By Margaret Boswell, LAc, MSOM
Did you know that we can change the ph of our blood just by the way we breathe?
“It’s a medical fact that extremely rapid, hyperventilation-type breathing can actually cause excessive alkalization of the blood. But the opposite is also true – too shallow breathing causes acid to build up in your body….
When you breathe in a shallow manner, or subconsciously hold your breath and fail to breathe deeply and thoroughly, you not only fail to take in enough oxygen; you also do not exhale completely. That means carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulates in your blood. High CO2 levels decrease pH, leading to acidification of the blood.” Vivian Goldschmidt, MA
It seems too simple to be true, but it is true. Breathing practices have been around for thousands of years. Known as Qi Gong, Meditation, Yoga, and many other names, conscious control of the breath is well known by many people around the globe. Changing blood ph is just one of the many things that conscious breathing practices can be used for.
This is what we are doing when we do the Qi Gong breathing technique known as the 9 breath practice (as taught by Supreme Science Qi Gong). First we exhale all of the air that is in our lungs, then breathing back in fully, we fill our lungs, then exhale and inhale 9 times in a row, a little more rapidly than is our normal rate, but making sure to get full breaths each time(This is just an overview, not a complete explanation of this exercise). Then, we exhale slowly and completely, pushing out all air from our lungs, then bring it back in to its full capacity. Then back to slow, full breathing.
In this breath practice, we are deliberately exhaling all of the carbon dioxide, and alkalizing the blood. When doing this practice, we would only do it once or twice per day. We can do 1 set of 9, or up to 3 sets of 9 at a time. This is different than hyperventilating, although it is similar in that the breaths are taken more rapidly, and one right after the other, as if we are doing the shallow breath that leads to hyperventilation. But we are careful not to hyperventilate, as this is not the purpose of this particular practice. We are deliberately squeezing out all of the carbon dioxide that has been trapped inside our lungs, and replacing it with oxygen-rich air. We are exercising our lungs, strengthening the muscles, stretching the tissues, and increasing its capacity. We are alkalizing and oxygenating at the same time.
Shallow breathing throughout the day will cause our bodies to work harder to balance the ph. Our bodies can and will use minerals from our bones and teeth to balance the ph of the blood when necessary. Developing the habit of taking full deep breaths, we are helping our bodies to maintain this very necessary balance. Taking a few minutes out of our day to practice breathing, can set the lifelong habit of breathing fully and completely, and of paying attention to the way that we breathe. This is a habit that will benefit our health and well-being, a habit that we can hold onto for our whole life.
Private and small group breathing classes. Margaret2bwell@gmail.com