Nasal breathing IS absolutely your superpower, not to mention your best line of defense against getting sick, staying well and living a full and happy life! Yes, I know that is a loaded statement but I will always stand behind it!
I know this professionally but also personally, spending the first three decades of my life as a mouth breather to now a consistent nasal breather. And one thing that continues to baffle me, I STILL haven’t gotten COVID?! I’m not saying it’s all nasal breathing, but it certainly has helped!
Benefits of nasal breathing are far reaching and include everything from better orofacial development to improved sleep quality. The nasal cavity is about the size of your fist located inside your skull and is essentially a built in humidifier and filtration system for the entire body. When you breathe through your nose you are able to filter out outside particles and foreign objects that may not be good for your body to absorb. The nose also warms the air prior to it entering the lungs making it an appropriate temperature for inside the body. When the mouth is closed and the nose is being used for breathing, appropriate jaw development can be supported. The tongue of course needs to also be doing its part by resting up in the palate, but closed lips and primary nasal breathing is how you sustain correct oral rest posture and facilitate healthy jaws. Additionally the roof of the mouth is the floor of the nose and when the lips are closed and tongue rest up in the palate, a full nasal cavity can also develop allowing as much room as possible for nasal breathing. This also helps prevents a future deviated septum which can be caused by a high and narrow palate. Additionally, primary daytime nasal breathing usually carries over to nighttime nasal breathing, which lessens your likelihood of snoring! Let’s say that again, breathe through your nose at night to decrease your likelihood of snoring! More on this in future posts.
And perhaps the greatest reason of all to breathe through your nose is it create nitric oxide! This naturally produced gas can be generated in the nose and helps to widen our blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily throughout the body. This is known as vasodilation and can aid in reducing blood pressure, improving sports performance and allowing for better oxygen uptake throughout the body!
The benefits are numerous however you have to actually use your nose to get them! And the first step to becoming a nasal breather is awareness. Unsure if you primarily nasal or mouth breathe? Try holding a business card between your lips and only nasal breathe for two minutes. Begin to notice if it’s difficult or even scary in any way. Does air flow freely or does it feel more labored? If you noticed any of these challenges, you may have some nasal disuse you’re working against. Nasal disuse happens when we simply don’t use our nose. Luckily we can turn this breathing pattern around. Start with noticing your breathe, inhaling and exhaling slowly through your nose. Blow your nose often. Use nasal spray. Set a timer for one minute using only your nose to breathe. Then try it for two. Then three, four, five and so on. Find your baseline and start there. It’s you versus you.
And of course, I’m here to help. I love helping clients reset nasal breathing patterns, as well as find the deep breaths that have been there all along. Remember, nasal breathing IS your superpower!