Breathing is the new black. I am a huge fan of Nassim Taleb. He introduced me to the Lindy effect. Something that was true 3000 years ago is probably still valid 3000 years from now. That is why you should trust Chinese medicine over modern medicine. Including their perspective on breathing.
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
In ancient medicine, breathing is a topic of enormous interest. That is why we introduce all our Doorbraak clients to the Wim or Marcel Hof method. Proper breathing makes a huge difference. Via Tibor, I met Ruud van de Wiel, who is a breathing coach. He recommended “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art”.
Twenty-five sextillion molecules
You inhale twenty-five sextillion molecules (that’s 250 with 20 zeros after it), 18 times a minute, 25,000 times a day. In a single breath, more molecules of air will pass through your nose than all the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches—trillions and trillions of them. Your body, like all human bodies, is essentially a collection of tubes. If you lined up all the tubes in the airways of your body, they’d reach for more than 1,500 miles.
Oxygen and carbon dioxide
Those tubes bring oxygen to our cells. Cells need oxygen. We have got some 37 trillion cells in our bodies that need oxygen. You are what you do, you are what you eat, you are what you think, and you are what and how you breathe. It not only about oxygen. Carbon dioxide is the chief hormone of the entire body; it is the only one that is produced by every tissue, and that probably acts on every organ. Carbon dioxide is, in fact, a more fundamental component of living matter than is oxygen.
And we are doing it all wrong. Today, the human body is changing in ways that have nothing to do with the “survival of the fittest.” Instead, we’re adopting and passing down traits that are detrimental to our health. It is called dysevolution, and you should take note. In simple terms, industrialised food is shrinking our mouths. We are not chewing anymore, and it is destroying our breathing. Societies that replaced their traditional diet with modern, processed foods suffered up to ten times more cavities, severely crooked teeth, obstructed airways, and overall poorer health.
Use your nose
You are not using your nose enough. It is designed to breathe and smell. The smell is life’s oldest sense. You should not breathe through your mouth. Keep your mouth closed.
The book combines ancient wisdom with modern science. For example, it refers to the Five Tibetan Rites. What the bodily form depends on is breath (chi), and what breath relies upon is form. I have immediately made those five rites part of my routine.
Breathing is about rhythm
Basically, breathing is about rhythm. The best rhythm is 5.5-second inhales followed by 5.5-second exhales, which works out almost exactly to 5.5 breaths a minute. Chinese doctors two thousand years ago advised 13,500 breaths per day, which works out to nine and a half breaths per minute. Through your nose.
Breathing is management
The tens of billions of molecules we bring into our bodies with every breath also serve a more subtle, but equally important role. They influence nearly every internal organ, telling them when to turn on and off. It manages your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. During rest, about 750 millilitres of blood—enough to fill a full wine bottle—flows through the brain every minute. With just a few minutes or even seconds, of over-breathing, brain blood flow can decrease by 40%, which is an incredible amount.
Your breathing manages your life force or prana. The concept of prana was first documented around the same time in India and China, some 3,000 years ago, and became the bedrock of medicine. The Chinese called it ch’i and believed the body contained channels that functioned like prana power lines connecting organs and tissues. The Japanese had their own name for prana, ki, as did the Greeks (pneuma), Hebrews (ruah), Iroquois (orenda), etc.
Manage the different systems in your body
Chemoreception is one of the most fundamental functions of life. The nagging need to breathe is activated from a cluster of neurons called the central chemoreceptors, located at the base of the brain stem. Hence the Wim Hof, Marcel Hof or Inner Fire Meditation, where you learn to actively manage the different systems in your body, including prana with amazing results, You can train your chemoreceptors. You can train yourself to step outside the amygdalae and access your autonomic nervous system and the immune system. You can breath yourself back to health.