The Art of Healing – Slow, Steady and Easy Breathing

A fantastic article from The Art of Healing magazine on breathing retraining.

A function that we take for granted that can have a huge imapct on health and performance.

Slow, Steady and Easy Breathing


All doctors should know that chronically and even seriously ill people with dangerous acute infections will benefit immediately from controlling the quantity of air going into and out of a patient’s lungs.

When we practice breathing retraining it is almost like standing on a chariot with four wild horses and we pull back on the reins—limiting the air flow slowing everything down—we increase electron flow, raising cellular voltage, pH, and oxygenation as well as carbon dioxide levels. Just about everyone knows that the central key to curing cancer is found in raising pH and oxygen levels. Most doctors though don’t want to know about the significance of something as basic as oxygen or as basic as therapeutic breathing exercises.

What’s the secret here? When we allow CO2 levels to rise back to normal levels we are allowing oxygen levels also to return to normal and the arteries and veins to dilate which allows more blood and oxygen to reach the tissues. Blood pressure obviously would be lower under higher CO2 conditions.

When we deal with a person’s breath in a medical way we are able to quickly intervene on the most basic physiological parameters that affect the health of the cells. The second we pay attention to our breath our breathing changes and when we are emotionally upset we can see how quickly conscious breathing can bring us back to emotional tranquility. That’s what we feel on an emotional level but on a cellular level the cells start to sing a more beautiful song as oxygen and CO2 levels rise together through slower breathing.

Less is More

Medical studies have proven that the more we breathe, the less oxygen is provided for the vital organs of the body. Does that sound upside down to you? Well it’s true. Ideal breathing corresponds to very slow, light, and easy abdominal breathing (also called diaphragmatic or belly breathing), something that needs to be relearned (or learned) if one has high hopes of beating cancer or overcoming other chronic disorders. It really is difficult to recover from anything when we are breathing wrong! Diaphragmatic breathing allows one to take normal breaths while maximising the amount of oxygen that goes into the bloodstream.

Most people believe in the benefits of deep breathing. “Deep breathing” exercises and techniques, to anyone who knows something about breathing, does not suggest in any way that one should actually over-breathe. Deep breathing is just another way of saying belly breathing as opposed to shallow superficial chest breathing. Deep breathing should be very slow so that one accumulates more CO2 in the blood. Deep breathing means breathing less air not more. Some people actually think it is wrong to call therapeutic breathing “deep breathing. If you breathe less and accumulate CO2, the correct name is “reduced breathing,” writes Artour Rakhimov, PhD, one of the great
proponents of CO2 medicine.

When we shift the breathing of a person who has cancer, we instantly begin to beat back the horde of cancer cells that do not like increases in pH, oxygen, cell voltage or CO2! And cancer cells are not the only thing we need to be afraid of. Jon Barron writes about two new superbugs—C. diff and K. pneumoniae that are evolving rapidly. Not only are they now resistant to most antibiotics, but they have also learned to spread outside of hospitals. Yes, they were created in hospitals and nursing homes, but like dangerous escaped convicts, they have broken out of those prisons and now threaten anyone with a compromised immune system or less-than-optimal intestinal bacteria. And like escaped convicts, they should be considered armed and dangerous!

When we breathe less, we directly influence the involuntary (sympathetic nervous system) that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions. Slow breathing is convenient, it lacks the potential side effects of medications, and it is easy to perform. It can be hard to believe that something so easy and accessible can have so many benefits.
Breath is life so we can expect to feel more alive, vibrant and healthy if we bring our awareness to our breath and retrain the way we breathe. When we breathe perfectly we can live more perfectly in health because our breath is the most important source of energy. Hippocrates said, “Air is a pasture of life and a greatest ruler of all.” I suppose he knew what ancient oriental philosophers knew—that in the air is “an ocean of energy” ready to be tapped directly into.
Few people understand the importance of “natural breathing.” This is the kind of spontaneous, whole-body breathing that one can observe in infants and young children.

