Self Help

Breath - Nestor;, James

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 53 min read

“If you liked the book, you can purchase it using the links in the description below. By buying through these links, you contribute to the blog without paying any extra, as we receive a small commission. This helps us bring more quality content to you!”



  • The author attends a breathing class in San Francisco on the recommendation of his doctor, to help with lung issues and stress. During the class, he sweats profusely despite the cool temperature, which surprises him.

  • Intrigued by this experience, he spends the next few years trying to understand what happened during the class and learning more about breathing.

  • To find answers, he travels to Greece to research freediving, where people can hold their breath underwater for over 10 minutes. He interviews many freedivers who claim anyone can train their lungs and bodies to accomplish amazing breath-holds with the right practice.

  • The author is curious how these regular people have trained themselves physiologically to go so long without air, diving far deeper than thought possible by scientists. The freedivers say it’s just a matter of training and tapping into unused pulmonary capacity.

  • The introduction sets up the author’s personal experience with breathing that sparked his interest, and his journey to understand breathing more through researching freediving extremes. It presents the potential for training one’s breathing abilities more than commonly believed.

  • The passage introduces the concept of conscious breathing that certain freedivers and ancient traditions practiced. They believed breathing was not just an unconscious act but could be used as medicine and to gain superhuman abilities.

  • Stories are shared of people expanding their lung capacity by 30% or more, losing weight just by changing breathing patterns, and using breathing to boost the immune system and cure illnesses. However, modern pulmonology sees breathing as simply exchanging air and not something that can be consciously controlled.

  • The author began researching breathing techniques in ancient Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist texts dating back thousands of years that described elaborate breathing practices. However, modern research had largely ignored this area.

  • The author eventually discovered that recent scientific studies at top universities were confirming some of these ancient beliefs. Researchers in unusual fields like archeology, dentistry, and psychiatry were finding that breathing affects human evolution, health, and disease.

  • Correct breathing may be able to cure or reduce many modern illnesses, but most people breathe incorrectly. The book will explore the lost art of breathing and emerging science showing its powerful impacts on health and the human body.

  • The passage describes visiting a nasal and sinus surgeon, Dr. Jayakar Nayak, for an examination. Nayak takes an endoscope camera through the author’s nose and down his throat to inspect his sinuses and airways.

  • The author has severe nasal obstruction and deformities in his sinuses due to problems like a V-shaped palate from improper development as a child. This is common in as many as half of modern humans.

  • For a 10-day experiment, the author will wear silicone plugs and tape over his nose to breathe solely through his mouth, simulating the effects of chronic nasal obstruction. This will hasten health problems and difficulty breathing.

  • Taking a sample with a wire brush, Nayak finds the author’s sinuses already have bacteria due to reduced airflow and congestion. The 10-day experiment will show how this bacterial growth is affected by being unable to breath through the nose. The goal is to understand the hidden importance of the nose and risks of chronic mouth breathing.

The passage describes a visit by the author to Dr. Marianna Evans, an orthodontist who studies ancient human skulls. She shows the author skulls from the Morton Collection, which date from 200-1000+ years ago. Evans points out that these ancient skulls all had very large nasal passages and sinus cavities, wide jaws, and broad faces compared to modern skulls. This forward facial structure would have ensured easy breathing with no blockages.

Evans and her colleague studied over 100 ancient skulls and found this forward growth pattern was consistent across populations worldwide from 300,000 years ago until just a few hundred years ago. In contrast, modern skulls all show a recessed jaw and chin, smaller sinuses, and some degree of crooked teeth. Humans are now the only mammal that routinely has misaligned teeth.

Evans questions why humans would evolve to make breathing more difficult. The skulls suggest lifestyle changes in recent history, not evolution, have resulted in traits like crooked teeth and smaller airways that impact modern health and breathing. This represents an evolutionary change for the worse rather than progress driven by natural selection.

  • Daniel Lieberman popularized the concept of dysevolution to explain modern human health issues like back pain, foot problems, and weaker bones. It is caused by adaptations during human evolution that were beneficial at the time but cause problems now.

  • Around 1.7 million years ago, early human ancestors like Homo habilis walked upright on the savanna and used tools. Cooking food provided more calories and allowed brains to grow larger over time.

  • However, brain growth took up space in the face, shrinking sinuses, mouth and airways. Advanced cooking decreased gut and jaw size further. This led to less efficient breathing with a smaller nose and throat exposure to pathogens.

  • Modern humans emerged 300,000 years ago among other human species. Vocal communication required the larynx to descend, increasing choking risk but enabling speech.

  • While adaptations gave early advantages, problems like choking and blocked breathing emerged later due to evolutionary changes in the face, mouth and throat. The author participates in a mouth breathing study that magnifies these issues.

  • The narrator has been conducting an experiment with his friend Olsson for 10 days where they breathe only through their mouths at certain intervals to observe the effects. Their health data shows issues like increased blood pressure and decreased heart rate variability, suggesting stress.

  • Each day after testing, Olsson would leave with a haunted expression, stuffed with nasal plugs. The testing has them feeling awful.

  • The narrator describes feeling like he’s trapped in a Groundhog Day of perpetual misery from the mouthbreathing.

  • Today they plan to do intense cycling at the gym while monitoring their exertion and endurance mouthbreathing vs nasal breathing.

  • On his way to the gym, the narrator runs into his friend Antonio who warns about the dangers of mouthbreathing from his own experiences. He gets similar warnings from others he encounters.

  • The cycling experiment will test how mouthbreathing vs nasal breathing affects exertion, endurance, breathing rate and heart rate at increasing intensities, based on prior studies that found big performance benefits to nasal breathing.

  • The article discusses the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration in the body during exercise. The first few minutes of an intense workout rely on anaerobic respiration as the body hasn’t switched to using oxygen yet.

  • Remaining in the aerobic zone is most efficient for burning calories and recovery. Going beyond one’s anaerobic threshold can lead to injuries as anaerobic fibers break down more easily.

  • The author describes an experiment where he plugged his nose to force mouth breathing for over a week. This caused serious snoring, sleep apnea, and dehydration as mouth breathing changes the structure of the airways over time.

  • Previous studies on monkeys showed similar negative dental, facial and airway impacts from long-term mouth breathing. nasal breathing is important for maintaining proper airway structure and function during sleep and exercise.

So in summary, it discusses the physiological impacts of aerobic vs anaerobic exercise and the harms of long-term mouth breathing from both the author’s self-experiment and prior scientific research on animals.

  • Vasopressin is a hormone that communicates with cells to store more water in the body. This allows animals to sleep through the night without feeling thirsty or needing to urinate.

  • Chronic sleep apnea prevents adequate deep sleep, inhibiting normal vasopressin secretion. As a result, the kidneys release water, triggering frequent urges to urinate and thirst. This explains the author’s irritable bladder and nightly thirst.

  • Snoring and sleep apnea have been linked to numerous health issues like bed-wetting, ADHD, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Even light snoring or increased respiratory effort in children can cause mood disorders, learning disabilities, and other problems.

  • Mouth breathing, as opposed to nasal breathing, delivers less oxygen to the prefrontal cortex which is associated with ADHD. It also reduces brain cells and cognitive ability in rats. Ancient Chinese texts warned against mouth breathing.

  • The author is hoping removing the nose plugs will help reverse damage from chronic mouth breathing over many years and allow normal nasal breathing and associated health benefits again.

  • The passage discusses the nose and breathing from various perspectives - physiologically, philosophically, and in terms of ancient teachings.

