“I would encourage Breath Control Therapy be adopted – immediately — by all emergency workers, health care providers, public safety personnel, employees offering essential services and members of the general public from young children to seniors. ” – Tyler Huston – Founder of Breath Control
Breath Control Amid the Corona Crisis
Today we are going to be discussing Breath Control techniques that can be applied as a critical and timely tool by First Responders, Health Care Providers, all support and essential service workers and members of the general public. We will cover the benefits of breath control techniques and breathing exercises in relation to coronavirus, COVID-19 and similar viruses, disorders and illnesses that affect the respiratory system.
As a first responder and a nurse I am certain that there has never been a more important time in history than right now, during this corona crisis to do everything possible to maintain our own physical and mental health while also ensuring the safety and well being of our patients, coworkers, family, friends, neighbours and our community.
Over the next few minutes we will be learning Breath Control techniques that we can implement into our daily lives right away as a crucial resource during these extraordinary and unknown times. We will discuss the science and research behind the biochemistry and the biomechanics of specific breathing techniques that:
improve alveolar ventilation, deliver powerful anti-viral benefits, increase oxygen distribution in our body, strengthen both our respiratory and immune systems and provide a precautionary barrier that can help to deter the spread of infection.
- It is our courtesy … and it is our duty to educate ourselves and take every available precaution to prevent and control the spread of Covid-19.
I would encourage that Breath Control Therapy be adopted – immediately by all emergency workers, health care providers, public safety personnel, employees offering essential services and members of the general public from young children to seniors. As a free, readily available, accessible and renewable resource that has the potential of playing a significant role in fighting the further spread of the virus and significantly alleviate the mounting impact on hospitals and intensive care units.
This is not the first time that we have been threatened with the spread of a new lethal respiratory illness. SARS the genetically similar predecessor was another form of Corona virus that appeared during the 2002-2003 epidemic.
We can turn to existing research studies published on SARS and other similar respiratory diseases since Covid-19 is too new of a disease for us to have any substantial research regarding its development.
Previous studies demonstrated that nitric oxide specifically inhibits the replication cycle of SARS corona virus, most probably during the early steps of infection, reducing the need for long-term ventilator support.
The genetic similarities between the two coronaviruses support the potential for inhaled nitric oxide to provide meaningful benefit for patients infected with COVID-19 and inhibit the progression of upper respiratory tract symptoms.
Research explains nasal nitric oxide is harnessed during nose breathing, and that since NO has been proven to destroy influenza viruses, inhibiting the early stages of their replication cycle, NO can kill the flu virus. This is consistent with research from 1999 and 2000 that found NO has “opposing effects” in viral infections including flu and pneumonia and that it inhibits the replication of a variety of viruses.
Much of the worry around coronavirus stems from uncertainty. However, what is certain is that large amounts of nitric oxide are constantly being released in the airways during nasal breathing, and that this gas has been found to have important anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial functions that defend against the replication of flu-like illnesses.
Without the regular inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils, nitric oxide in the nasal airways goes unused; therefore the simplest way to naturally increase NO is by nostril breathing.
Further research into the human rhinovirus (HRV), the primary cause of the common cold, concluded that humans actually produce MORE nitric oxide in response to HRV infection, theorizing that the gas plays a key role in viral clearance or the bodies natural response to fighting off infection.
Research also shows that the rhinovirus known to cause colds and infections in the upper respiratory tracts, will multiply when the nose cools down. The colder it is in the nose, the more the immune system is suppressed, which will create a favourable environment for a virus to reproduce. We do not know exactly how the coronavirus behaves, but we do know that it is airbourne and settles in the airways – it is not inconceivable that a cold nose offers an environment that is favourable for Covid-19 to also propagate.
Now, I’m going to take you through five essential Breath Control techniques.
We are going to begin by learning Functional – Conscious Breathing that you can implement 24 hrs a day – during rest – during physical activity – and eventually after some training, throughout the night to protect our airways and ensure an uninterrupted sleep.
