Breathing Right Helps to Build Up Your Immunity

“All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level.” - Dr. Arthur C. Guyton

With no signs of Covid-19 slowing down, the best defence for our health is to increase our immunity. Our immune system is the front line of protection that keeps us from getting sick. Comprising billions of cells, our immune system is designed to fight off bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. There are many ways to keep our immunity strong such as leading a healthy lifestyle and making sure your gut is at its optimum. But did you know how you breathe also play a critical role in making your immune system stronger?

Effects of stress on immunity

Breathing is a process most of us hardly pay any attention to. That’s because our body’s automatic nervous system controls it so that even when we sleep, we continue breathing as usual. A basis for almost all relaxation techniques, deep breathing has a number of benefits, specifically to counter stress. Known as the disease of modern life, we are all affected by stress, one way or another. This is a critical point to note because if we are not able to manage stress, we are vastly compromising our immunity. When we are stressed, we experience a range of symptoms from heart palpitations to shortness of breath.

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Good stress vs. bad stress

Good stress or stress in small doses is great. It provides a burst of energy that spurs us to meet a deadline or prepare us to handle an emergency. Bad stress, on the other hand, is long-term stress that stays with us for weeks or months. We are not designed to stay in flight or fight mode for long periods of time. During stress mode, a hormone known as cortisol is released, suppressing our immune system’s ability to effectively ward off invaders. When this happens over time, our body’s line of defence is weakened and puts our body through high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and even heart disease.

Managing stress through diaphragmatic breathing

Once we acknowledge that stress is an unavoidable reality of life, the next course of action is to learn how to overcome it. Deep breathing exercises, also known as diaphragmatic breathing is known to help reduce the effects of stress. Efficient breathing involves us breathing from the belly and not from the chest. By doing so, we are allowing a healthy flow of oxygen to enter the body. The increased oxygen returns us to calmer state and has an extraordinary effect on our physical and physiological state.

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Breathing deeply and mindfully

More than just an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that takes place, mindful breathing sends signals to our body that all is well. Deep diaphragmatic breathing sends a fresh gush of oxygen into the blood stream, particularly to the brain. It also has beneficial effects on our immunity by lowering stress, which in turn, helps the body stay resilient to illness and lethargy. Breathing deeply is one of the simplest and most effective way for our wellbeing. So the next time we go outside and breath the fresh air in a park or by the beach, let’s appreciate it more.

Posted On
11 September 2020

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