  • Breathing brings in “space dust” that has been circulating the universe for billions of years. It allows us to absorb our surroundings and exchange bits of ourselves.

  • The nostrils pulse rhythmically due to nasal cycles, opening and closing like flowers. Ancient texts described shared rhythmic patterns influenced by the sun and moon.

  • The nose has erectile tissue similar to genitals. Nasal cycles and dominance of one nostril over the other are connected to states of arousal and health.

  • Breathing through the right nostril activates the sympathetic nervous system, while the left activates the parasympathetic. This influences hemispheres of the brain and cognitive/emotional states.

  • Practices like alternate nostril breathing are described as manipulating these functions to achieve balance, relaxation, focus, and other benefits. Simply breathing through the nose allows the body’s natural rhythms to balance itself.

  • The passage describes the author’s experience improving his nasal breathing over 11 days with the help of a nose breathing coach.

  • On the 12th day, the author notices significant changes - he is breathing freely through his nose, his face is flushed with health, and his blood pressure, heart rate variability, and carbon dioxide levels have all improved.

  • It then discusses the many vital functions of the nose, including warming, filtering, and humidifying inhaled air using turbinates, cilia, and mucus. Proper nasal breathing is more efficient for the lungs.

  • The history of nasal breathing is explored. Ancient texts recognized its importance. In the 19th century, artist George Catlin documented that Native American tribes practiced exclusive nose breathing and attributed their robust health to this habit, starting from infancy. Catlin observed their superhuman strength and lack of disease.

  • Catlin’s observations sparked interest in nasal breathing’s benefits for the Western population. The passage implies nasal breathing may have holistic health advantages.

  • George Catlin was not just a chronicler of breathing methods, but actively practiced nasal breathing after struggling with respiratory issues as a boy and young man. Nasal breathing cured his health problems and helped him live to age 76, double the average life expectancy at the time.

  • The author tries mouth taping at night on the advice of dentist Dr. Mark Burhenne and speech therapist Ann Kearney. They believe mouth breathing contributes to many health issues while nasal breathing provides benefits.

  • The author experiments with different taping techniques and settles on a small piece of tape over the lips. This significantly reduces his and his friend Olsson’s snoring and sleep apnea.

  • In the mornings, the author does stretching exercises called the Five Tibetan Rites, which were supposedly found in a Himalayan monastery and helped renew health and youth. The stretches are meant to expand lung capacity for better breathing.

  • Catlin’s book advocated for nasal breathing at all times with the motto “Shut Your Mouth.” The author believes following this approach could lead to increased longevity.

  • Kelder claimed in a 1939 book that he had reversed aging through stretching and breathing techniques learned from Tibetan monks. This claim was likely exaggerated or fabricated.

  • Later studies in the 1980s found that lung capacity is a strong predictor of longevity. People with smaller lungs tended to get sick and die sooner.

  • Freedivers can increase their lung capacity significantly through training, showing the lungs are malleable. Moderate exercise can also boost lung size.

  • Katharina Schroth cured her own severe scoliosis in the early 1900s through “orthopedic breathing” exercises. She went on to help many other scoliosis patients straighten their spines and improve breathing.

  • Lynn Martin, a breathing expert in New York, worked with Carl Stough, a medical anomaly in the 1940s-70s who could expand lungs greatly. Martin said the key to breathing and longevity is full exhalation, not just inhalation.

  • Carl Stough was a singing teacher who noticed that singers would gasp for air and release it too soon. He believed weak exhalations led to thin, weak voices.

  • While directing choirs, Stough trained singers to exhale properly and build respiratory muscles. Their singing improved significantly.

  • In 1958, Stough was called to help treat emphysema patients at a VA hospital. Emphysema damages lungs and patients couldn’t absorb oxygen effectively.

  • Stough found patients’ diaphragms were weakened and they only took small breaths. Through massage and exercise, he trained patients to breathe more deeply from their diaphragms.

  • Patients’ lung capacity and ability to walk/talk improved significantly within weeks, against doctors’ beliefs it was impossible. X-rays and new filming confirmed diaphragm movement increased.

  • Stough’s method boosted lung function by accessing still-functional areas and engaging them more, though it did not reverse lung damage. It significantly improved quality of life.

  • Stough continued treating respiratory diseases for a decade, finding deep breathing benefits not just the sick but everyone. His method focused on proper exhalation and diaphragm usage.

  • The passage describes Jeff Stough, a pulmonary therapist in the 1960s-70s who developed a unique breathing technique called “Breathing Coordination” to treat patients with emphysema and respiratory issues.

  • His method involved manipulating the diaphragm and chest to get patients to take full, deep breaths from the diaphragm rather than shallow chest breaths. This helped improve lung function and oxygen circulation.

  • Stough had great success treating bedridden VA patients as well as Olympic athletes at Yale, helping them improve performance and recovery through better breathing.

  • However, his very hands-on style involving touching patients seemed odd, and his techniques never caught on more widely in medicine. When he died, his unique “map” of breathing was lost.

  • Fast forward to the present, emphysema treatment still focuses on medications and oxygen rather than breathing techniques. Stough’s holistic approach of reversing the disease through breathing is not mentioned.

  • The passage then transitions to discussing the writer’s experience doing a breathing technique session with Lynn Martin, one of Stough’s former students, as well as Martin’s reflections on Stough and why his work was not more accepted.

  • The passage discusses the role of carbon dioxide in the body and challenges the common view that it is simply a waste product.

  • Stefan Olsson argues that having more carbon dioxide in the bloodstream can actually increase oxygen levels in tissues and improve health. He believes slow, controlled breathing is better than deep, forceful breathing.

  • The passage explains the process of respiration and gas exchange that occurs in the lungs and bloodstream. Oxygen molecules enter red blood cells in the lungs and are carried throughout the body, then carbon dioxide molecules are picked up from tissues and returned to the lungs to be exhaled.

  • A key point is that the lungs are the primary means by which the body loses weight, as most weight loss occurs through exhaling carbon dioxide, not sweating.

  • The passage cites early experiments by Christian Bohr that helped uncover the important role of carbon dioxide in facilitating oxygen delivery to cells and tissues. Overall it challenges common misconceptions about carbon dioxide being just a waste product.

  • In 1904, Bohr published a paper showing that carbon dioxide loosens oxygen from hemoglobin, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles. This explained why active muscles receive more oxygen during exercise.

  • Yandell Henderson conducted experiments on dogs showing that overbreathing or inhaling pure oxygen provides no benefits and can be harmful by reducing carbon dioxide levels too much. High carbon dioxide levels are needed to deliver oxygen to tissues.

  • Breathing above metabolic needs, even mildly, can induce symptoms like anxiety, confusion and agitation due to low carbon dioxide levels. Slow breathing restores normal carbon dioxide levels and health.

  • Experiments by Olsson and the author found that breathing very slowly (1/3 normal rate) raised carbon dioxide levels significantly without reducing oxygen levels at all. Slow breathing lowered heart rate and blood pressure. This contradicts common beliefs about how breathing and oxygen delivery work.

So in summary, the key discovery was that carbon dioxide plays a critical role in oxygen delivery to tissues, and high carbon dioxide levels are needed - slow, nasal breathing can maintain both carbon dioxide and oxygen levels optimally.

  • Breathing slowly allows our lungs to absorb more oxygen with fewer breaths. Taking longer breaths enhances oxygen intake and efficiency.

  • Various traditions like yoga, meditation, and prayer incorporate slow breathing patterns of around 5-6 seconds per inhale/exhale, totaling around 5-6 breaths per minute. This breathing pattern provides physiological and mental benefits.