You may encounter acute situations when social distancing precautions or (PPE) personal protective equipment have been compromised where you will be required to break this breathing pattern and initiate precautionary countermeasures – I will cover that specific breathing technique a little later on.
Breathing is our largest and most important source of energy for our body. As we breathe, processes in our body instantly convert that air in to instant usable energy.
We breathe upwards of 30,000 times every day unfortunately here in North America we tend to be a society who encompass dysfunctional breathing patterns and on average are only utilizing around 40% of that energy. Which means that we are taking nearly half our body’s main energy supply – our ability to remain healthy – and our ability to heal and throwing it straight down the drain every day.
The first rule of functional, healthy breathing is:
- The mouth is for eating and the nose is for breathing – Human beings were designed to breath with our nose.
If you take a moment and look down at your chest take a big breath of air through your mouth and you will see that you chest rises now take your next breath through your nose and you should see more movement in your stomach and lower chest.
Apart from it’s anti-viral and filtration qualities nasal breathing also facilitates diaphragmatic breathing.
The diaphragm is our main breathing muscle assisting our lungs in performing functional respiration and as our heart acts as a pump for the circulation system our diaphragm acts as a pump to our Lymphatic system in turn increasing immune functions.
70 percent of the oxygen exchange happens in the lower 30% of the lobes of the lungs. Individuals breathing through their mouths shallowly in to their upper chest are not allowing themselves full access to a healthy functional breath.
We are going to split the breath in to 3 separate phases – The Inhale – The Controlled Pause and The Exhale.
- The first phase being the inhale:
- The Second Phase is the controlled pause allowing a full second where the majority of diffusion takes place between the air we breathe and the blood stream.
Not only does this pause allow for optimal oxygen uptake into the bloodstream but it also sets us up to transition smoothly back in the exhale-
The name of the functional breathing game is all about smooth, flowing rhythm.
Optimal cadence or breathing rate is around six breaths per minute
- The third phase is the exhale, the key to relaxation is in the exhalation
One of the symptoms of Covid-19 is breathlessness. Since 1975 researchers have known that your breath hold time while at rest is an accurate measurement of your respiratory health and indicator of respiratory function. If your breathing becomes labored, your breath hold time will be reduced. When measuring your breath hold time also referred to as a Body Oxygen Level Test or BOLT score from oxygen advantage or a controlled pause from Buteko you are waiting to feel the body’s first distinct response or sign telling you to breathe.
Small Sequential Breath Holds
If you are experiencing symptoms – This exercise is not a substitute for seeking medical help but any time you have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or breathless a good way to help control your breathing is to perform small sequential breathholds.
Continue with the exercise for up to 10 minutes every hour as symptoms persist. The amount of time you are retaining your breath should be half the time of your breathlessness test. We want to control breathing but we don’t want to labour your breathing or create any anxiety which will in turn feed in to the symptoms.
This technique is not only useful as an emergency exercise for respiratory symptoms but is also very powerful in assisting with acute panic or anxiety attacks when control over the breath has become lost and over breathing agitates the mind
Breathe Slow and Low / Hypercapnic – Hypoxic Training
If you experience breathlessness and feeling that you are not getting enough air people normally breathe with their mouth, breath shallow to the upper chest and breathe faster.
The harder you breathe the more you will contribute to bronchoconstriction, this is very common in people with asthma who may feel short of breath or feel like they are suffocating so they begin to breathe harder which causes airways to cool and dry out which leads to airway narrowing.
With the progression of Covid-19 one of the symptoms is that blood oxygen saturation decreases. This breath control technique will increase oxygen uptake in the bloodstream by 10 to 15 percent.
For further information and to dig deeper, Youtube the OXYHEMOGLOBIN DISSOCIATIVE CURVE.
This nasal breathing technique will retain moisture loss by 42% by the filtration of water particles. Covid-19 is transmitted via airborne water particles when people cough, sneeze and yes breathe.
When exhaling through your mouth you are essentially like an aerosol can spraying water particles in to the air 1.5 to 2 meters. If another person is within this proximity they can inhale these particles into your their body, the virus then has the opportunity to replicate.
