Better Body Clinical Nutrition


Healing Life and Lungs After Covid – Part 4

Monday, November 20, 2023 3:54 PM

Article from

December 5, 2022 by Betsy Thomason

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on

Breathe Efficiently

Once you are committed to self-care and healing, learn how to breathe efficiently, focusing on your outbreath. Restoring health and well-being requires energy, and breathing is the source. Since breathing has an impact on every organ system, muscle, and cell in your body, it serves as a springboard to launch a healing journey. When you have understood, learned, and used the focus on the outbreath, other layers of healing and well-being will emerge.

There are three reasons why breathing affects the whole body. Let’s start with the vagus nerve—the tenth cranial nerve—which is the longest and most complex of the twelve cranial nerves leading from the brain stem to the far reaches of the body. The vagus nerve wanders from the brain stem all the way to the colon, along the way connecting with the middle ear, vocal cords, heart, lungs, and intestines. In addition, the vagus nerve interacts with the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary physiological processes like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and emotional states. Your outbreath has a positive influence on this nerve and all the organs it enervates.

The diaphragm is the second reason breathing affects total well-being. Though it is the most important muscle of respiration, the diaphragm is not under your conscious control, but you can affect it by alternately squeezing (outbreath) and releasing (inbreath) your belly muscles. In 2018, Italian researchers shed new light on the broad array of diaphrag­matic functions, illustrating why the diaphragm is not only “the motor muscle of breath” but is essential to many other processes affecting well-being. These include “expectoration, vomiting, defecation, urination, swallowing, and phona­tion.” In addition, these authors pointed out, the diaphragm influences the body’s metabolic balance; stimulates venous (blood on its return to the heart and lungs for oxygenation) and lymphatic return, “thereby creating the cor­rect relationship between the stomach and the esophagus to prevent gastroesophageal reflux”; is essential for posture, locomotion, and upper limb movement; influences “the emotional and psychological spheres”; and can diminish the perception of pain.

The third reason that a focus on breathing can make a profound difference in well-being is that, in our twenty-first-century culture, the activity we call “breathing” is basically ignored. For most of us, breathing is an automatic func­tion, that is, it runs without conscious involve­ment. It’s on automatic pilot. You think, “This is great; one less thing to deal with.” However, the lack of attention to breathing creates rapid, high chest breathing with little diaphragmatic movement, which negates all the benefits mentioned above. So, when you start to pay attention to your breathing and learn how to breathe efficiently, the payoff can be big. And when you focus on an active, spine-stretching outbreath and a passive, relaxed inbreath, the payoff is enormous.

No matter which breathing method you use, when you focus on breathing, there are benefits. For two reasons, however, I advocate the ap­proach known as the BreatheOutDynamic sys­tem (BODs), developed by an Olympic trainer. First is its efficiency, generated by a focus on the active, spine-stretching outbreath for energy and relaxation. The inbreath, on the other hand, is short, passive, and relaxed—it happens all by itself, if you allow it. This is the opposite of “regular” breathing. The second reason I champion BODs is because it supports physical activity—as well as management of anxiety, fear, pain, and stress, all without drugs.