  • Research shows this slow breathing induces a “coherence” state where the heart, circulation and nervous system sync up efficiently. It can help conditions like anxiety and depression with just a few minutes of practice daily.

  • Slow breathing was found to improve the lungs of 9/11 survivors suffering from chronic coughs due to debris inhalation.

  • As a culture, modern humans breathe more than in the past - averaging twice as much air intake compared to historical norms. We have become conditioned to overbreathing, just as we overeat.

  • Traditions like yoga, Buddhism and ancient Chinese medicine prescribe breathing less, not more. Less breathing with smaller lung volumes can provide health, endurance and longevity benefits compared to inefficient overbreathing. The key is to breathe less overall.

  • The passage describes Olsson, who had a profound experience while jogging where he felt intense peace and unity. He now wants to teach the author his breathing technique.

  • They go jogging in Golden Gate Park. The technique involves limiting inhales and extending exhales beyond comfort to increase carbon dioxide levels and boost endurance.

  • The technique was developed by Konstantin Buteyko, a Soviet doctor who noticed sick patients breathed heavily. He cured his own hypertension by breathing less and an asthma patient the same way. He hypothesized overbreathing caused diseases.

  • While jogging, the author finds the breathing challenging but Olsson pushes for even slower breathing. The goal is to get comfortable with higher carbon dioxide to unconsciously breathe less at rest and during exercise.

  • Buteyko moved his research to Siberia to study breathing and carbon dioxide’s role in diseases like chronic inflammation privately for the USSR. He was convinced breathing too much caused many chronic issues.

  • Konstantin Buteyko conducted extensive breathing experiments in Russia, observing how over 1,000 subjects breathed. He found that healthy people breathed less, around 5-6 liters per minute, while those with illnesses breathed more, over 15 liters per minute.

  • Based on his findings, Buteyko developed techniques called Voluntary Elimination of Deep Breathing to train patients to breathe less and improve their health conditions like asthma and hypertension. Patients reported benefits like reduced heart rates and disappearance of migraines.

  • Long distance runner Emil Zátopek also experimented with breath restriction, running as fast as possible while holding his breath. This became known as hypoventilation training. Critics doubted it but Zátopek won multiple Olympic gold medals.

  • Swim coach James Counsilman later rediscovered hypoventilation training, having swimmers hold their breath for longer strokes. This helped the U.S. swimmers achieve tremendous success at the 1976 Olympics.

  • Studies in the 1980s-1990s dismissed hypoventilation training but Dr. Xavier Woorons found flaws, showing benefits when done with half-full lungs like Buteyko’s method. It can boost performance, endurance and health for athletes and non-athletes.

  • The author tries various breathing techniques including hypoventilation while jogging with a coach. He experiences beneficial effects like warmth and reduced heart rate, showing potential of breathing less for health and fitness.

  • The passage discusses Konstantin Buteyko and his method of breathing less to treat respiratory diseases like asthma. He believed that overbreathing was the root cause of many health issues.

  • Through practicing breathing less, many asthma sufferers reported significant reductions in symptoms, needing far less medication. Several scientific studies also found improvements in lung function and reduced symptoms from breathing less.

  • However, exactly how and why it works is still unclear. Theories include that breathing less restores proper carbon dioxide and pH levels in the blood, which are important for cellular function. Overbreathing can deplete minerals in the body over time due to buffering processes in the kidneys.

  • While controversial, Buteyko’s methods showed promise for treating asthma and other respiratory conditions through retraining people to breathe more slowly and shallowly. More research is still needed to fully validate and understand the approach.

  • The development of farming around 12,000 years ago led to the first widespread instances of crooked teeth and deformed mouths in human populations. However, the effects varied between different farming cultures.

  • About 300 years ago, these oral health issues suddenly became much more widespread across many populations around the world. Facial structures became flatter, sinuses plugged more, and mouths shrank rapidly over just a few generations.

  • This represented a much more dramatic change to human morphology than earlier adaptations like lowering of the larynx or brain expansion. Modern humans became the worst breathers in history due to these changes triggered by the rapid industrialization of farmed foods.

  • The author visited burial sites in Paris to examine old skulls dating from before and after this turning point, to understand how such a sudden change occurred. Underground, guides led him through crypts containing the remains of over 6 million individuals, including notable historical figures. Studying these ancient skulls provided insights into how modern diets negatively impacted human facial and oral development.

  • The passage describes a visit to unmapped tunnels beneath Paris that contain the skeletal remains of millions of Parisians buried there over the last 1000+ years.

  • Ancient quarries were used as mass graves when cemeteries became overcrowded. Over time, the tunnels became a vast underground graveyard known as the catacombs.

  • A group called “cataphiles” illegally explores the unmapped regions beyond the sanctioned catacomb tours. The narrator goes on a tour led by one such explorer called Red.

  • After crawling through narrow tunnels, they come upon a secret chamber filled with skulls from a large cholera epidemic in 1832. Red and others have set up an informal gathering space there.

  • The narrator inspects the skulls and notices deformities and asymmetries, believing they reflect the impacts of processed industrial foods on human physiology over the last few centuries.

  • The passage connects this to research in the 1800s-1930s linking deficiencies in vitamins and minerals to shrinking jaws, teeth issues, and other health problems from processed diets lacking natural nutrients. One researcher, Price, set out to find a cure by studying indigenous peoples with ideal dental health.

Anthropologist who supported Dr. Weston Price’s work was Earnest Hooton. Some key details:

  • Dr. Weston Price conducted extensive research in the 1930s comparing the health of indigenous populations consuming traditional diets to those who adopted modern Western diets.

  • He traveled worldwide and meticulously documented his findings through photographs, records, samples, etc. showing negative health impacts of processed Western diets.

  • In 1939, he published his results in the widely-acclaimed book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”.

  • The book was praised as a “masterpiece of research” by the Canadian Medical Association Journal and Earnest Hooton called it one of the “epochal pieces of research.”

  • However, some criticized Price’s work as being too anecdotal. But his overall findings about vitamins/minerals and traditional diets proved largely accurate according to later research.

  • Earnest Hooton was an anthropologist who strongly supported Price’s research and recognized the importance of his findings.

So in summary, the key anthropologist who endorsed and backed Dr. Weston Price’s pioneering comparative dietary research was Earnest Hooton.

  • The passage discusses empty nose syndrome, a condition that can occur after nasal surgery if too much tissue is removed from the nose. It profiles two people, Peter and Alla, whose lives were significantly impacted by developing empty nose syndrome after having nasal surgeries.

  • Dr. Nayak at Stanford sees many patients with empty nose syndrome symptoms and sometimes performs additional surgery to add tissue back. Estimates suggest up to 20% of those who have their lower nasal turbinates removed may be at risk.

  • The passage then discusses how airway obstruction can also occur in the mouth. Small mouths, large tongues, thick necks, and other physical factors can all contribute to snoring, sleep apnea, and other breathing issues.

  • Dentist Dr. Gelb sees patients with breathing problems but no diagnosed sleep apnea. He performs various treatments like removing tonsils/adenoids or correcting posture, but says the best approach is preventatively expanding a too-small mouth.

  • Historical orthodontic devices from the 1800s were originally intended not just for straight teeth but also to widen mouths and improve breathing in children with cleft palates or narrow arches. This approach fell out of practice in later decades.

  • In the 1950s in the US, it was common practice for orthodontists to extract multiple teeth (2-6 at a time) and use retractive orthodontics like braces to align remaining teeth. This approach made the mouth smaller.

