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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Need an Energy Boost? Try Deep Breathing

We all do it and we don’t think about we. We draw oxygen from the air into our lungs and we exhale carbon dioxide. We breathe. Most of us take our breathing for granted.

But we shouldn’t. Our need for oxygen is even greater than our need for water and food as our cells cannot survive or function properly without oxygen. Some patients, prior to weight loss surgery, had such poor respiratory systems they were tethered to oxygen tanks for their very survival. After surgery and after weight loss respiratory systems strengthened and assisted oxygen was no longer necessary.

Oxygen is essential for energy. In the past (before surgery) when we experienced an energy low, many of us reached for a sweet treat for the sugar boost. We can’t do that now and we won’t do that now. We have a better method of boosting energy – deep concentrated breathing.

The benefits of good breathing are vast. Good breathing floods the cells and tissues with dynamic oxygen, which has the power to stimulate cell metabolism and boost cell turnover. The benefits are immediately noticeable in the freshness of our skin tone and the brightness of our eyes. Good breathing causes us to feel more alert and alive.

Now, don’t go thinking I’m some crystal-clutching mantra-chanting new-age-witch who is going to tell you hocus-pocus about breathing and meditation. While those things are fine and good, all you really need to know when you run out of steam is take a few moments and feed your body some oxygen. Here’s how to get a great energy boost that’s cost and calorie free:

1. With eyes closed rest hands on the abdomen and breathe in gently, pushing against your hands as you do so.

2. Breathe out, lingering over the outbreath until the need for another inbreath naturally arises. Do not exaggerate the inhalation or the exhalation – the quieter the better.

3. Continue to observe your breathing until this deeper, slower rhythm has become automatic. Stop when you feel your strength returning.

The body, the amazing machine that it is, has an alert mechanism for when more oxygen is needed: we call it yawning. Generally thought to be an indication of boredom yawning is actually a call for more oxygen. If you find yourself yawning try the above breathing technique and feed your body some oxygen.

Respiratory Tonic:
Do you feel like your lungs and respiratory system aren’t functioning at their best? Give this tonic a try. It’s made naturally with ginger and honey. Ginger, which has a strong affinity with the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract, will liquefy excess mucus and keep the passages of the nose and throat clear. It is also known to clear the sinuses and reduce asthmatic tendencies.

Recipe: To one cup of warm water add 6-7 drops freshly squeezed ginger juice (peel a small gingerroot, grate it and press it) and ½ teaspoon of honey. Drink on an empty stomach. (This really works. Prior to surgery my breathing and asthma symptoms were severe. Combined with weight loss and healthy respiratory practices I no longer suffer from breathing related illness.)

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