One of the organizations that I belong to is the Foundation for Airway Health. In one of its most recent publications, a short article was published that made a lot of sense to me. Allow me to paraphrase it for you. With the stress, fears, and challenges for the global COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis, it can be difficult to stay relaxed, function normally, and tend to life as usual. Nancy Rothstein offers some of the sage advice.
There are prevention strategies that are paramount to your physical and mental health, now and into the future that will enhance your immune system and keep you healthy and strong. These include proper breathing and sufficient sleep.
Starting with breathing, there are some simple tools that will allow you to remain calm and reduce the risk of unhealthy invaders entering your body.
Breathing is a strategy that should be done through the nose and not the mouth. When we inhale the oxygen through the nose, we have a built-in protective system that filters the air of toxins and bacteria. Our nostrils are lined with tiny hairs called cilia that protect our body from the roughly 20 billion foreign invaders each day. These little guys are quite busy keeping our lungs clear of air borne bacteria and viruses like COVID-19.
Ms. Rothstein goes on to say that the key to reducing anxiety and stress during challenging times is controlling the length, depth, and pace of our nasal breath. Breathing rates and patterns signal our brains to behave in the stress response or the relaxation response. When we breathe at a rate of 12 breaths or MORE per minute, we signal the stress response. Our bodies go into the sympathetic tone – fight or flight. This can affect the immune system and cause a release of cortisol. However, when our breath slows down to 10 times per minute or less, we signal the relaxation response.
Breathing Solutions FOR BATTLE CREEK PATIENTS
It is easy to begin to calm yourself with breathing. I have taught this to numerous people and helped them get through their chronic face pain and TMJ pain. We start with diaphragmatic breathing – making your belly expand and contract instead of your chest moving up and down. As you begin practicing, think of the waves on the ocean as they come in and out. A wave crashes against the shore and then recedes. When it does, there is a wait period before the next wave comes in. Starting with a pace of in for 4, then out for 4, then waiting for 4, before the next breath is taken. As you get more proficient in this, you can lengthen the in and out to counts of 6 and even 8 to slow the breath down. When you do this, you improve your self-care, support your immune system, and reduce the inflammation that is present. And, breathing through the nose helps keep the COVID-19 virus from getting into the throat and lungs and becoming a much bigger problem.
Contact the Open Airway & Breath Institute today, Dr. Robin Steely, DDS and our team are ready to help you find renewed energy and health. Together we’ll find the right solutions to help you address your overall well-being. We welcome patients from Battle Creek, Bedford Charter Township, Kalamazoo, Portage, Marshall, Richland, Holland, Grand Rapids, Hastings, Charlotte, Springfield, and Coldwater. Please contact us or call 269-968-8151, we look forward to working with you!