  • Dr. John Mew noticed some patients afterward had breathing issues like snoring, sleep apnea, asthma that they didn’t have before. Their faces also seemed to grow in a shorter, flatter manner.

  • Mew conducted studies comparing patients who had extractions versus expansion treatment, finding extraction patients had stunted mouth and facial growth over time.

  • Mew argued traditional orthodontics were making airways worse, but he was ridiculed and lost his license. Later, many orthodontists came to agree with his position.

  • Maintaining proper “oral posture” with lips together, teeth touching, tongue on roof of mouth is important for airway health. Most people now slouch with hunched shoulders and extended neck, constricting their airways.

  • Mew invented expansion devices like the Biobloc to widen narrow mouths in children, improving their airway size and facial growth. For adults, the main intervention is correcting poor oral/neck posture.

  • Mike Mew popularized an exercise called “mewing” where the back of the tongue pushes against the roof of the mouth. He claims it can expand the palate and open the airways.

  • The author tries mewing and finds it awkward. He meets with Dr. Theodore Belfor, a dentist who believes conventional views on bone loss are wrong.

  • Belfor explains how chewing stimulates stem cell growth in the jaw and face bones, allowing them to remodel and grow denser over one’s lifetime. Lack of chewing from soft diets leads to narrower airways.

  • Belfor has patients wear expanding retainers called Homeoblocks to stimulate chewing stress and expand the palate. Their CT scans show new bone growth and more open airways.

  • Research going back over a century found soft diets led to narrower palates and worse breathing in both humans and animals. But this evidence was largely ignored.

So in summary, the author explores controversial ideas that chewing can stimulate facial bone growth and better breathing by exercising muscles and stem cells in the mouth and jaw.

  • In the 1860s during the American Civil War, Dr. Jacob Mendez Da Costa observed many soldiers coming to the hospital with symptoms like anxiety, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fast heartbeat, etc. even if they had not seen combat.

  • He termed this “Irritable Heart Syndrome”. The symptoms would come and go depending on rest and stress levels.

  • Similar syndromes were observed in 20% of WWI soldiers, millions in WWII, and hundreds of thousands in later wars like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan under names like shell shock, soldier’s heart, post-Vietnam syndrome, PTSD.

  • Doctors believed these were new illnesses caused by psychological or brain disturbances from fighting or exposure to chemicals/vaccines. However, the true cause was unknown.

  • Da Costa’s careful study of these Civil War patients was a landmark in understanding cardiovascular disease. But “Irritable Heart Syndrome” itself as an extreme stress response phenomenon spanning many wars.

So in summary, it describes the observation of mysterious symptoms resembling anxiety and difficulty breathing in soldiers even without injury, which Da Costa initially termed “Irritable Heart Syndrome” but was really an extreme stress response seen across different wars over a century.

  • Da Costa observed soldiers suffering from a disorder he believed involved the sympathetic nervous system. Overloading this system, which triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, can cause anxiety, panic attacks, and other issues.

  • The narrator is intentionally overloading their sympathetic nervous system through an ancient Tibetan breathing practice called Tummo or “inner fire meditation.” They have hired an instructor named Chuck McGee III to help guide an intense session of overbreathing in a public park.

  • The goal is to condition the sympathetic nervous system through conscious stress, rather than experiencing unconscious stress from external events. Ancient practitioners like the Indian yogi Naropa and French explorer Alexandra David-Néel used Tummo to regulate body temperature at high altitudes.

  • The narrator is experiencing side effects of an overloaded sympathetic system like increased heart rate, sweating, and feelings of anxiety. But they want to train their system to remain flexible and avoid “short-circuiting” like Da Costa’s soldiers, whose nervous systems collapsed under prolonged unconscious stress.

The passage describes how extreme breathing techniques like Tummo can influence the autonomic nervous system, which was previously thought to be beyond conscious control. It discusses research on Tibetan Buddhist monks who were able to raise their body temperatures through breathing alone. Dutch adventurer Wim Hof popularized these techniques in the West by performing daring feats like running marathons in freezing temperatures without equipment. Scientists were skeptical until studies found that people trained in Hof’s version of Tummo breathing were able to mount stronger immune responses and better tolerate cold exposure compared to untrained controls. The ability to consciously regulate the autonomic nervous system through breathing challenges long-held beliefs in medicine and shows how ancient practices can inform modern understanding of the mind-body connection.

  • A group trained by Wim Hof was able to control their heart rate, temperature, and immune response through heavy breathing and cold exposure techniques. This practice was found to release stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine which provided energy and helped the immune system.

  • Tummo or heavy breathing is said to heat the body and release opioids, dopamine, and serotonin from the brain. This can be achieved with just a few hundred quick, heavy breaths.

  • McGee was suffering from type 1 diabetes, chronic pain, depression and high blood pressure. He discovered Wim Hof’s method which helped normalize his insulin levels, reduce pain and lower his blood pressure, allowing him to reduce medications.

  • McGee advocates for Wim Hof’s method as a way to rebalance the body’s natural functions and potentially help conditions like autoimmune disorders without long-term pharmaceutical treatments. The breathing techniques force the body into stress and relaxation cycles to become more adaptable.

  • Practicing Tummo involves 30 cycles of deep breathing followed by breath holds. Repeating cold exposure is also part of the method to flip-flop the body’s stress responses. More research is needed but some long-term practitioners like Maurice Daubard claim it can cure illnesses and enhance strength, endurance and immune function.

  • Stanislav Grof is a Czech psychiatrist who helped develop Holotropic Breathwork in the 1950s. He was one of the first test subjects of LSD, which led him to explore altered states of consciousness.

  • Holotropic Breathwork involves forceful deep breathing for extended periods while listening to loud music in a dark room. This is meant to overload the system and induce transcendent experiences. Grof believed it provided similar effects to hallucinogens without drugs.

  • The technique gained popularity among psychiatrists, and some small studies showed benefits for anxiety, self-esteem, health issues, and interpersonal relationships. However, larger studies are still needed.

  • The author attended a Holotropic Breathwork session where some participants had intense emotional and sensory experiences, while others had calmer reactions. The author did not have any dramatic experiences during their own session.

  • Forceful breathing reduces oxygen levels in the brain, which can produce vivid hallucinations by affecting areas related to vision, sensation, memory, time perception and the sense of self. So some of Holotropic Breathwork’s effects may be physiological rather than just psychological.

  • The passage discusses experiments where scientists removed parts of monkey and human brains responsible for fear - specifically the amygdala region. Without fear, the monkeys were unable to survive in the wild as they took dangerous risks.

  • A human case study called S.M. was born without amygdala due to a rare genetic disease. She showed no fear response to spooky films, snakes, or dangerous situations.

  • Researchers tried various methods to induce fear in S.M. but failed until using a brief inhalation of carbon dioxide gas. This triggered a full-blown panic attack, showing there are deeper brain circuits for the fear of suffocation beyond just the amygdala.

  • The passage explains how chemoreceptors in the brainstem monitor carbon dioxide levels and trigger feelings of suffocation and panic if levels get too high, acting as a fundamental survival mechanism for all aerobic life. Brief carbon dioxide inhalation can trigger this panic response even in people without functioning amygdalas.

  • Chemoreception, the ability to detect carbon dioxide levels, developed in early life forms and became more advanced as humans evolved. This allowed humans to adapt to a wide range of altitudes.

  • Today, elite athletes have highly flexible chemoreception which allows some to climb Everest or hold their breath for 10 minutes without oxygen. Mental health also relies on chemoreceptive flexibility.