Mantak Chia wrote, “For thousands of years Taoist masters have taught natural breathing. We are able to improve the functioning and efficiency of our heart, lungs, and other internal organs and systems. We are able to help balance our emotions. We are able to transform our stress and negativity into the energy that we can use for self-healing and self-development. And we are better able to extract and absorb the energy we need for spiritual growth and independence.” Breathing correctly is important for living longer and it helps us maintain positive emotions as well as helping keep our performance at its best in everyday activity.

We all breathe, all day, every day, so we might as well do it right. Since a breath is the very first and last physical activity we undertake in life, we should give it the consideration and importance it deserves in our pursuit of health and relaxation. We can live a long time without food and a couple of days without drinking, but life without breath is measured in minutes. As soon as we pay attention to our breathing, it immediately changes, and that is the whole point. Breathing retraining entails bringing our awareness to our breath and to treat with respect something that is so important to maintaining our lives.

Dennis Lewis, the author of the Tao of Breathing wrote, “In 1990 I found myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, with a constant, sharp pain on the right side of my rib cage. When Gilles Marin first put his hands into my belly and began to massage my inner organs and tissues, and when he began to ask me to breathe into parts of myself that I had never experienced through my breath, I had no idea of the incredible journey of discovery that I was beginning. Though the physical pain disappeared after several sessions, and though I began to feel more alive, a deeper, psychic pain began to emerge—the pain of recognising that in spite of all my efforts over many years toward self-knowledge and self-transformation, I had managed to open myself to only a small portion of the vast scale of the physical, emotional, and spiritual energies available to us at every moment. As Gilles continued working on me, and as my breath began to penetrate deeper into myself, I began to sense layer after layer of tension, anger, fear, and sadness resonating in my abdomen below the level of my so-called waking consciousness, and consuming the energies I needed not only for health, but also for a real engagement with life.

And this deepening sensation at the very center of my being, painful as it was, brought with it an opening, not only in the tissues of my belly, but also in my most intimate attitudes toward myself, a welcoming of hitherto unconscious fragments of myself into a new sense of discovery.”

Our poor breathing habits have arisen not only out of our psychosomatic “ignorance,” our lack of organic awareness, but also out of our unconscious need for a buffering mechanism to keep us from sensing and feeling the reality of our own deep-rooted fears and contradictions. There is absolutely no doubt that superficial breathing ensures a superficial experience of ourselves and our lives and our relationships with others.

The American Academy of Cardiology says, “Stress can cause shortness of breath or make it worse. Once you start feeling short of breath, it is common to get nervous or anxious. This can make your shortness of breath even worse. Being anxious tightens the muscles that help you breathe, and this makes you start to breathe faster. As you get more anxious, your breathing muscles get tired. This causes even more shortness of breath and more anxiety. At this point, you may panic.”

Learning to avoid or control stress can help you avoid
this cycle. You can learn tips to help you relax and learn
breathing techniques to get more air into your lungs.
American Academy of Cardiology

If we were able to breathe “naturally” for even a small percentage of the more than 15,000 breaths we take during each waking day, we would be taking a huge step not only toward preventing many of the physical and psychological problems that have become endemic to modern life, but also toward supporting our own inner growth—the growth of awareness of who and what we really are, of our own essential being.

There is a profound effect to people’s health when they start dropping off a few of those thousands of breath. If 15,000 is about normal what would life be like if we reduced that to 10,000 breaths a day or less?

1. Breathing detoxifies and releases toxins.
2. Breathing releases tension.
3. Breathing relaxes the mind/body and brings clarity.
4. Breathing relieves emotional problems.
5. Breathing relieves pain.
6. Breathing massages your organs.
7. Breathing increases muscle.
8. Breathing strengthens the immune system.
9. Breathing improves posture.
10. Breathing improves quality of the blood.
11. Breathing increases digestion and assimilation of food.
12. Breathing improves the nervous system.
13. Breathing strengthens the lungs.
14. Proper breathing makes the heart stronger.
15. Proper breathing assists in weight control.
16. Breathing boosts energy levels and improves stamina.
17. Breathing improves cellular regeneration.
18. Breathing elevates moods.