Have you ever really thought about breathing: the quality of air, the speed, and depth of your breath, or lack thereof?
We can go days without water and weeks without food but we can only live minutes without oxygen. It equals life, therefore, making it the most important pillar of health. Our innate intelligence breathes for us without having to think about it, quietly regulating and keeping us alive. Although the autonomic nervous system is on autopilot, it does not mean we are breathing optimally or that our body has ideal oxygen levels.
Air is supposed to have about 21% oxygen but the amount available is dependent on our environment. Oxygen is primarily made by ocean plants and secondarily by trees, plants, and grass as a by-product of photosynthesis. Oxygen can be as low as 12-15% in industrialized cities so getting out in nature for a stroll along the beach or a walk in the woods is real medicine for your body. Tell me you can’t smell it in the warm ocean breeze or the cool forest wind.
Besides air quality, humans have a bigger issue at hand, STRESS. When our body and mind are stressed, our innate intelligence creates a reflex known as the fight or flight response. This reflex causes the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to shoot up, and breathing quickens as adrenaline races through our blood. It prepares our bodies to fight a big fight or run for our lives (as in encountering lions and tigers and bears, OH MY). Most of us live with constant emotional stress whether at work, at home, or worrying about world unrest. Something as simple as a honking horn in traffic or even the notifications on your smartphone can trigger the fight or flight response. Over time, the very thing meant to help us survive, starts to take a toll on our health. As our breathing shallows, it weakens the diaphragm, furthering decreasing oxygen to our cells. Research suggests, that modern humans live with excessive carbon dioxide in our blood causing brain fog, inflammation, fatigue, and a host of health ailments such as cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, and brain degeneration.
OKAY, breathe….that was a lot of information! Yes, we are stressed out and yes, our air quality is decreasing, so what can we do?
Fortunately, through purposeful breathing, we can take control of our autonomic nervous system and redirect our body for the desired result. There are breathing exercises to create relaxation, focus, or to increase our awareness and energy levels. This is a great article that reviews the importance of regular breathing exercises, as well as, information on the types of outcomes you can achieve. https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercise
Knowing the importance of optimal oxygen in the body and wanting patients to have a strong foundation for recovery, over a year ago we implemented Exercise With Oxygen Therapy (EWOT). I describe it as a rush of goodness. In a nutshell, EWOT is breathing high concentrations of oxygen while exercising for 15 minutes. As heart rate and breathing increase, oxygen is distributed quickly throughout the body. Patients have the ability to heal faster and feel better while building physical endurance and encouraging a healthy weight. EWOT is ideal for everyone from young athletes looking to improve their recovery time, to senior citizens, looking to maintain their health and mobility. It’s something that can benefit people of any age or fitness level.
This is an article written by Dr, Axe with more in-depth information about EWOT. https://draxe.com/health/ewot-exercise-with-oxygen-therapy/
We will continue with the next pillar of health… stay tuned!