  • Anxiety and panic attacks may be caused by dysregulation between chemoreceptors and the brain, not just mental illness. Treating anxiety physically by conditioning chemoreceptors could help many sufferers.

  • Ancient traditions from India and China practiced controlled breathholding which they claimed improved health. Modern science dismisses breathholding but the ancient practices were conscious and intentional versus unconscious episodes.

  • Justin Feinstein received funding to test using inhaled carbon dioxide to treat anxiety, building on his experience with patients who had loss of chemoreception. Controlled carbon dioxide exposure could provide physical and psychological benefits similar to ancient breathholding techniques.

  • Carbon dioxide therapies have a long history dating back to Roman baths and 19th century spa towns in France. Blends of carbon dioxide were also used to successfully treat various mental and respiratory conditions until vanishing in the mid-20th century.

  • Dr. Feinstein stumbled upon studies from the 1980s showing that inhaling carbon dioxide provided fast and long-lasting relief from anxiety. However, few researchers have studied this treatment since then.

  • Feinstein was interested in exploring non-pharmaceutical options for anxiety treatment, as antidepressants only help about half of patients and mindfulness meditation is difficult for many to stick with regularly.

  • He conducted his own research with carbon dioxide therapy in a small laboratory, administering doses to anxious patients. Initial results were promising, though some patients had intense panic attacks from the higher doses.

  • The passage describes the author volunteering to try carbon dioxide therapy himself. Feinstein planned to give him a dose of 35% carbon dioxide, higher than typically used nowadays, to observe the effects. Safety protocols and monitoring equipment were put in place first.

  • The author reflects briefly on a prior visit to researcher Anders Olsson in Stockholm, who explored lower 7% doses of carbon dioxide for potential performance and endurance benefits, as reported by some “pulmonauts”. However, the author’s own experience with a low dose was underwhelming.

  • The author travels to Sao Paulo, Brazil to meet Luiz Sergio Alvares DeRose, a renowned expert on ancient yoga practices.

  • The author wants to understand unexplained phenomena from practices like Tummo and Holotropic Breathwork - how the body heats up during intense breathing, how relaxed monks can increase body heat while breathing slowly, and how overbreathing can induce hallucinations without oxygen deprivation.

  • DeRose has extensively studied the oldest yoga and breathing texts from India. The ancient scholars clearly understood that breathing involved an invisible energy more powerful than molecules known to Western science.

  • DeRose has received many high honors from the Brazilian government for his work studying ancient forms of yoga and breathing.

  • The author hopes DeRose can provide answers and insights about unexplained effects from ancient practices that modern research has been unable to explain. They are just a few blocks from meeting with DeRose.

  • Prana is understood across many ancient cultures as a subtle life force or energy that animates the body and regulates functions. It is analogous to concepts like chi, ki, pneuma, and others.

  • Maintaining the flow of prana through practices like yoga, breathing techniques, and diet was seen as essential for health and longevity. Breathing was viewed as a key way to absorb and distribute prana throughout the body.

  • In the 1970s, the yogi Swami Rama demonstrated abilities like voluntarily controlling his heart rate, inducing different brain wave states, and shifting temperature in his body through prana/breath control. This was scientifically measured but not well understood.

  • The scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi proposed that at the subatomic level, the “excitability” or transfer of electrons between molecules determines how alive or energetic matter is. Living things have high electron transfer abilities, which he linked to the concept of prana or life force animating living matter.

So in summary, prana refers to a subtle energy or life force believed across cultures to sustain living functions, which modern science has not fully explained but some link to energetic properties at the subatomic level of matter. Yogis like Swami Rama demonstrated control over this force through breathing techniques.

  • Albert Szent-Györgyi proposed that early life forms on Earth were “weak electron acceptors” and couldn’t efficiently intake or release electrons. This meant they had less energy to evolve over millions of years.

  • When oxygen accumulated as a byproduct, it became a “strong electron acceptor” that new life could utilize for more energy and faster evolution into complex organisms.

  • Szent-Györgyi argued this principle applies to human health - the more oxygen our cells can consume, the more “electron excitability” we have to remain healthy. Loss of this electron exchange causes cells to break down and potentially develop cancer.

  • Breathing fully with the nose promotes optimal oxygenation of tissues to sustain this electron activity in cells.

  • Szent-Györgyi advocated moving energy (electrons) through breathing as important for healing across ancient medical traditions. He lived to 93 practicing this.

  • The article then shifts to describe the origins of ancient yoga in the Indus civilization, focusing on breathing techniques before modern yoga incorporated repetitive poses and movements.

  • DeRose became interested in ancient yoga after experiencing a traditional class in India, which focused solely on poses held for long periods to enhance breathing/prana. This differs from yoga as exercise practiced today.

  • Daniel DeRose is a Brazilian researcher who learned Sanskrit and dug up ancient yoga texts in India to learn about the original practices of yoga, called Yoga.

  • Yoga was originally designed not to cure problems but to allow healthy people to expand their consciousness, control their nervous systems/hearts, and live longer vibrant lives by reaching their full potential.

  • The author tells DeRose about their experience with Sudarshan Kriya, an intense breathing technique. DeRose explains it built up too much prana (energy) in their body but they had not adapted, causing effects like sweating and altered consciousness.

  • Ancient yogis spent years mastering pranayama techniques to safely control this energy. Modern breathers try to hack the process but often fail, experiencing negative side effects.

  • The key is to learn techniques slowly over months/years through patience and flexibility. Despite different names, techniques tap into the same ancient principles of breathing and energy control.

  • While breathing has benefits, it cannot cure severe medical issues that require urgent treatment like blood clots or advanced cancer. Modern medicine has limitations but saved countless lives. Breathing can complement but not replace proven medical care.

  • Modern medicine is good at treating acute/emergency issues but lacks solutions for milder chronic issues like asthma, headaches, stress, etc. that many people deal with. Doctors don’t have time to address these problems.

  • Breathing techniques from Eastern medicine are well-suited for prevention and maintenance of wellness to avoid minor issues becoming major. Small imbalances can be corrected through breathing.

  • Mouth breathing is harmful and linked to issues like increased stress hormones, respiratory infections, sleep apnea, high blood pressure. Nose breathing is better for health.

  • Full exhalations are important for lung health and performance but often overlooked. Longer, fuller breaths make better use of lung capacity.

  • Historically, humans chewed a lot due to raw, tough diets requiring chewing for hours each day. More chewing can remodel the jaw/sinuses for better breathing over one’s lifetime.

  • Occasionally practicing deeper, fuller breathing can provide health benefits alongside other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise. Breathing is an important but overlooked pillar of wellness.

  • The passage discusses conscious heavy or Overbreathing and how it can be beneficial when done intentionally for short periods to disrupt normal breathing patterns and stress the body. This teaches the body and nervous system to better regulate breathing.

  • It introduces Dr. Justin Feinstein who studied links between chemoreceptors, carbon dioxide levels, and anxiety. His research suggested anxious patients may unwittingly hold their breath which leads to panic attacks when CO2 levels rise. This then conditions the body to overbreathe and keep CO2 low.

  • The amygdala helps regulate breathing and fear responses. Stimulating it in epilepsy patients caused them to stop breathing without realizing. This suggests a connection between the amygdala, chemoreceptors and breathing patterns in anxiety.

  • Slow, controlled breathing of 5.5 seconds in and out is proposed as an ideal rate and technique. Various apps and devices now promote and track this.

