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Breathwork and Breathing Education Is Nothing to Do With Chilling Out…

By Joel Jelen

One of the most common misconceptions about breathwork is that because it’s on the spectrum of mindfulness and meditation, it’s all about helping you chill out.

That is 100% not the case when I’m working with e.g. corporate business or community organisations discussing productivity at work. The same goes for the people I work with in professional sport.

It’s all about breathing efficiently. Doing this increases your energy so you can feel relaxed yet be bristling with vitality and vigour.

It felt like the perfect place to be in when I first learnt how to breathe better.

Of the clients I’ve helped over the past 12 months, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of people who have been working from home on technology booking in and presenting with symptoms mirroring hyperventilation syndrome.

Hyperventilation or over-breathing (as described by Ira H Tilles MD, Kimberly A Sing MD, William C. Shiel Jr. MD, FACP, FACR in What is Hyperventilation 2018) is actually very common with estimates suggesting as many as 1 in 10 people are sufferers.

It can take hold due to a habit based on a stressful or hectic lifestyle, a nasal obstruction or asthma. Some people are known to have a genetic pre-disposition to the condition.

People who hyperventilate often do so by learning to breathe dysfunctionally out of habit (as inferred above) via their chest and mouth, breathing with a speed and volume in excess of what the body needs.

Does that sound like you or someone you know?

Aside from creating poor oxygenation of the body’s cells and tissues, experts maintain that over-breathing can be the underlying cause of more than 150 different conditions (Dr. Len McEwan).

The good news is that slowing down your breathing with the help of skilled guidance through breathing exercises is now becoming more widely available and recognised.

And that’s the very process that will make your breathing efficient.

The exercises not only regulate the amount of air breathed, but also help retrain people’s breathing (adapted from Patrick McKeown’s book, Close Your Mouth).

I’ve met and helped many clients improve their mental and physical health through administering the exercises. With their commitment, it enables people to optimise the amount of air that reaches their alveoli…small sacs in the lungs that allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide creating a better uptake of oxygen.

The prognosis for people who don’t breathe properly often purely out of bad habits is generally very good because the breathing exercises create wider improvements in the body’s respiratory centre, hence the term ‘re-training the breathing.’

The biggest challenge for breathing educators and people within the general population is awareness of the condition, which often goes undetected or misdiagnosed.

Breathren undertakes a questionnaire within one to one consults and in workshops that helps people assess their breathing pattern with typical responses of including air hunger, unreasonable breathlessness, the feeling of a restricted chest plus comments such “I don’t breathe enough” and “sometimes I have to remember to breathe.”

If you suspect you, family or friends could breathe better, find out more via The opportunities to improve your health by improving how you breathe during e.g. sleep, work and exercise are huge…learning to breathe optimally being the foundation of good health.


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