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Breathe Deeply?

8 breathing2 150x150 Breathe Deeply?

Is it healthy?

Why was I so often drowsy when doing the deep breathing that I had been taught in meditation, yoga, and biofeedback? I wondered this for over 3o years.  I didn’t find out why until I measured my ETCO₂ (my breathing chemistry) with a CapnoTrainer while breathing deeply. Wow, was I surprised when I saw that my CO₂  significantly dropped then.  This means that I was actually shorting myself of oxygen.  What I mistook for a relaxed meditative state was actually a lethargic, hypoxic state where I was taking in too much air and not letting it all back out.  The Easterners had it right.  It’s not about TAKING a breath, it’s about finishing a breath, completing the exhale. That’s what get’s the oxygen to the bloodstream and brain.

Yes, the deep breath feels relaxing to many, and probably for several reasons:  1. That is what we are told to do when stressed, so we expect it to help.  2. It takes our awareness inward.  3. When we take deeper breaths, we usually slow our breathing, which slows our heart rate and calms the system.  BUT, if your deep breath is one that actually shorts your oxygen supply, that is definitely not good because it means everything will start to constrict due to loss of oxygen.

SO, if a deep breath isn’t a guarantee of getting more oxygen from your lungs to your bloodstream and brain, then HOW DO YOU KNOW if your breathing is giving you the right amount of oxygen?  There is one way that is scientifically accurate and one way that is a best guess.  The sure way is the use of a capnometer (the more scientific oriented method is to use a capnometer which measures carbon dioxide such as the “CapnoTrainer” which also measures Heart Rate Variability, HRV).  The best guess is not by pulse ox (oximeter) but by noticing the symptoms that accompany lowered ETCO₂ and lowered oxygen, like feeling light-headed or short of breath (see symptom checklist on our website www.BreatheHeartfully.com).

When I first jogged regularly,  around the same time I started meditation and yoga, I wore one of the first heart rate monitors and was baffled by how much my heart rate was jumping around.  I wasn’t sure whether the there was something wrong with the heart rate monitor or me, so I checked both out.  For myself, I found I had a few PVCs, which can be very dangerous and cause sudden heart attacks. I overcame those working with breathing and heart rate monitoring and exercise moderation.  Only later did I find out that our heart rate is supposed to vary rhythmically, both at rest and while being active. For example, when at rest, when we breathe in our heart rate (HR) increases and when we breathe out it decreases.   How much it varies is called HRV. The least healthy is to have a steady or irregular heart rate, with not much rhythmic variability.  In fact regularly low HRV is a predictor of all causes of death and a correlate of negative emotions and poor health.  And the converse is true also—greater HRV is a correlate of good cardiovascular health and of more positive emotional states, better cognitive and physical performance, greater intuition, and much more.  For more.

Now, I am happy to BreatheHeartfully as we go into the Art and Science of Better Breathing and Greater Heart Rate Variability for your health and enjoyment and for your very BEST. My motto is OPT for the BEST, my acronym for: Optimal Performance Training for the Body, Emotions, Spirit, & Thoughts.

I look forward to being of help and service. Well come and see our programs, biofeedback instruments, trainings, presentation and resources.

Till we connect again,

Bob Whitehouse, EdD  7/19/2010


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The Earth seen from Apollo 17 150x150 BREATHE she says...“BREATHE” she says in a very succinct commanding voice. However, what was never mentioned; was what was really meant and how? She was talking to me, jack. It was a Saturday morning September 1987 in Silver Spring Maryland I had just been dropped off by my friend Dawn and I was knocking on the door of a Medical Intuitive RN,that I had met the previous year, for an impromptu session. She opens the door and says: Oh it is you! I wasn’t expecting you so soon, I had just been thinking about taking clients on a per need basis and you might as well be the first one. This incidence led me on this exploration as to the “How” and “What” seems to be the nature of breathing and many other topics for over the past 30 some years.
Welcome to our dialogue blog (Bob and I). My questions are what are we creating together by our converstations? And what is worth your while? Because? and how are we being effective at helping you find your needs, concerns, thrivings?
What have I been discovering will more then likely go beyond just the issues of breathing, it seems that the world and universe are entangled into networks of complex adapting systems. Fortunately, it has brought me to be more conscious of my environment to become ever more aware that we (humankind) are intricately more connected to our environment with the gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide, microbes and minerals, planeteray cycles, solar flairs, galactic and universal phenomena. This is known as “Gaia Theory” as described James Lovelock, an atmospheric scientist.The state of the world is being affected by but not limited to the release of carbon dioxide from: cars, cows and coal, the ”3 C’s”, into our atmosphere and our oceans, acidifying our environment and ultimatelychanging the conditions by which we live on the planet. The other side of the coin is that we human beings are dependent on carbon dioxide to help release oxygen to the tissues in our body by slightly acidifying the blood and getting the red blood cells to release the oxygen (Bohr effect). Who would have thought that the main driver for breathing would becarbon dioxide instead of oxygen, somewhere in the base of the brain? Better yet, that this breathing reflex pattern has the capacity for learning and that cells are inherently cognate as physicist Frijof Capra suggests in his book the “Web of Life”.

oxcycle 150x150 BREATHE she says...

Ok, what do you or I or anyone else mean by: “Breathing”? of course some these definitions will be incomplete and this is a start of a conversation. Since, I don’t know about you and your understanding you might have to let us know what perspectives you have. Here a couple of ideas; that breathing may be a behavior that facilitates optimal respiration, which, in turn is responsible for the regulation of metabolism (anabolism and catabolism) and for the regulation acid-base physiology. As a behavior, it can serve many different goals such: talking, singing, whistling, coughing, increase or decrease the activities of daily living, sleeping, relaxation, meditation, sports, modulation of emotions, or even creating dissociative states to help adapt with traumas when the nervous system is strained. Respiration has to do with gas exchange. So, external respiration has to do wih the mechanics of moving gases in and out of the lungs,which is what most people in field teach, while internal respiration is about moving these gases from the lungs to the cells or visa versa and cellular respiration is the utilization of oxygen by the mitochondria in the cell to create energy and or to break it down releasing carbon, water, and ATP (adenosine triphosphate energy molecule) among some of the molecules.
In the words of Andrew Weil MD; “If I had only one thing to teach, I would teach breathing”. Ultimately, it seems to me, we might be needing to learn to play the various melodies of good chemistry both in our bodies and in our environment to adapt more harmoniously with our ever changing living conditions. The objective here: is to invite you to come, discover,and dialogue ways to connect the ideas, until we independently or together discover creative effective insights that lead to new possible behaviors. In order to participate in a fuller and more competent operation on our planet: “Spaceship Earth”.

je seme at tout vent 150x150 BREATHE she says...

Here is a little bit of an appreciative inquiry!

Have you ever breathed really well?

How would you know? and what criteria are you using?

what do you believe is possible for you?

John Kelly RN


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Bob Whitehouse EdD and John Kelly RN would like to invite you to discover and explore The Art and Science of Breathing and Heart Rate Variability….for blog august 20101 300x64 Welcome!

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