  • The passage acknowledges the experts and “medical pulmonauts” who informed and educated the author on breathing science over many meetings and discussions. It highlights key figures like Drs. Nayak, Evans, Belfor, Simonetti and Feinstein.

  • The author continues learning breathing techniques from various practitioners and a dedicated partner, Anders Olsson, over their month long experiment in San Francisco.

Here is a summary of the key breathing techniques described:

  • Alternate Nostril Breathing: Alternate inhaling and exhaling through each nostril to improve lung function and lower stress levels.

  • Breathing Coordination: Inhale while counting to 10 aloud, exhale in a whisper while continuing to count to train diaphragmatic breathing.

  • Resonant/Coherent Breathing: Slowly inhale for 5.5 seconds and exhale for 5.5 seconds to put the body into a relaxed, efficient state.

  • Buteyko Techniques: Methods from the Buteyko method that train the body to breathe less, like mini breath holds, nose humming, and controlled walking/running while limiting breathing.

  • Decongesting the Nose: Short session of breath holding, head shaking, and slow nasal inhaling to clear nasal congestion.

  • Chewing: Hard chewing can build bone structure in the face and sinuses but may not be practical for long periods, so other devices are suggested.

  • Gum chewing can strengthen the jaw and stimulate stem cell growth. Harder varieties like Falim Turkish gum and mastic gum provide a more vigorous workout and last longer.

  • Oral devices like the POD retainer can simulate chewing stress and provide jaw exercise.

  • Palatal expansion devices can be used under the guidance of experts like Dr. Marianna Evans and Dr. William Hang to expand the palate and open airways.

  • Tummo is a Tibetan breathing technique that comes in two forms - one stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, the other triggering the parasympathetic response. It requires rapid breathing followed by breath holds and retained exhales. Instruction is recommended from experts like Chuck McGee.

  • Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful but complex pranayama technique taught in Art of Living workshops consisting of chanting, breathing restrictions, various breathing patterns, and intensive breathing sessions.

  • Other useful breathing techniques described include yogic three-part breathing, box breathing, breathhold walking, and Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing for relaxation.

The summary focuses on describing various exercises, techniques, devices and experts mentioned in the passage that can help strengthen the jaw, expand the palate or improve breathing.

Here is a summary of the article:

The article studied the facial development of 7,322 children who were initially breastfed compared to non-breastfed children. It found that breastfed children had better facial development, with narrower faces and better alignment of teeth. Specifically, it found that:

  • Initially breastfed children had a lower prevalence of breastfeeding disorders like crossbite, open bite, and posterior crossbite compared to non-breastfed children.

  • The percentage of children with these disorders decreased the longer the duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Children who were exclusively breastfed for 6 months or more had the lowest prevalence.

  • Breastfeeding promotes proper sucking behavior which influences facial muscle development and jaw alignment. The circular sucking motion while breastfeeding allows for proper eruption of primary teeth and development of a narrower dental arch.

  • Bottle feeding with nipple flows that are either too slow or fast can cause sucking disorders due to improper oral motor development and lip and tongue dysfunction. This was correlated with higher rates of malocclusion.

So in summary, the study found that initial and prolonged breastfeeding promotes better facial development and fewer orthodontic problems due to its effects on oral motor development during sucking.

  • Anaerobic metabolism produces energy without oxygen, resulting in lactic acid buildup, while aerobic metabolism uses oxygen more efficiently.

  • Excess lactic acid in muscles causes that burning feeling and later muscle soreness.

  • Anaerobic exhaustion from lactic acidosis can occur not just from exercise but also liver disease, alcoholism, trauma, etc. that deprive the body of oxygen.

  • Human muscle fibers are a mix of aerobic and anaerobic, while other animals like chickens have entirely aerobic or anaerobic muscle systems.

  • Aerobic respiration is about 16 times more energy efficient than anaerobic, producing much more ATP per glucose molecule.

  • Standardized high-intensity workouts relying solely on anaerobic training could be more injurious without an aerobic base.

  • The Maffetone Method recommends exercising at a heart rate below which you’d reach the anaerobic threshold, determined by subtracting your age from 180.

  • Mouth breathing versus nasal breathing can impact facial development and lead to conditions like sleep apnea due to changes in airway muscles and craniofacial structures over time.

  • Getting adequate nasal breathing is important for relaxation, water conservation, and getting the deepest, most restful stages of sleep.

Here is a summary of the key points from the report “Keeping Our Way to Fatigue, Disease and Unhappiness” by Ask the Dentist (2015):

  • Half of people with insomnia also have sleep apnea and vice versa, showing their interrelationship.

  • Prescription drugs for insomnia are often ineffective and can even make sleep quality worse, as insomnia is frequently a breathing problem rather than psychological.

  • Millions of Americans suffer from chronic insomnia.

  • Any disturbances in breathing during sleep like snoring, heavy breathing or throat constriction can damage the body.

  • Mouth breathing has been linked to poorer memory, learning ability and cognitive function in studies on rats and humans.

  • An estimated 75-89% of children and 65-90% of adults have some degree of malocclusion (bad bite).

  • 45% of adults snore and 25% have sleep apnea, though the rates are likely higher, showing breathing issues are very common.

  • Human faces have narrowed in evolutionary history due to increased mouth breathing corresponding to craniofacial changes.

That covers the key summary points regarding the interconnection between breathing, sleep, health and development presented in the given source.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The text discusses several studies that have found benefits of alternate nostril breathing practice, such as lowering blood pressure and temperature. It also references neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk about the functions of the right and left brain.

Researchers at the University of California found a link between nasal cycle dominance and hallucinations in schizophrenia. Many studies have demonstrated relationships between the nostrils and biological/mental functions.

Yogis believe that finishing meals by lying on the left side and breathing through the right nostril can aid digestion by increasing heat and blood flow. A study found subjects had less heartburn when lying on their left side after eating.

The average adult nose interior volume is about 6.43 cubic inches for males and slightly less for females. Nose hairs and mucus help filter and trap particles like dust, allergens, bacteria, and viruses to protect the lungs. Mucus is produced by goblet cells and cleared by tiny cilia that beat about 16 times per second.

In around 1500 BCE, George Catlin documented Native American breathing practices and wrote one of the earliest known books on nasal breathing, noting its health benefits. He observed that American Indians breathed only through their noses and had excellent physical characteristics as a result. However, their practices were largely lost as their tribes were destroyed in the 1800s. Later studies also linked mouth breathing to negative health impacts like tuberculosis spread.

  • Mouth breathing has been linked to tooth decay and dental issues for over 100 years. It can also contribute to snoring.

  • Nasal breathing allows the lungs to take in 18% more oxygen. It also increases nitric oxide levels, which provides numerous benefits like boosting oxygen delivery to tissues.

  • The author conducted experiments with mouth taping during sleep and found benefits like better sleep and reduced snoring. Critics argue it could be dangerous if one vomited during sleep, but experts say this risk is unfounded.

  • Lung-expanding exercises like the Five Tibetan Rites can boost cardiopulmonary health and potentially extend life. Proper diaphragmatic breathing was also emphasized by experts like Katharina Schroth and Carl Stough.

  • Stale air gets trapped in the lungs with chest breathing. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is needed to fully exhale the 3000+ compounds we release, preventing toxin buildup.

  • The diaphragm acts like a second heart, helping circulate blood. Lung capacity predicts longevity, with a 14 liter capacity being exceptional. Respiratory issues can also impact cardiovascular health.

