Saturday, December 5, 2020

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art -Book Review

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance, rejuvenate internal organs, halt snoring, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease, and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again. Review This book is a collection of anecdotes and pseudo science about breathing. These range from insubstantial; a man in the 1930's met another man who'd benefited from visiting Tibetan monks who breath through their noses. To plausible; anxiety can be controlled with breathing, strengthening the chest muscles and diaphram can help with breathing (eg. physiotherapy is good for people with emphysema). To mystical; breathing can infuse the body with a magical 'energy' called Prana. Any conclusions seem to be contradictory: breath in little sips, take big breaths, reduce the amount of oxygen in our bodies, increase the amount etc. A lot is written concerning a study he and a friend took part in where they taped their noses shut for 10 days to force them to breath through their mouths. Apparently this will make you feel rotten, snore more and grow bacteria in your unused nasal cavity. Hardly surprising.

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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art -Book Review

There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a sp...