Proper breathing is one of the most important things you can do for maintaining your health. Deep breaths benefit the body by taking in the correct amount of oxygen, which in turn lowers blood pressure and relaxes muscle. It also relaxes the brain, causes the heart rate to slow, and releases endorphins (“feel good” hormones), which are our body’s natural painkillers. Deep breathing can help battle lethargy and fatigue, insomnia, stress, and anxiety. The list goes on and on! But did you know that another great benefit of breathing correctly is weight loss?

One of the problems in trying to lose weight is that STRESS causes our body to actually pack on additional pounds. (More on that in my next blog!) Learning to breath correctly calms two of our brain’s glands that get our adrenaline pumping. This lowers stress levels, helps the body to relax and not over-produce the steroid Cortisol. Cortisol is a helpful steroid hormone that our body produces – but too much cortisol production can cause high blood pressure, dehydration, weakened immune system, loss of collagen, infertility, a decrease in bone density, and the dreaded weight gain and obesity! Breathing calms the glands so that our cortisol production can regulate.

A good deep breath also directly benefits our lymphatic system. What is the lymph system? Some people think of it as our body’s sewage system. Every cell in our body is surrounded by lymph. Our cells depend on the lymphatic system as the only way to drain off the toxic materials and excess fluids in our body. This fluid passes through our lymph nodes, where dead cells and all other toxins are destroyed and neutralized. How important is the lymphatic system? If it were totally shut down for 24 hours, you could die as the result of trapped blood proteins and excess fluid around the cells.

Since our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, breathing drives this action. If you take a deep breath and exhale deeply, you’re massaging the thoracic duct upward into the neck so that the fluid flows abundantly. When the lymphatic system is flowing well, our body’s plumbing and repair system can function normally. This keeps things flowing, and directly helps flush the backed up fat and toxins from our system.

So, how do you take a deep, cleansing breath? Sit up straight, or lay flat on the ground. Place your hands on your abdomen, just below your belly button. Without moving your shoulders, begin slowly breathing in through your nose. Envision that your stomach is a balloon that is filling up with air. (a balloon EXPANDS when it’s full. Your stomach should do the same!) When you feel like your lungs are full, take in a few more short breaths through your nose to fill your lungs ALL the way to the top. Hold for 5 or six seconds, and release through your mouth. With practice, you’ll find that you can take in more air and hold it for longer periods of time. If done correctly, you’ll notice the wave of calm that washes over you once you exhale. Get into the habit of doing periodically, and soon it will be involuntary!

Breathing is the most important of our bodily functions. Something so essential deserves our attention! Come visit Zerona Zone and Whole Health Colorado to learn more about breath, relaxation, fat loss, detoxification, and taking care of YOU! Call (720) 384-6710 today for more information.