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Pee Strips, Power Lungs & Pulse Oximeters: How To Flip The Switch On Your Body’s Own Natural Ability To Heal Itself (& Little-Known Ways To Breathe Better).

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

In the past several months, I've taken a deep, deep dive into breath work. Sure, in the past years I've written articles on everything from combining ketosis, breath holds and freediving, to how to make your own hyperbaric “exercise with oxygen therapy” (EWOT) device, to Wim Hof style breathing for cold thermogenesis to underwater workouts with Laird Hamilton to making yourself high with holotropic breathwork to the use of fancy breath strips and “Turbine” devices to enhance nasal breathing during both exercise and sleep…

…but lately, I've been making a very concerted effort to consistently do deep nasal breathing, rhythmic breathing and breath hold tactics during walks, weight training sessions, road trips and beyond. And by concerted, I mean consistently, every day, until these forms of breathing become fully automatic.

In her new book “Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health” my guest Dr. Belisa Vranich explains why breathing is so crucial for optimizing brain and body performance, and she delves into one of the most comprehensive treatises of practical breathing tactics that I've ever read (the other best book on this topic is “The Oxygen Advantage” by Patrick McKeown, who I'm also getting on the podcast soon). She highlights the results she's seen in her research and in her own patients, including…

Insomnia? Gone.

Anxiety? Gone.

All without medication.

Unpleasant side effects from blood pressure pills? Gone.

A cheap and effective way to combat cardiovascular disease, immune dysfunction, obesity, and GI disorders? Yes.

Sounds too good to be true?

Contemporary science confirms what generations of healers have observed through centuries of practice: Breath awareness can turn on the body’s natural abilities to prevent and cure illness. The mental and physical stresses of modern life, such as anxiety, frustration, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, high blood pressure, digestive woes, and immune dysfunction can all be addressed through conscious control of your breath. In addition, it can increase energy, accelerate healing, improve cognitive skills, and enhance mental balance.

Yet most of us stopped breathing in the anatomically “right” way, the way to take advantage of these benefits, when we were four or five years old. We now mostly breathe in a way that is anatomically incongruous and makes for more illness. But in the book “Breathe“, Dr. Vranich shows readers how to turn back the tide of stress and illness, and improve the overall quality of their life through a daily breathing workout.

In a fascinating, straightforward, jargon-free exploration of how our bodies were meant to breathe, she delves into the ins and outs of proper breathing. By combining both anatomy and fitness with psychology and mindfulness, Dr. Vranich gives readers a way of solving health problems at the crux and healing themselves from the inside out. Breathe is an easy-to-follow guide to breathing exercises that will increase energy, help lose weight, and make you feel calmer and happier.

Dr. Vranich is a clinical psychologist with over twenty years of experience, and she has spent the last decade dedicating herself to the study of breathing. She is the founder of The Breathing Class and has appeared in dozens of national media outlets, including Anderson Cooper, CNN, Fox, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Inside Edition, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Men's Fitness and Huffington Post. She is also the former sports psychologist for Gold's Gym and columnist for Shape.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-How to determine something called your “baseline breath”…[10:35]

-The best biohacking gear that you can use to self quantify and test your breath…[24:45 & 28:10]

-What percentage oxygen level you should look at when using an oximeter to check your blood oxygenation levels…[29:15]

-The acid-alkaline relationship between something called “overbreathing” and craving junk foods…[19:20 & 34:40]

-Why your breath hold time may not be that important (unless you're into freediving, spearfishing, shooting, golfing, surfing, surgery or tattoo artistry)…[38:00 & 42:00]

-Why rock musicians have very strong vagus nerve stimulation…[52:20]

-How breathwork detoxifies your body and moves lymph through your circulatory system…[57:30]

-The $3000 device that Dr. Vranich swears by for full body massage and diaphragmatic stimulation…[64:45]

-What Dr. Vranich thinks of devices like the Powerlung and the Elevation Training Mask…[70:50]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

My article on “30 Ways To Breathe Better”

Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Deep Nutrition by Cate Shanahan

Fingertip pulse oximeter

Urine pH strips

Spirometer / flow meter for measuring lung capacity

PowerLung breath training device

Elevation Training Mask (use code GREEN1 for 20% discount)

Eat Wheat by Dr. John Douillard

The Myobuddy massage device that Ben uses

DMS Professional Deep Muscle Stimulator Massager that Belisa uses

The Official Bas Rutten O2Trainer

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Belisa or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

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15 thoughts on “Pee Strips, Power Lungs & Pulse Oximeters: How To Flip The Switch On Your Body’s Own Natural Ability To Heal Itself (& Little-Known Ways To Breathe Better).

  1. Ben, you are amazing and life changing. My 5 sons and I listen to and read everything you do. Thanks for being a True North Guiding Star (and for keeping it family friendly).

    Breathing and snoring?! Also, Immersion Pulmonary Edema-I wish this had been addressed; especially because an elite Duke University swimmer died from this in 2016. This is the thought that runs through my mind when I’m sprinting through that last 50 free.

  2. I found your recent episode with Dr. Vranich really inspiring. I have listened to it a few times, and have just picked up the audio version of her book. I also dusted off some other breathing resources I’ve tried in the past but never really committed to fully. The podcast has me feeling hopeful and inspired, and I’m committed to 14 days of breathing improvement. It will be interesting to see how it goes! Thanks for the episode, and for what you do in general.

  3. Ben, you’re on a roll now with a number of excellent interviews with some great content. I was very impressed with Dr. Vranich and will definitely purchase her book. I’ve been very conscious of my breathing for the past 4 or 5 days now since watching this podcast and that is certainly the best first step from trying to improve it.

  4. Hi Ben,

    What is the app’s name you used to train breathing you mentioned in the podcast?

    Is there an Android version?

    thanks,

    Yang

  5. You mentioned using an app recommended to you by Mark Divine to improve your extended breathing (such as the box breathing method). Is there a specific app you recommend for this?

  6. Hey Ben, I’m confused from all the breathing styles and which ones are healthy or are they all healthy. For example I do Wim Hoff breathing before meditation and it really helps my focus and mood. I also do just deep Wim Hoff style breathing when I feel I need a little jolt of energy or if I feel a sore throat coming on. And it seems to help. Then I read Oxygen Advantage a while back and he has a lot of good point in there about how we get too much Oxygen and we are over breathing. So it would seem the Wim Hof stuff I’m doing is bad or contributing to over breathing. Any way you can just discuss both styles in very easy to understand way. Maybe there’s room for both styles in my life…?

    1. Just like exercising, different modes for different applications. Like Wim Hof is good for cold, for example. And then Oxygen Advantage can be good for endurance exercise sessions, or Pranayama for yoga, etc.

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