Breathing is often overlooked as a powerful determinant of health. However, if we think about it, breathing should be one of the primary focal points of our everyday life. Air is absolutely essential for mammals to exist. Without air we die. So, it should come as no surprise that the manner in which we breathe can drastically affect health. The rate and depth of breathing has been correlated to rates of anxiety, and well-being, as well as cardiovascular health. We have a firm understanding of how shallow breathing predisposes individuals to have respiratory infections settle in the lower lungs and become pneumonia. And we also know that the “breathing muscle,” the diaphragm, can become tense and actually inhibit the fluid, easy rhythm of breathing. The connections between breathing and digestive health is also frequently discussed in holistic health circles.
Deep traditions of varied breathing practices meant to enhance performance, cognition and spiritual connection
And there’s also deep traditions of various types of breathing practices meant to enhance performance, cognition and spiritual connection. Breathing is essential to our health, and our conscious awareness of how we perform this moment by moment act is a foundational aspect of healthy living.
Nasal Breathing and Memory
Moving on to a specific consideration, a recent study suggests that nasal breathing (breathing in and out through the nose) helps us to remember smells better, over mouth breathing.
“Our study shows that we remember smells better if we breathe through the nose when the memory is being consolidated – the process that takes place between learning and memory retrieval,” says Artin Arshamian, researcher at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. “This is the first time someone has demonstrated this.”
Researchers had individuals learn 12 different smells on two different occasions
For the study, the researchers had individuals learn twelve different smells on two different occasions. The participants then spent one hour either breathing through their nose or through their mouth. Then the individuals were presented with the old as well as a new set of 12 smells, and asked to verify if the smell was new or old.
Results showed the following
Results demonstrated that when participants breathed through their noses between the time of learning and recognition, they remembered the smells better.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.