Breathwork

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Mike Feusi

Breathwork refers to various techniques derived from ancient yoga, where you control your breathing on purpose with various techniques aimed at improving physical, mental, and emotional health, which together help you live a longer and healthier life.

One main benefit is its effect on the heart and blood vessels, helping you to relax, reduce stress, and improve overall health through a ower blood pressure, improved heart rate variability, and boosted circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease. The effect of breathwork – more oxygen in your blood and better carbon dioxide removal – helps to keep your cells healthy and supports longevity, by balancing your blood pH and reducing inflammation.

Breathwork is also important for managing stress. Chronic stress can lead to many health issues, including a weaker immune system, more inflammation, and faster aging of cells. When you’re stressed, you breathe quickly and shallowly, which reduces oxygen in your blood. The carbon dioxide produced in your cells when burning glucose with the help of oxygen accumulates and can less easily be released (expiration).  This makes your brain think there’s a threat, triggering a fight-or-flight response in your body. Deep breathing and mindfulness can regulate the carbon dioxide levels and help you to feel calm and counteract chronic stress. Less stress can lead to better sleep, improved mental health, and stronger resistance to illness.

Brain health also benefits from breathwork. Controlled breathing can improve concentration, memory, and cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and lowering stress hormones like cortisol, which may help prevent age-related cognitive decline. Plus, the meditative aspect of breathwork can bring mental clarity and emotional stability.

Breathwork is easy to do and can be part of your daily routine and can be practiced by people of all ages and fitness levels. It doesn’t require any special equipment and can be done anywhere, making it a sustainable practice for maintaining long-term health.

Recommendation: If you want to kick-start and boost the effect of breathwork, we recommend starting a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in LaboSpa’s own oxygen chamber (c.f. https://www.labospa.ch/longevity/hyperbarer-sauerstoff/). The increased oxygen pressure inside a hyperbaric chamber, allows for a higher oxygen absorption in your blood. This increased oxygen level helps your body perform its functions more efficiently, through enhanced cellular activity (more efficient metabolism and better healing) and improved carbon dioxide removal, which helps you to calm down and to move your body and mind from a fight-or-flight state to a calming rest-and recover mode. Supercharge the effect by doing breathwork exercises while doing your Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

LaboSpa Tip for You: Breathwork at Home

Practicing breathwork at home can be straightforward and highly beneficial. Here are five simple steps to get started on enhancing your physical and mental health from the comfort of your home:

  1. Find a Comfortable Space: Choose a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground or sit cross-legged on the floor. Ensure your back is straight to allow for full lung expansion. Or lie down on your back if that’s more comfortable.
  2. Settle into Your Position: Close your eyes to minimize distractions and begin by taking a few natural breaths. Focus on your breath as it flows in and out, becoming aware of its natural rhythm without trying to change it. This helps you to settle and center your mind.
  3. Begin Deep Breathing: Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand as your diaphragm moves down. Ensure your chest remains relatively still. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall. This is diaphragmatic breathing, which maximizes oxygen intake and promotes relaxation.
  4. Incorporate a Breathing Pattern: To deepen your practice, you can use a specific breathing pattern such as the 4-7-8 technique. Inhale quietly through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle 4-8 times.
  5. Conclude and Reflect: After completing your breathing exercises, take a few moments to sit quietly and notice any changes in your body or mind. Open your eyes when you feel ready and take a moment to reflect on how the practice has affected your stress levels, mood, or overall sense of well-being. Try to practice daily for the best results.

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Dr. John Schoonbee, the Global Chief Medical Officer at Swiss Re, is a distinguished expert in the field of medical

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