  • Accessory muscles compensate when the diaphragm is overworked, creating chest breathing habits. Athletes find benefits from diaphragmatic breathing during exertion and performance. Proper breathing technique can optimize health and longevity.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided sources:

  • The 1968 US Olympic track team protested against racism during the Olympics in Mexico City. They raised their fists in a Black Power salute on the podium after winning medals. This caused major controversy at the time.

  • Nearly 4 million Americans suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema. Emphysema is a chronic lung disease that causes damage to the air sacs in the lungs.

  • Richard Rothschild’s 1998 Chicago Tribune article revisited the protests and issues faced by the 1968 US Olympic track team in light of the 30th anniversary. It discussed how their actions drew criticism but were also seen as an important act of civil rights protest.

  • The sources discuss the 1968 Olympics, the protests by US athletes against racism and injustice, and how the incident was still noteworthy and discussed decades later in reflecting on athlete activism and the civil rights movement during that era.

  • Several historical studies showed that average breathing rates have increased over time, from around 13 breaths per minute in the 1930s to 10-12 breaths per minute currently.

  • Chinese doctors centuries ago advocated for slowed, diaphragmatic breathing. Early Hindus calculated a normal rate of around 9.5 breaths per minute.

  • Russian pulmonologist Konstantin Buteyko developed breathing reduction techniques in the 1950s-60s based on the idea that overbreathing contributes to respiratory issues. He advocated breathing at 6.5-7.5% carbon dioxide levels.

  • Endurance athletes like Emil Zatopek and swimmers under coach Doc Counsilman practiced forms of “hypoventilation training” involving breath holding and slower breathing to boost performance. This was initially derided but is now better understood.

  • Recent research suggests breath restriction training can increase VO2 max, boost red blood cell counts, and improve endurance through reduced respiratory demands and enhanced oxygen delivery. Mild versions show benefits without risks of more extreme methods.

In summary, the passage discusses the history of breathing rates increasing over time and modern research exploring the performance benefits of controlled or restricted breathing patterns pioneered by figures like Buteyko, Zatopek and Counsilman.

  • Studies have shown benefits of hypoventilation/hypoxic training, including increased endurance performance, decreased fat/waist circumference, and improved blood sugar control for diabetes.

  • Training with devices that restrict exhalation or create air hunger can boost red blood cell/hemoglobin levels and improve endurance.

  • Over 30 scientific studies support Buteyko breathing techniques for reducing asthma symptoms and lung function. Clinical trials show benefits for asthma patients.

  • Breathing patterns can induce or worsen asthma. Pollution, viral infections, cold air can also trigger asthma. Exercise is a common trigger.

  • Asthma drug treatments like long-acting bronchodilators are often ineffective or harmful according to some analyses. Natural breathing techniques provide alternatives.

  • Overbreathing can cause issues like low blood calcium levels, nerve problems, and make asthma attacks more likely. Long-term overbreathing impacts acid-base balance in the body.

  • Magnesium supplements may help some asthma patients by supporting normal breathing and acid-base balance. Normalizing breathing can help asthmatics avoid future attacks.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided sources:

  • Around 12,000 years ago with the rise of agriculture and a shift to softer foods, humans began developing malocclusion (crooked teeth) and dental crowding for the first time on a wide scale. This coincided with farmers in the Near East transitioning to agriculture.

  • In the 1800s, deficiencies in vitamins like D and C were blamed for shrinking facial structures and crooked teeth by researchers like Edward Mellanby and Percy Howe.

  • Nutritionist Weston Price found that isolated communities consuming traditional diets had perfect dental arches and facial structure, with no deformities. Modern diets were linked to malocclusion.

  • Treatments for nasal/sinus problems like balloon sinuplasty and Cottle’s maneuver aim to open the nasal passages more. However, a deviated septum often doesn’t require treatment if not bothersome.

  • Turbinate reduction surgery to remove parts of the nasal bones is commonly done but can lead to empty nose syndrome with side effects like difficulty breathing and suicidal thoughts in severe cases.

  • Poor head and neck posture can obstruct the airway, and tongue position is correlated with sleep apnea. Obstruction often occurs at the back of the throat rather than the nose. A large tongue size is also a risk factor.

  • Babies who have breathing issues at 6 months have a 40% greater chance of developing behavioral issues like ADHD starting around age 4.

  • Problems associated with ADHD include sleep issues, obesity risk, and academic/behavioral challenges. Tonsillectomies have been shown to improve sleep and behavior in children.

  • Pioneering orthodontist Norman Kingsley developed techniques using functional appliances to guide jaw development in conditions like Pierre Robin syndrome.

  • Dr. John Mew argued that traditional orthodontics focusing on extractions can flatten facial growth. Studies have found mixed results on extractions and growth.

  • Mew advocated for nasal breathing and argued modern lifestyle factors like bottle-feeding can disrupt proper oral development and posture. Some in orthodontics still critique aspects of Mew’s theories and promotion of his work.

  • Issues with oral posture, nasal breathing, and airway development may be risk factors for chronic health problems according to some researchers. But the links between facial development, breathing, and overall health remain subjects of debate in the scientific community.

Here are the key points from the summaries:

  • Breastfeeding and non-nutritive sucking can affect the development of proper occlusion in the deciduous dentition. Bottle feeding may be less beneficial.

  • Breastfeeding was associated with a lower risk of snoring in children compared to bottle feeding.

  • Light intermittent force from appliances like retainers can stimulate ligaments around tooth roots, signaling the body to produce more bone cells via a process called morphogenesis. This helps with orthodontic treatment.

  • Ancient skulls showed jaws and teeth were larger before the industrial era. Changes to diet like softer foods may be a factor in jaws gradually becoming smaller.

  • Feeding a group of pigs similar modern diets resulted in more malocclusion compared to pigs on harder diets requiring more chewing. This suggests diet impacts jaw and tooth development.

  • Overall, studies suggest breastfeeding supports better dental development than bottle feeding, while softer modern diets may contribute to increasing orthodontic issues due to impacts on jaw growth. Light intermittent forces from appliances can help guide bone growth during orthodontic therapy.

The passage discusses different methods of inducing non-ordinary states of consciousness through voluntary hyperventilation and breathwork techniques. It describes Holotropic Breathwork, developed by Stanislav Grof, which involves prolonged deep breathing exercises to deliberately reduce oxygen and increase carbon dioxide levels in the brain. Some key points:

  • Grof was inspired by his early experiences with LSD therapy in the 1950s and sought to replicate altered states of consciousness without drugs.

  • Holotropic Breathwork has been used in over 11,000 psychiatric patients with positive clinical results reported. Smaller follow up studies also found benefits.

  • The technique works by significantly reducing cerebral blood flow and oxygen to the brain, simulating hypoxia and triggering non-ordinary experiences that can provide psychological insights.

  • While altering brain chemistry, the passage notes the technique is safe and no adverse effects have been reported when practiced under guidance. It discusses the potential therapeutic benefits of voluntarily accessing non-ordinary states through methods like Holotropic Breathwork.

  • Hyperventilation, or breathing faster and deeper than normal, can lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood and affect various areas of the body and brain. It has been linked to memory, fear and other functions.

  • In the 1960s, Dr. Kling conducted research involving removing the amygdala from monkeys. This removed their innate sense of fear and alarm circuitry. One monkey, known as S.M., survived with its amygdala removed and displayed abnormal fear responses.

  • The amygdala is a cluster of neurons in the brain that is responsible for processing fear and regulating emotional responses. It acts as the “alarm circuit” for fear.

