Is taking a deep breath the secret to boosting your immune system? While it may not be quite that simple, there is a strong case for using breathing exercises to fortify and strengthen your immune system naturally. Many people are already familiar with the benefits conscious connected breathwork can bring for mental well-being. People often turn to breathing exercises to manage stress and anxiety while finding inner strength. However, most people are unaware that those "immediate" positive effects on mood and cognitive function extend to enhance the immune system and increase resistance against disease. This has become more important than ever in a time of a pandemic because a robust immune system can place us in a lower risk category. Take a look at what we know about the relationship between breathing exercises and the immune system.
How Conscious Connected Breathwork Supports Immune Function
The word of the day is inflammation when it comes to why so many people have immune systems that are not as robust and activated as they could be. According to breaking research, the key to why breathing is so powerful for improved immune function may be linked with its ability to reduce inflammation through self-developed methods that go beyond just diet and lifestyle. When we do connected breathwork and breath-holding, we're impacting both our sympathetic nervous system and regular immune system nearly simultaneously. While many of us understand how the immune system works to fight disease and illness, we may not know how the sympathetic nervous system controls the body's responses.
Our sympathetic nervous system is responsible for directing our natural and involuntary response to perceived dangers and stress. When we feel "attacked" by a threat, the body sends a rush of hormones to increase our alertness, boost hormone levels, raise the heart rate and flood the muscles with extra blood. The long-standing belief has been that this is simply an automatic response that cannot be controlled. That's changed with the rise of exploring the effects of conscious breath-holding and intentional breathing on the body. In studies, it has been demonstrated that taking voluntary control of the sympathetic nervous system through breathing can help humans to suppress the innate immune response. This is fantastic news for people with autoimmune issues seeking to reduce inflammatory responses in the body. What's more, it's good for anyone simply looking to build a more robust, more effective immune system.
The Cortisol Connection to Controlled Breathing
The way that controlled breathing makes us feel better is primarily based on its ability to regulate stress hormones. Unfortunately, we experience spikes in the stress hormone called cortisol whenever we encounter stress. This can mean anything from being stuck in traffic while already late for work to dealing with a tense family situation. Sustained high levels of cortisol can leave us in a very depleted, frazzled state. This can mean a health disaster if illness strikes while we're "down." We also know that high cortisol levels stemming from stress place us at increased risk for autoimmune diseases.
One recent study analyzing 100,000 people with stress-related disorders found that these individuals were more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune diseases than people without stress-related disorders. What's more, participants with stress-related disorders were more likely to develop more than one autoimmune disease. A 2017 study focused on looking carefully at the effect of diaphragmatic breathing on cortisol responses found that a designated breathing intervention group experienced lower cortisol levels after training than a control group.
Covid-19 Breathing Recovery: There's Never Been a Better Time to Boost the Immune System Naturally
The Bhramari breathing technique has emerged as a significant immune-system fortifier during COVID-19. Bhramari is a humming technique that creates a bee-like buzzing upon exhalation. According to the findings of a study published in May of 2020 on the impact of Bhramari breathing on Covid-19, researchers concluded that this technique leads to enhanced immune response and overall wellness. There is also existing clinical evidence that the Bhramari technique increases nitric oxide that acts as a host defense.
Enhancing Wellness and Fighting Disease With Every Breath You Take: How to Explore Breathing Exercises to Boost the Immune System
It is incredible to think that systems that scientists have declared "involuntary" for years actually can be voluntarily controlled when we master ancient, connected breathing techniques! If you're interested in exploring what this means for your health and wellness,
BreathYoga is currently offering a unique Covid-19 breathing recovery course that introduces you to the concepts behind breath techniques that increase nitric oxide to help boost your immune system. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn how to regulate and fortify your body's immune response while also enjoying the benefits of calmness and well-being. While this course is designed specially to help people fortify their immune systems in a time of pandemic, the techniques learned can provide wellness benefits to last a lifetime!