The common perception is that the more we breathe, the better we live. However, this advice contradicts fundamental principles of respiration. Healthy breathing is breathing that meets the body’s needs and provides optimal conditions for health. It doesn’t mean the more you breathe the better off you are, in the same way that the key to good nutrition is not eating more.
If you suffer from allergies, whether airborne irritants, food or contact allergies, you are probably breathing too much.
While a healthy breather inhales 4-5 litres air/ minute at rest, a dysfunctional breather might be inhaling twice that amount. All this air brings with it an excess payload of allergens and the body over-reacts to this onslaught.
Over breathing can produce the following symptoms:
- increased mucus production due to dehydration of the airways
- greater exposure to airborne allergens
- depletion of carbon dioxide (hypocapnia) in airways and blood which can stimulate histamine production leading to inflammation of the mucosa lining the airways and in the skin.
And of course over-breathing via the mouth bypasses the nose delivering large quantities of cold, dry, unfiltered and potentially germ-laden air directly into the lungs.