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…
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:
–Elevation Training Mask (use code BGF for 20% discount)
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.