2. Breath is Life.
Whoever has managed to stay alive after whatever terrible event has befallen them is proof that breath at least is still being drawn. How this is done will determine to an extent more than most people realise, how quickly someone will feel better and how much energy and resilience can be accessed for ready benefit. The great thing is that making this work is largely under each person’s own control.
Breathing indicates safe arrival at birth and its termination warns of imminent death. The body lasts only minutes without air which is constantly required to oxygenate blood and subsequently all the cells of the body. A circulatory system that is working properly, efficiently transporting nutrients through the bloodstream, reflects general good health. Besides the vital oxygenation of blood to nourish vital cellular processes, effective exchanges between the capillaries and cells across lymph fluid depend on the quality of breathing. Humans have four times as much lymph fluid as blood which bathes all cells and removes toxic materials such as dead cells. Lymph nodes neutralise and destroy the poisons passed through them. The lymph system, like a sewerage plant, drains off damaging particles and excess fluid that can block cells from accessing nutrients. If it fails for more than one day, death surely ensues. It’s that important. Unlike the bloodstream, which has a pump, the heart, the lymph system relies entirely on deep diaphragmatic breathing and muscular movement. That is to say, the immune system that defend the basic functions for life, is as good as the level at which the lymph system is maintained. How breathing is done affects it directly, and this is something that anyone can do something about immediately.
Studies replicated many times, originally conducted by Dr Otto Warburg, showed that reducing the amount of oxygen available turns healthy cells into malignant cells. Other tests done by Dr Jack Shields showed via tiny internal cameras that deep breathing and exercise can accelerate the pace at which the body eliminates toxins by up to fifteen times the starting level.
Improving breathing often requires a very deliberate strategy, especially when people are experiencing stress which can constrict muscles and induce shallow breathing that can gradually debilitate the body on its own account. Luckily, from time immemorial, the importance of breathing to life has been incorporated in various practices which go on yielding remarkable revitalising results, both in their original and adapted forms. Yoga and meditation are amongst the most well known but shamans and healers of all traditions offer exercises in breath training. The best approach is to do a little research, pick one that appeals, preferably but not necessarily that’s taught in a local class, and commit to it for a term. The effort required at the beginning can feel strange and uncomfortable while at the same time subtle changes for the better are noticed very quickly too. A wonderful selection of additional information, including physiological descriptions, step-by-step schedules for brief practices to incorporate regularly into daily life, guidance on suitable activities and much more, will reward an online or book search, while health and fitness workers can also advise.
Attending to correct breathing is a priority for restoring health and well-being and builds instant stamina for what needs to be done. Throughout every day, whenever the act of breathing is brought into the realm of consciousness, it is another opportunity to do it slower and deeper. It must become a habit. The difference it makes encourages and assists on all fronts.