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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method Workshop Set-Up at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

Nasal Breathing: Breathwork techniques you can practise at home!

Topic for today's breathwork discussion, nasal breathing!


Welcome to this mini-series of breathwork techniques for different moments in life that you can practise at home.


However, before we continue…. Safety…. Please read and take note of the footnote before practising any form of breathwork. If it is not suitable for you from a health point of view, please seek an alternative or medical advice first.


The nose, it's there for a reason!



Lady in a pink jacket with her eyes closed and taking part in breathwork techniques.
Wim Hof Method Breathwork at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne


Actually, there are over 30 things your nose does, all linked to health and wellness, some of which you may know, some of which (unless you are an ENT Surgeon) you probably won’t!


The ones you may know include: 


  • Filters air of pathogens and dust 

  • Promotes calm & relaxation 

  • Promotes lung health by keeping lungs moist and clean 

  • Humidifies air as it enters the lungs, preventing airways and lungs becoming dry and inflamed. 

  • Increases oxygen uptake in blood 

  • Creates Nitric Oxide – a gas that dilates (opens) airways, blood vessels and is an antimicrobial agent 

  • Helps increases focus  

  • Trains the diaphragm – there is 50% more resistance by breathing through your nose rather than mouth breaths 


The ones you may not know include:


  • Helps boost memory   

  • Helps maintain overall body hydration 

  • Helps development of the jaw and face 

  • Considerably improves visuospatial awareness 

  • Makes breathing easier during exercise & rest 

  • Actually, clears a blocked nose

  • Even helps you sniff out the right life partner!


But how?



Lady on the floor in a grey jumper taking part in breathing techniques
Wim Hof Method Breathwork at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne


To expand on some of these points, the nose is there to help with:


Filtration and Moisturisation


The nose acts as a natural air filter, removing particles, allergens, and pollutants from the air we breathe. It also adds moisture to the air, which is beneficial for preventing dryness and inflammation in the respiratory system.


Temperature Regulation


Nasal passages help to regulate the temperature of the air we inhale, ensuring that it is warmed to body temperature before reaching the lungs. This helps prevent irritation of the respiratory tract.


Nitric Oxide Production


The nasal passages produce nitric oxide, a molecule with various physiological effects, including widening of airways and blood vessels to increase oxygen uptake in the lungs, reducing inflammation, and serving as an antimicrobial agent against pathogens.


Improved Lung Function


Nasal breathing promotes diaphragmatic breathing, where the diaphragm, the primary muscle of respiration, is fully engaged. This strengthens the diaphragm and improves overall lung function. Mouth breathers do not employ the diaphragm and as a result only take in a portion of the air their body needs, so breathing speeds up, resulting in very dysfunctional breathing and a heightened state of anxiety.


Enhanced Oxygen Absorption and Carbon Dioxide Balance


Nasal breathing facilitates better oxygen absorption in the lungs compared to mouth breathing. This is because the nasal passages create resistance, allowing for slower, deeper diaphragmatic breaths, which optimise Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen exchange in the lungs. Mouth breathing can disrupt this balance, leading to issues such as hyperventilation or reduced oxygen delivery to tissues.


Support for Dental Health


Nasal breathing helps maintain proper tongue posture against the roof of the mouth, which is essential for proper dental and facial development. Mouth breathing, on the other hand, can lead to issues such as misalignment of teeth, gum disease, and facial deformities.


Improves Memory and Visuospatial Awareness


Nasal breathing creates a body condition ideal for cognitive function & memory, by increasing oxygenation, regulating neurotransmitter hormone levels, reducing stress, and enhancing relaxation. Some studies suggest that nasal breathing may also influence brainwave patterns, particularly increasing alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are associated with a relaxed, yet alert mental state, which enhance cognitive processes such as visuospatial awareness.


The Original Dating App


Perhaps most interestingly, there is an ancient ability of humans, using the nose to subconsciously sniff out the right life partner; an ability we have left over from before the development of the speaking language, where making the right decision about a partner was literally a life-or-death choice! 


Nasal breathing is absolutely essential for maintaining respiratory health, optimising oxygen intake, and supporting various physiological processes in the body.


Those that breathe half, live half!


And for sleep?

In the first of this series of Blog Posts, we talked about how important sleep is to health and well-being and outlined some of the simple techniques we use to help promote a good night’s sleep. 


The common thread through these techniques is that they all use nasal breathing as the keystone. 


Nasal breathing is generally considered beneficial during sleep, for several reasons:


Promotes Relaxation


Nasal breathing activates the diaphragm and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a sense of relaxation and calmness. This can be particularly helpful for inducing and maintaining a restful sleep. 


Nitric Oxide Production


Again, when you breathe through your nose, the nasal passages release nitric oxide, a molecule that has various positive effects. This gas helps to dilate blood vessels, increase oxygen uptake in the lungs, and enhances the delivery of oxygen to cells. This can be particularly beneficial during sleep when the body undergoes repair and restoration.


Humidification and Filtration


The nasal passages humidify and filter the air you breathe. This is important for preventing irritation of the airways and protecting the respiratory system from potential pathogens and allergens. Humidified air is also more comfortable for the respiratory system, especially in dry or cold climates.


Optimal Tongue and Jaw Position


We’ve talked about facial development, but nasal breathing encourages the tongue to rest against the roof of the mouth and promotes proper jaw alignment. This can help prevent issues such as snoring and sleep apnea, as well as promote better overall oral and facial health.


Reduced Snoring


Nasal breathing is often associated with a reduced likelihood of snoring. When you breathe through your nose, the airflow is smoother, and the tissues in the throat are less likely to vibrate, which is a common cause of snoring. 


In contrast, mouth breathing during sleep may contribute to various issues, including dry mouth, increased snoring, and potential disruptions in the airway that can lead to sleep apnea.


If someone consistently experiences difficulties with nasal breathing during sleep, consulting with a healthcare professional may be advisable to identify and address any underlying issues.


Greater Lung Volume


Breathing through the nose can facilitate slower, deeper breaths compared to mouth breathing. This can lead to a greater volume of air reaching the lower parts of the lungs, improving oxygen exchange and overall respiratory efficiency.


We are largely aware of how the lack of exercise, poor food, not enough rest and over-use of technology all influence our performance, recovery, repair, balance, sleep and mental state yet we pay very little attention to the breath, despite its enormous potential to unlock a waterfall of health and well-being benefits.


Take a moment to notice your own breathing – is your belly moving? It should be! Nasal breathing promotes the activation of the diaphragm; as you breathe in, the diaphragm draws down forcing all the organs and intestines of your abdomen to squash down forcing your belly to ‘expand’ slightly. 


If you are a chest breather, your abdomen will barely move. 


Want to learn more?


We look forward to sharing with you our Oxygen Advantage Breathwork Courses and Classes to be launched soon. 


Over the period of several weeks, come and learn how to breathe properly in daily life, learn the benefits of simple techniques to massively improve your functional breathing and reap all the benefits of using your nose.... afterall, that is what it is there for! 


Footnote

 

At Vitae Vi, the well-being of our clients is of utmost importance to us. We deeply value your health and safety, and as such, we strongly encourage you to carefully review our Health and Safety Policy.


This policy outlines our commitment to creating a secure and protected environment, ensuring that your experience with us is not only enjoyable but prioritises your overall well-being. Thank you for entrusting us with your safety, and please take a moment to familiarise yourself with our policies for a seamless and secure experience.


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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method class at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

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