Your Breath As Medicine:

by Carole Bourne

“Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health” Dr.  Andrew Weil

Breathing is more than an automatic act of survival, it is the key to your health and sense of well being.   The Chinese say that “Breathing is 100 times more important than medicine”. Why?  Because when you take care of your breath you take care of every cell in your body.

Breathing oxygenates your blood better, supports your brain, and allows you take in more vital energy or chi.   How you take in that chi can make all the difference between feeling truly alive, vibrant and healthy, or just being alive and functioning without any personal sense of vitality.


Photo by woooody’s

Deep breathing oxygenates your cells:

“One of the most overlooked benefits of extra oxygen in the tissues is their ability to detoxify more efficiently”  Dr. Kurt  W. Donsbach D.C N.D.

The more air you take in, the more chi (life force energy) you draw into your body.  Your cells love it when you breath deeply and steadily.  They get a boost of both vital energy and oxygen to help remove toxins and regenerate.

In the 1930′s Nobel Prize winner Dr. Otoo Warburg discovered that cancer cells do not thrive in an environment that is well oxygenated.

Ayurveda (ancient science of life)  teaches that a lack of oxygen at a cellular level could be a significant factor in the cause of cancer.

In China cancer patients are encouraged to practice deep breathing for several hours a day which reportedly resolves their cancer in the majority of cases.

Your breath and stress:

“Stress molecules attach to your cells surface, as a result less space is available on their membrane to take in oxygen and essential nutrients”  Dr. Pokea

Shallow breathing (upper chest breathing) is an automatic response to anxiety.  When you train yourself to breathe deeply in the face of stress or anxiety, you are signaling to your mind that everything is OK.   And as a direct result, you will begin to feel OK.   This may sound like a simple platitude, but it’s a fact, and it can easily be proved by your personal experience.

It may take some practice to get your breathing deep and steady, and it may take further practice to consistently remind yourself to deepen and lengthen your breath at the slightest whiff of worry or stress, but if you do, you will feel the benefits very quickly.

How to practice a healing breath:

The easiest way to boost your resilience to stress and improve your heath is to find a class, book or audio that focuses on mindful deep breathing.  A yoga teacher with experience in yogic breathing (3 chamber breathing) and pranayama (deepening and controlling your breath) would be an excellent place to start or perhaps a Qi Gong (breath, movement, and meditation) class may appeal to you more.  There are many ancients practices out there to choose from.

A guided healing breath meditation:

One popular breathing exercise that I teach is called the Relaxing Breath, (sometimes called the 4-7-8 breath, due to the pattern of counting and holding the breath) it’s great for getting used to breathing deeply, and works well for reducing stress and anxiety. It’s also effective for relaxing into a restful sleep at the end of the day.


You can listen to a sample of my Relaxing Breath, New Beginnings in Breathing, Healing Energy Meditation or 5 Finger Qi Gong  by clicking here:

This is a guest post written by the gorgeous, Ananga Sivyar from Living By Design: Ananga is a practitioner at the Yoga Barn in England (Kent) for mantra meditations, kirtans and peaceful living.  She works from a diverse garden of healing techniques from Ayurveda (India’s Ancient Science of Life) to the latest developments in Energy Psychology.  She is an accomplished musician.  I can personally recommend all her relaxation and guided meditation recordings. You are welcome to click here to listen to Ananga’s recordings:


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Prof. Agarwal July 2, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Although Deep breathing is a good way of breathing but now a newer Technique ShwaasPathy way of breathing alongwith Shunkh Value measurement technique is the latest in Breathing.
it increases the improvement multifold. Prof. Agarwal has taught this to several lacs of people in a very short span of time
So Shifting to latest technologies is always better for better efficiency


Francesco July 12, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I would say:
“Breathing is 100000 times more important than medicine”. :)
Nice blog you have. The outlook of this page transmits the feeling of refreshment.
Thak you for sharing.


Carole Fogarty July 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Hi Franesco,

Thanks so much for your kind words. Couldn’t agree more on the value and importance our breath has.

Peace, love and chocolate



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