Superpowers of Nasal Breathing to Boost Your Health

February 16, 2024 by Clelia Lima0

You may take between 17,000 and 24,000 breaths per day without thinking about it. But did you know that breathing through your nose gives you big advantages?

Breathing is essential to keep you alive by supplying oxygen to your body and removing carbon dioxide. When you inhale, oxygen enters your lungs and is carried via your bloodstream to all cells, tissues, and organs. Nasal breathing enhances this process in several ways.

Efficient filtration and humidification: Your nose acts as a natural filter, trapping airborne particles like dust, allergens, and pathogens before they reach the lungs. It also helps to humidify the incoming air, ensuring that it is warm and moist when it reaches the lungs. This process helps protect the respiratory system and prevent potential irritations or infections.

Enhanced oxygen uptake: Nasal breathing is more efficient for oxygen uptake compared to mouth breathing. Your nasal passages have smaller airways with special bumps which creates turbulence in the airflow. This turbulence slows down the breathing process, allowing more time for oxygen exchange to occur in the lungs. It also helps to maximize the absorption of oxygen into the bloodstream.

Improved lung function: Breathing through your nose helps to regulate the amount of air taken in and out balancing your breathing pattern. It encourages diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your belly), which helps your lungs to use their full capacity, improving oxygenation and respiratory efficiency.

Balanced nervous system activity: Nasal breathing is one of the ways to stimulate your vagus nerve which plays a crucial role in regulating your autonomic nervous system. This includes your digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, and immune system. It can help promote a state of relaxation, reduce stress, and enhance your overall physical and emotional well-being.

Sleep quality improvement: Nasal conscious breathing promotes relaxation. By directing attention to your breath, you can enter a state of mindfulness. You may fall asleep faster and have a better sleep quality.

Overall well-being: Breathing through your nose can help you manage stress, enhance focus, increase energy, and contribute to your overall physical and mental well-being.

Conscious breathing exercises. There are various breathing exercises and practices from different traditions and disciplines, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, which center on specific breathing patterns. Here are three of them.

  1. Deep belly breathing. Take slow, deep nasal breaths, filling your lungs to their maximum capacity, and expanding your diaphragm fully.
  2. 4-7-8 breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 7, and exhale slowly through the mouth for a count of 8.
  3. Box breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale through the nose for a count of 4, and hold your breath again for a count of 4.

When to mouth breathe? You may need to breathe through your mouth when your nose is congested, during intense physical exertion, or respiratory distress. However, in everyday situations, prioritizing nasal breathing can have significant benefits for your health and vitality.

While nasal breathing techniques can improve your overall physical and mental health, it’s essential to address any underlying causes. Consult your healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate guidance.

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