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Have you heard of the mindful breathing necklace?

I recently heard about the mindful breathing necklace. It’s a tool advertised to assist you to calm yourself, soothe your mind, help to reduce tension and anxiety and even lower your blood pressure.

It looks like a small flute that hangs vertically as a crystal pendant from a necklace. Its recommended that you exhale for 10 seconds or so.
I assume that the flute pendant has some in-built resistance so that you can only exhale slowly.
If you practice this for several minutes while belly breathing or while meditating I have little doubt that it will provide the touted benefits.

But you don’t have to spend $100 or more to achieve this effect! You can naturally learn how to breathe through your nose. By learning to permanently change how you inhale and exhale (together with learning the correct posture) you can easily achieve the benefits promoted by the mindful breathing necklace.

In fact, your nose is the ultimate mindful breathing tool.Calm, gentle nasal breathing

Like the mindful breathing necklace, your nose also provides resistance as the inhaled air is warmed, filtered, and sanitized with each breath of air that enters your nose. The resistance provided by the internal structure of your nose helps regulate your breathing. No such regulation is provided by your mouth.

While breathing with your diaphragm, or from your belly, you are taking a deep breath (as opposed to a big chest breath). During each slow and deep breath, you are enabling carbon dioxide to accumulate. The greater amount of carbon dioxide you accumulate, the greater amount of oxygen is released to your tissues and cells, as shown by the scientific discovery known as the Bohr Effect.  You improve your blood flow or your blood circulation.

By lengthening your exhale and shortening your inhale you will lower your heart rate. This phenomenon is known as heart rate variability.

Another little-known benefit from exclusively breathing through your nose is the production within the nasal cavity of the gas nitric oxide. In the scientific world, it has been described as the third gas in our respiratory system – along with oxygen and carbon dioxide. Nitric oxide provides the following health benefits:

  1. It  reverses the build-up of cholesterol and plaque in the arteries, ensuring that blood vessels stay open
  2. It relaxes the smooth muscle layer in our blood vessels and dilates our blood vessels thereby increasing cerebral blood flow and oxygen to the brain
  3. It decreases blood pressure and relieves angina
  4. It acts as an anticoagulant and makes our immune system stronger
  5. It acts as a defence in the upper airways to the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  6. It reduces lung vascular resistance and improves arterial oxygenation
  7. It assists in keeping open the upper airway muscles
  8. The current scientific evidence indicates that optimal management of disease in the upper and lower airways needs to consider a “unified airway” model as nasal breathing equates to a more efficient oxygen extraction and carbon dioxide excretion during exercise
  9. It has been suggested that a reduced inhalation of nasal nitric oxide may contribute to the negative effects caused by oral breathing that occur during sleep disorders
  10. The relaxation response, or the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, may be caused by nitric oxide thereby explaining its clinical effects in stress-related disorders

In summary, the multiple benefits of carbon dioxide and nitric oxide strengthens my conclusion that you should only practise nasal breathing (as opposed to mouth breathing) both at rest and during light to moderate exercise. In fact, it’s a conclusion that is clear and plain as the nose on your face!

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