In Traditional Chinese Medicine, blood, energy, and oxygen are primary backbones to the bodies ability to heal and COMMUNICATE.
Communication within the body is first step in healing. Healing is hindered when one cell or one portion of the body stops communicating with another. Remember, we are a whole unit, not just a sum of the parts-that is a reductionist way to view health. We want whole.
Breathing the proper way increases communication within the body. In Chinese medicine we refer to it as the Zong Qi (Air Energy), which is responsible for creating blood along with Gu Qi (Food Energy). In western terminology it makes sense, our bodies take all the nutrients such as amino acids, proteins, fats, etc. place them in the liver to create our cells. The oxygen we then breathe in is combined with our cells to create cell life/metabolism. This is especially significant in our formation of red blood cells. Our blood is responsible for 3 major things: carry nutrients to rest of body, nourish the body, and protect from febrile/chronic disease. Our cells will have no backbone of energy without OXYGEN.
One influential breathing technique is to breathe through the stomach. Literally push your stomach out and pull the air down to the lower lungs. Many times in my clinic, I have patients attempt this, and it is difficult, sometimes painful around the ribs, to do this. We are chest breathers in our culture; we raise our shoulders and tighten all our shoulder muscles which create stiffness. Bring the oxygen downward so that the diaphragm (muscle underneath your ribs) gets loosened and flexible. The diaphragm must be loose for the lungs to fill completely with air (maximum O2 levels in the blood) and for the heart to beat normally without constriction (your heart sits on top of the diaphragm, breathing helps the beat pattern of the heart).
Another major event occurs at every breath. When the diaphragm is loosened with proper stomach breathing it stimulates and regulates your PARASYMPATHETIC nervous system, the portion of your nerves that control your ability to relax and chill, i.e. THE VAGUS NERVE. Breathing through the chest can lead to anxious nerve stimulation. Stomach breathing increases new nerve pathways and vagal signals to control relaxation.
Clinical research is showing that a person in a relaxed, parasympathetic state has higher capability to fight off chronic infection, pain, and sickness. It accomplishes this through increased oxygen intake and heightened nerve communication because of the relaxed state of the body and cells. Yes your cells have tension if you are tense.
All these things occur at each breath. Take note how you breathe and realize how you breathe effects your ability carry oxygen, nutrients, energy, and heal overall. Each day breathe through your stomach 10 deep times at least 4 times a day, it is such a good calming rush:)
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