. When our level of systemic inflammation increases, these channels become clogged due to the growth of the bacterial population in them. As a result of which, intracranial (ocular) pressure increases. Because of this, the functioning of the lymphatic system is paralyzed, the system of removal of toxins from the fundus (interior surface of the eye) deteriorates, etc.
Normal drainage of the sinuses and equalization of intracranial pressure occurs exclusively with nasal breathing.
Acute situations in which breathing through the mouth saves our lives:
A) damage to the external nose (it is physically impossible to inhale through the nose due to injury). Of course, in such a situation, mouth breathing saves life. This is an emergency solution in a specific situation. Of course, all other breathing functions will not work here. But in an acute situation this is justified to save life.
B) acute emotional imbalance. We open our mouth and begin to breathe air through it to restore the lost emotional balance. This type of breathing in particularly stressful situations can be justified. It is used by some varieties of martial arts, applying exclusively in situations with extremely high levels of stress (we will talk about this later on in the program).
C) acute inflammation (when due to illness the nose is completely blocked and there is no way to breathe in). These situations most often occur with people who already have functional breathing problems. Most often, they have already reduced the indicators of the control pause (it imperceptibly worsened for a long time before the onset of the disease), and they already have a higher tendency to systemic inflammation.
Most often, such people have a chronically stuffy nose, and this is a pathological condition. Indeed, in a healthy state, the nasal passages should always be open.
Thus, all these functions listed above and indicated by green pluses are very important for all twelve systems of our body.
3. TRAINING – approx. 6 min video:
We took the time between the two showers to shoot this little video to help you open your nose.
When we do some physical exercises (running, or training on our schedule), we usually have some goal: to run a certain number of kilometers in a certain number of minutes, etc.
Moreover, when we feel that we are reaching our endurance threshold, we have to open our mouths to continue what we started, and we continue to move with our mouths open.
here it is very important to change focus, and determine what is more important for us – health or fitness.
If health is a priority, then we are moving from the result-oriented way of working to the process-oriented work – in the name of your health.
As soon as you feel that you are approaching your breathing threshold (aerobic threshold – when you are forced to open your mouth to breathe), you slow down – while still breathing through your nose (keeping your mouth closed).
If you have a cold (I personally haven’t had it in the last 10 years since I started training breathing), you can do an exercise, which I will describe and show a little later. I teach all my clients this exercise. It works on the accumulation of carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide is the so-called vasodilator, it increases the cross section of arteries and expands all capillaries.
After performing this exercise, you will increase the level of carbon dioxide in the blood, expand the capillaries, open all the sinuses of the nose, and you can easily breathe through the nose.
How the exercise is performed: you close your nose with your hand and begin to shake your head, throwing it back and back, continuing to hold your breath.
When you feel that you can no longer keep on holding your breath, and you need to take a breath (this is the equivalent of a maximum pause) – then you stop moving your head and take a small breath. The first breath after this practice must be small, the mouth is still closed. This slows your breathing, and your lung ventilation decreases.
Your breathing will be restored within the next one to two minutes. Then you can repeat the exercise.
After three or four repetitions of this exercise, your nose will open up and you will start enjoying nasal breathing again.
In this case, spasms in the lungs may occur, they must be treated with understanding – just watching them, as they will pass. Together with these spasms, intestinal contractions are possible peristalsis is activated by dilating function of NO and CO2 on smooth muscle wrapping your intestines). And at the same time, your nose will open.
This exercise can be done with physical movement. Typically, a decrease in breathing and a decrease in the speed of the exercise – help each other working in the same direction of making exercising easier and more enjoyable for you. Which is an important long term factor both for the establishment of strong process of change – and for your health.
You can do the same exercise without physical exertion, just in a situation with a stuffy nose because of a cold, etc., or at night if your nose is stuffy and it is difficult for you to fall asleep. You can do it at home, sitting in an armchair or in bed.
It is important to remember during the exercise that it is necessary to go and endure through spasms (the sensations are similar to those that we experience with a maximum pause), and then take the first very small breath so that the accumulated high level of carbon dioxide is preserved in the lungs. In other words, it’s important that you do not ventilate this high level of accumulated CO2 away by taking a big breath right after the practice.
Try to do this exercise while sitting on the edge of a chair or bed, during the day or at bedtime.
And it will help you effectively open the nasal passages for breathing through the nose.
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