When out in public or in a situation where social distancing is compromised or the proper personal protective equipment (PPE’s) are not available – reduce the volume of air taken into your lungs by slowing down your breathing, breathing softly through your nose or even holding your breath.
The slower we breathe also increases the concentration of nitic oxide being taken in to our lungs.
As we previously discussed Nitric oxide is a very important substance produced in large quantities in the nasal sinuses that was discovered in the mid-1990s. When we inhale through our nose, Nitric oxide accompanies the inhaled air in order to dilate the bronchial tubes to allow the air to pass through and be transferred to our blood more easily increasing the oxygen uptake by 10-15 percent into the bloodstream and improving the delivery of oxygen to the cells of the body. When we breathe in through the mouth, the air is not spiked with this important substance.
Another powerful function of Nitic Oxide are its antimicrobial properties which kills viruses and bacteria that have escaped from the cilia inside our nose and throat.
Covid-19 has an impact on the production of surfactant in the lungs.
Yet another crucial role that inhaled nitric oxide provides is the ability to influence the production of surfactant for helping to maintain functional movement and elasticity of the lungs.
Current Nitric Oxide Trials on COVID-19
There are new testing, trials and patents that are currently happening in the United States and in several other countries in the world you will see that these trials are looking at the benefits of inhaled nitic oxide as a potent treatment for Covid-19
This powerful molecule is produced in our nasal cavity naturally and by utilizing these Breath Control Therapy techniques you can harness these benefits.
The only factor to be discovered that can influence the production of Nitric Oxide within our nasal cavity is through the vibrations cause by humming.
A 2005 review of nasal NO, health and disease, found that humming creates seven times more nitric oxide than normal exhalation. This is thought to be due to oscillations in the air, which accelerate the exchange of air between the sinuses and nasal cavity.
Evidence suggests that humming is effective in emptying the paranasal sinuses of accumulated NO, leading to far greater production of the gas.
The mechanism of Covid-19 is still unknown, and it would be negligent to state that nasal breathing and Breath Control Therapy will kill the virus. However, it has been consistently proven that specific nasal breathing techniques lead to better overall physical and mental health, and it makes logical sense, given that the primary defence to airborne viruses is in the nose and not the mouth, that breathing through the nose can support the body’s natural resistance to infection.
Nasal breathing is not only a feasable personal protective strategy to help prevent infection of the Covid-19 virus but also an effective strategy to potentially reduce transmission and effectively slow down the spread of the virus.
It is important to note that Breath Control Therapy (BCT) is not a substitute for preventative measures such as washing hands, social distancing and wearing a mask where applicable but used as a supplemental precaution.
I’d like to encourage that you take the time to practice the exercises and thoroughly learn these Breath Control techniques for yourself and then take that knowledge and share it with your family, your friends, your co-workers, your patients and to those you protect and provide care for.
You can continue to contribute and raise awareness by sharing the information in this video online in an effort to increase the efficacy in deterring the potential spread of the Covid19-virus.
Individuals receiving this information will also be equipped with the tools to strengthen their respiratory system, boost their immune system, build mental resilience to control stress and anxiety and improve the ability to recover faster in the event of falling ill.
Thank you, stay well and keep safe.
- Humming Greatly Increases Naslal Nitric Oxide – https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200202-138BC
- Dual effect of nitric oxide on SARS-CoV replication: viral RNA production and palmitoylation of the S protein are affected – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19800091
- Evidence of Airborne Transmission of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus – https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa032867
- Evidence for the cure of flu through nose breathing – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311509644_Evidence_for_the_cure_of_flu_through_nose_breathing
- Nitric Oxide Inhibits the Replication Cycle of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus – https://jvi.asm.org/content/79/3/1966
- How to Protect Yourself and Prepare for the Coronavirus – https://www.nytimes.com/article/prepare-for-coronavirus.html%20%E2%80%93%20link-31d0f886
- An Antiviral Mechanism of Nitric Oxide: Inhibition of a Viral Protease – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S107476130080003