Oxygen Advantage

Breathing-pattern – 
The missing link?

The way we breathe is intricately linked to the way our body functions on both a physical and psychological level. When we breathe correctly we oxygenate our organs to maximise their function.


The researcher and professor of physical therapy, Kiesel (2017), has found that between 50-80% of the general population have some level of breathing-pattern disorder. The Oxygen Advantage® programme is designed to reset and optimise your breathing to improve your overall health and well-being. It also works specifically on performance for sports and exercise..
Between 50-80% of the general population have some level of breathing-pattern disorder
Patrick McKeown

Signs and symptoms that your breathing is disordered

Signs that your breathing may be disordered or that you need to improve your breathing include.

  • Feeling tense
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Hayfever and allergies
  • Frequent sighs and yawns
  • Poor sleep
  • Mouth breathing at night (dry mouth in morning)
  • Exercise induced breathlessness or asthma
  • Snoring
  • Frequent muscoskeletal injury
  • Low BOLT score

Why consider learning to breathe correctly?

Correcting how you breathe may be the missing link in your health journey. For example if you wake up tired or struggle to focus in the morning this may because of how you breathe during the night.
When we learn how to breathe properly we can impact all kinds of health issues such as:
  • Digestion
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Concentration
  • Sleep problems
  • Sports performance
  • Immune function
  • Energy levels
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Focus
  • Snoring
  • COPD

How is breathing connected to weight loss, energy levels, chronic fatigue and anxiety?

There is a close link between breathing and metabolism which is connected to energy and weight. There seems to be a relationship between the amount we eat and over breathing. The exercises stimulate the para sympathetic nervous (PNS) system and this seems to bring the body back into balance. This PNS stimulation helps to lower anxiety levels, reduce emotional eating and appetite as well as improve the basal metabolic rate. This is through complex interactions between respiratory rate, heart rate, and the increased capacity of the blood to carry oxygen.

What about asthma and breathing difficulties?

This is one of the key reasons people undertake the programme. The mechanics and depth of how we breathe affects the amount of air and blood in our lungs. If we breathe well our lungs will protect us against pulmonary infections and we will generate an important molecule called nitric oxide. This molecule is generated in the nasal passages and is our first line of defence against foreign particles. Nitric oxide is anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral and it dilates our airways and blood vessels to enhance delivery of oxygen and micronutrients to the tissues. Generating nitric oxide has been found to have significant health benefits especially with regard to chronic and age related disease.

By learning to breathe correctly, improving oxygen uptake and controlling the amount of air you breathe asthma symptoms may reduce or resolve and the need for medication can diminish.

Why does our breathing affect our digestion and our immune function?

Our gut membrane is the barrier between our internal and external world. It is the vital link between what we eat and the nutrients our body digests and absorbs. It’s surface area is as big as two tennis courts but it is delicate, only one cell thick and half the width of a human hair. Most of our immune system is situated just behind this membrane which starts in the sinuses and runs all the way to our anus. It works to protect us from any unwanted substances which we may ingest.

Many of us eat on the run, in a rush or whilst feeling stressed. When we learn to breathe correctly we oxygenate our gut so it can relax, digest and function optimally which in turn supports our immunity.
Maximising sports performance through breathing

How can changing the way we breathe improve our sports and running performance?

  • Improve running economy & running time
  • Reduce breathlessness whilst running
  • Achieve your personal best
  • Delay lactic acid & fatigue
  • Prevent gassing out too soon
  • Push your limits
  • Improve repeat sprint ability
  • Improve aerobic capacity
  • Improve respiratory muscle strength
  • Simulate high altitude training

What is the Oxygen Advantage® programme?

The Oxygen Advantage® programme teaches you the science and the practice of breathing right. You learn the science of breathing and the ‘how to’ practical part which has two stages. The first stage is to assess your breathing and then learn how to retrain and repattern this for optimal function. The second stage of the programme uses exercises which simulate high altitude training. This teaches the body to do more with less, improving athletic performance for both recreational and professional sports people.

Once you have learnt the exercises and reset your breathing receptors you simply incorporate it into your daily activities.
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Benefits

The physiological benefits will depend on how your body responds to the core benefits of:

  • improved breathing efficiency
  • better airway function and less breathlessness
  • improved oxygen delivery to muscles and organs
  • improved nitric oxide production
  • better circulation
  • improved functional movement
  • resetting the parasympathetic nervous system

We pay little attention to the way we breathe because it’s such an automatic process. The Eastern philosophies such as yoga and Tai Chi have always taught that it is a key component of health. We have never been taught to address it but with the Oxygen Advantage® programme you will learn the science and the practice from a fully qualified instructor.

References
Kiesel, P.T. et al (2017) Development of a screening protocol to identify individuals with dysfunctional breathing. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 12(51), DOI: 10.16603/ijspt20170774 

Djupesland, P.G. et al. (1999) Nitric oxide in the nose and paranasal sinuses – respiratory tract physiology in a new perspective; Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 119(27); pp.4070-4072.

Bryan NS, et al. (2017) Oral microbiome and nitric oxide: the missing link in the management of blood Pressure. Current Hypertension Reports:19(4):33.

Stephan BCM, et al. (2017) Cardiovascular disease, the nitric oxide pathway and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia; Current Cardiology Reports: 11;19(9):87.
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