  • Central chemoreceptors in the brainstem help regulate breathing and detect carbon dioxide levels in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Injuries here can lead to Ondine’s curse where people lose automatic breathing control.

  • Ancient Peruvians inhabited areas as high as 12,000 feet above sea level 12,000 years ago. The highest inhabited city today is around 16,700 feet. Some elite athletes can train to climb Mount Everest without oxygen supplies.

  • Around 18% of Americans report feeling more anxiety than the previous year, according to a 2018 poll. Breath control techniques have been used for centuries in China and elsewhere to prolong life and reduce stress.

  • Hyperventilation and continuous partial attention to devices can negatively impact breathing patterns and induce stress. Research links breath control practices to enhanced psychological functions and response inhibition.

  • Historical Roman and French spa towns used carbon dioxide-rich mineral baths and springs to treat a variety of illnesses, which 19th century doctors confirmed had therapeutic benefits. However, research diminished after non-drug alternatives became less favourable.

  • Anxiety disorders are very common, with estimates that around half of all people will suffer from one in their lifetime according to one expert. Effective non-drug treatments need renewed exploration.

  • Around 18% of the population suffers from anxiety disorders, 8% from major depressive disorder, and many more have milder conditions.

  • One quarter have a diagnosable mental disorder. Half of all Americans are expected to experience mental illness at some point in their lives.

  • Conditions like depression, anxiety, and panic are closely related and share similar underlying misinterpretations of fear.

  • Medications like SSRIs provide weak relief for many, and their effectiveness depends highly on baseline severity. Exposure therapy is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety disorders.

  • Anxiety, depression, anorexia, and panic are all rooted in fear and often co-occur. Poor breathing habits may contribute to conditions like panic attacks and hyperventilation.

  • Studies have found panic disorder patients and those with emotional disorders have abnormal carbon dioxide levels and breathing rates compared to healthy individuals.

  • Breathing retraining through techniques like hypoventilation therapy can help reverse hyperventilation and reduce panic and anxiety over time. Floatation therapy has also shown effectiveness for treating anxiety and related conditions.

  • Practices like Tummo yoga and Wim Hof’s breathing method can generate a heavy stress response and lead to significant increases in oxygen consumption and lung capacity for gas exchange. However, the cognitive impacts are still ambiguous and complex.

  • A 1986 CIA study examined the physical effects of qi (life force energy) on liquid crystals, providing some evidence that this subtle energy can be measured scientifically.

  • Experiments in the 1970s showed that Swami Rama, a renowned yogi, could voluntarily control his autonomic nervous system functions like slowing his heartbeat. He appeared on talk shows to demonstrate these abilities.

  • Albert Szent-Györgyi was a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who studied muscle contraction and cellular respiration. He hypothesized that living organisms function based on energies and processes that can’t be fully explained by chemistry and physics alone.

  • The ancient Indus Valley civilization, located in modern-day Pakistan and northwest India, developed sophisticated urban planning and sanitation systems around 2600-1900 BCE. Archaeological evidence suggests they may have practiced early forms of yoga and meditation.

  • Traditions like yoga, Ayurveda, and early meditation practices developed in India and spread to other parts of Asia, influenced by philosophies like Samkhya that emphasized empirical study over religious doctrine. This laid the foundation for later teachings of Buddhism and other spiritual paths.

  • Siddhartha Gautama (later known as the Buddha) discovered ancient breathing and meditation techniques. He became enlightened and went on to teach these techniques throughout Asia.

  • By around 500 BCE, yoga philosophy and practices were more fully developed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras text. Various traditions of yoga emerged over the centuries that continued ancient techniques but also added innovations.

  • In the 20th century, yoga spread globally and it is now estimated that over 2 billion people practice some form of yoga or breathing practice. However, some argue that modern practices have lost ancient techniques focused specifically on breath.

  • Different traditions incorporate breath practices, from ancient India (Brahmanism, yoga, etc.) to Buddhism to some interpretations of techniques used by figures like Krishna and Jesus Christ. Breath-based practices like Sudarshan Kriya Yoga practiced by the Art of Living organization have been adopted by tens of millions of people.

  • Proper breathwork requires instruction, as Random or untrained practices can be dangerous. Overall breath and breathing techniques have been an important part of human spiritual and medical practices for thousands of years across cultures.

Here is a summary of the key points regarding carbon dioxide (CO2) and breath holding from the passage:

  • CO2 has a dilatory (widening) effect on blood vessels, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to tissues. Experiments by Henderson on dogs demonstrated this.

  • CO2 triggers the brain’s fear circuit, as shown by Feinstein’s research using CO2 inhalation to induce panic attacks in volunteers.

  • Feinstein also researched CO2 therapies historically used to treat depression and other conditions, involving controlled inhalation/exhalation of CO2-enriched air.

  • Olsson experimentally used CO2 inhalation to induce a mild panic response, as part of controlled breath holding exercises.

  • Historic carbon dioxide therapies from the 19th century included those developed by Henderson involving CO2 inhalation to induce controlled periods of breath holding.

  • Feinstein’s research on CO2 therapies for depression involved measuring volunteers’ panic/anxiety responses to controlled levels of inhaled CO2 during breath holding exercises.

  • Breath holding activates brain circuits related to the detection of low O2/high CO2 through chemoreceptors, potentially explaining ancient practices of controlled breath holding.

In summary, the passage discusses the physiological effects of CO2 on blood vessels and its role in triggering fear/panic responses, as well as the use of controlled CO2 inhalation and breath holding in historical therapies and experiments.

Here is a summary of key points from the specified sections:

  • Nasal cycles refer to the rhythmic pattern of opening and closing of the nostrils on either side, with one nostril more open than the other for periods of time. This cyclical pattern helps regulate breathing and the release of nitric oxide.

  • Nasal breathing has many benefits for the physical body and airways, influencing functions throughout the body. The nose warms, humidifies, and filters incoming air.

  • Some indigenous groups like the Plains Indians incorporated nasal breathing into their daily practices and rituals, recognizing its healing powers. Practices like right nostril breathing were used.

  • Nose breathing influences nasal cycles and the release of nitric oxide, which has physiological effects. Procedures can help with obstructed breathing by addressing issues like deviated septums or collapsed nasal valves.

  • The Global Initiative for Asthma gave Buteyko’s method a rating of “A” (later revised to “B”) for supporting evidence regarding its effects.

  • Cells can produce energy anaerobically when oxygen levels decrease, buffering against acidity rather than creating hypoxia in tissues from overbreathing. Overbreathing really damages the body by requiring extra energy expenditure for more anaerobic cellular function and constant carbon dioxide buffering.

  • Chewing hard foods and gum can provide the same bone and airway benefits as devices like the Homeoblock, through strengthening and expanding effects.

  • Sexual arousal is controlled by the parasympathetic system and usually involves soft, easy breathing, while orgasms are a sympathetic response preceded by fast, short, sharp breathing linked to pupil dilation during orgasm.

  • Thousands of studies since the 1920s, including over 2,500 on PubMed, have found benefits of transdermal carbon dioxide therapies for cardiovascular, weight, and immune health, confirming earlier Greek and Russian research findings.

  • A 2019 UK study found SSRIs had at best a weak effect in reducing depressive symptoms over 12 weeks, providing “no convincing evidence” of effectiveness after only 6 weeks.

  • While not originally intended for health, studies at Harvard and other institutions found Sudarshan Kriya highly effective for reducing stress and treating various ailments.

  • Modern humans have become like highly inbred dogs like pugs through flat faces and smaller airways from evolutionary pressures, suffering similar breathing problems.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe