A little bit about breathing: mouthbreathing, nosebreathing, breathing exercises.
Here's a good article to get you started on breathing: How to Breathe Right.
Mouthbreathing means using your mouth instead of your nose to breathe. The habit usually begins as an infant and it causes a myriad of health problems later on in life.
Mouthbreathing makes you expend too much CO2 which causes hypocapnia and tissue hypoxia. As opposed to what is commonly believed, CO2 is much more than a waste product of respiration; in fact, it's vital for your body to function properly.
Not solely, but to a significant degree, mouthbreathing is responsible for many common health problems today, including narrow airways, nasal congestion, runny nose, allergies, asthma, bad breath, dry cough, snoring, fatigue, hiccups, acid reflux, heartburn, poor palate development, recessive chin, Long Face Syndrome, fibromyalgia, pneumonia, bronchitis, and more.
Another point worthy of notice is that your nose heats up the air you breathe and filters it. This can protect you from airborne allergenic particles, dust, viruses, bacteria, and so on.
See also this Twitter thread on the effects of mouth breathing, and check out this page.
- Ages 0–12: Mouth breathing affects your craniofacial structure, narrowing the upper airways, creating chronic obstruction. Study.
- Ages 12–18: The habit of mouth breathing continues. Worse athletic performance and more susceptible to allergies, asthma, weak respiratory system, and ADHD. Study.
- Ages 18–40: At this point, the individual is a chronic mouthbreather. Sleep apnea, lethargy, fatigue, low testosterone, and a myriad of other issues might arise. Article.
- Age 40+: Breathing through your mouth expels too much precious CO2, responsible for the transfer of oxygen to the tissues (see the Bohr Effect). The result is tissue hypoxia.
So how do you stop mouthbreathing?
- Breathe through your nose using your diaphragm. Breathing should be quiet and effortless.
- Do breathing excercises to normalize your breathing pattern – see below.
- Reduce inflammation through diet.
- More tips in this Twitter thread.
The Buteyko method
The Buteyko method is about normalizing your unconscious breathing pattern as a step toward optimal health. For an introduction to the Buteyko method, please see the links below.
Another good resource is The Buteyko Breathing Manual, which you will have to look for online.
How to do Buteyko breathing
- Normal Breath In Through Nose.
Sit down in an upright posture and take a normal, calm breath through your nose. Do not take a deep breath.
- Normal Breath Out Through Nose.
Exhale as you normally would through your nose. Use the diaphragm to push all air out of the lungs (stomach should move, chest should not).
- Shorter Breath In Through Nose.
Now, take a shorter, more shallow and light (~1-2 seconds) inhalation through the nose and stop.
- Long Breath Out Through Nose.
Slowly release the breath over 5 seconds, using your diaphragm to empty out your lungs. Hold breath after complete exhale for 5 seconds.
- Repeat Steps 1-4.
Take a normal, calm breath again through the nose (step 1), and repeat the entire process for several minutes.
There are many Buteyko exercises; another one is described here
as well as below:
- 2-3 x 15-20 minutes per day.
- 80%-90% Inhale - Slow Exhale (2s) - Xs pause
- Adjust X (0-20+) to maintain:
- Light Air Hunger / Moderate Air Hunger / Strong Air Hunger
- Start with LAH for the first 2 weeks. Focus on relaxation.
- This is the RF (Reduced Frequency) Buteyko method.
- Do it on an empty stomach
- Wait 1-2 hours between each session
- Make sure you're not overheating
- Exhale by relaxing the respiratory muscle (SUPER IMPORTANT!)
- Nosebreathing obviously
- You can do up to 3 hours if you wish
- Combine this with "BreatheLess Walking"
- The goal is to raise your Control Pause (CP).
- Test before and after (wait 5 minutes after the session). If you've done the exercise right, your CP should've been raised by 2-3 seconds at least (more like 6-10s).