Jul 28 / Jacko

Why Shut Your Mouth and Keep it Nasal!

How you breathe can have such a huge impact on all aspects of your health.

It can impact how you feel, how you respond to life's stresses, how you sleep and how your body utilises oxygen.
Not only that the nose provides a vital first line of protection for every breath of air you take in - something that the mouth does not provide when breathing in through the mouth.

Benefits of Nose Breathing

• Protects upper airways
• Nitric oxide provides anti-viral protection
• More efficient gas exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide
• Stimulates diaphragmatic breathing
• Slows breathing rate down for parasympathetic response
• Relaxes and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety

When we look at the role and functions the nose provides when breathing it’s evident that it is designed as our primary 'inlet' for breathing. Sure, we can breathe through the mouth but that doesn't mean that we have to. A silly example I like to use it that you could in fact stick food up your nose and 'snort' it to the back of your throat and eat it - but you don't right? At least, hopefully not!

But it could be done, we just not it’s not the best or most efficient way to consume food. You miss out on the vital digestive processed that start in the mouth. The breaking down of the food as we chew and the saliva build up that initiates the start of the digestive process is lost or bypassed.

The same can be said if we don't use the nose to breathe. We would miss out on the protective properties that the nose provides to the air that we breathe in. It humidifies and purifies that air we take it and helps retain moisture from the air we exhale - protecting the upper air ways and lungs.

Not only that, it provides nitric oxide (which is only found in the nasal cavity - not in the mouth) which helps to keep the nose unblocked, open up the upper airways (as a vasodilator) and helps to distribute the blood within the lungs more evenly to allow for more efficient gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide into and out of the bloodstream.

The nose also helps to slow down our breathing and encourages activation of the diaphragm compared with mouth breathing. Mouth breathing tends to be lead from the upper chest and results in a shallower, faster breathing pattern. This fast, shallow, upper chest, mouth breathing is part of the sympathetic (fight, flight or freeze) stress response. Breathing in this way is often the result of feeling stress and becomes a vicious cycle, as breathing in this way creates a feeling a stress.

Nasal breathing on the other hand, creates a more relax breathing pattern. The slowing down of the breathing rate, less air passing through the lungs helps to create an environment for a parasympathetic (rest, digest and relax) response.

Finally, the connection between the nose and the diaphragm helps to facilitate diaphragmatic breathing which helps to stabilise the spine through intra-abdominal pressure, helping reduce back pain through better functional movement.

In summary:

"The mouth is for eating and the nose is for breathing"

Let’s keep it that way!

Keep it Nasal!

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