The Importance Of Nasal Breathing

Breathing is something we have to do every day but do you realize the benefits of breathing through your nose as opposed to breathing through your mouth.

In my clinic, I ensure that my patients are educated on this and the influence it can have on them getting back to full function and their pre-injured state. This blog will explain the importance of nasal breathing and the positive affect it can have on your health.

As Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage best puts it, “Noses are for breathing, Mouths are for eating”. Mouth breathing is synonymous with what we like to call ‘fight or flight’, a heightened state of the nervous system where adrenaline flows and our demand for oxygen increases. As a result, we revert to breathing through the mouth to satisfy our increased desire and need for oxygen.

Rest and digest is the opposite to this and is more optimal for tissue repair and cell regeneration. Nasal Breathing is synonymous with Rest and digest. I’m now going to outline some the key differences between mouth breathing and nasal breathing.

1) Mouth breathing can have an influence on posture and neck and back pain

Those who breathe through the mouth are more prone to using the upper chest and neck muscles to help themselves respire.  This can leads to a forward head posture and neck pain. It also can lead to an anterior tilt of the pelvis which may result in low back discomfort. On the other hand, breathing through the nose results in abdominal breathing and makes full use of the diaphragm to ensure calm, steady breathing.

2) Energy

If we mouth breathe our breath is sometimes larger but the result is a shallower intake of air. As a result, less oxygen can get into the lower third of your lungs which is full of blood vessels to transport oxygen around your body.  This reduced oxygen can lead to lower amounts of energy day to day and a lack of concentration.  By taking breaths through the nose, our breaths are deeper which allows more oxygen to be taken up, and as a result can lead to better energy levels and improved concentration.

3) Good Facial and Jaw Development

Partick Mckeown talks about the influence mouth breathing can have on the development of a child’s jaw and facial structural during childhood. The position of your tongue plays an important role in this and when one mouth breathes they do not use the tongue to support the palate and jaw. Over the vital growing years of childhood this can lead to many changes including a narrow jaw and eventual crooked teeth as a result, as well as changes to the development of your cheekbones and nasal cavity. There is actually a lot of good evidence to support this as well as the fact that orthodontic treatment is becoming all too common for young adults in this day and age. Nasal breathing is synonymous with good facial and jaw development

4) Your Nose Acts As A Filter

Nasal breathing is very important at not only improving your general health, but also for preventing potential illness. When we breathe through the nose it helps to warm and humidify the incoming air, ensuring that once it reaches the lungs it is already at room temperature. While on this journey through the nose, many germs, bacteria and microbes are filtered out of the airstream, which goes a long way in preventing potential illness.

5) Dehydration

Mouth breathing can leave your mouth very dry. Mouth breathing eventually contributes to total body dehydration. When we pass air through the nose, it helps to reabsorb moisture efficiently, which helps to prevent total body dehydration. As well as this, the drying of the mouth can lead to greater acidification, leading to the potential to develop cavities and gum disease.

 

Conclusion

So, there you have it. There is a lot of information there that may be new to a lot of people and may come as a surprise. Changing your breathing pattern from an upper chest mouth breather to an abdomen and diaphragm nasal breather can have a very positive affect. In my clinic I use nasal breathing as an important part in getting people out of pain and back to full fitness and function and  I advise and give you strategies to help you do this.

If you would like to find out more about the ways I do this and if it can help you and your pain or injury then you can call the clinic on 089 210 2586 or email me at info@midlandsphysicaltherapy.ie.

Alternatively click on the link below and fill out the form and I will give you a call back.

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