The Practice of Nose Breathing Techniques

Oct 6, 2021 | Inhale l Exhale

The practice of nose breathing techniques helps your body in many ways. Breathing in through the nose humidifies and cleanses the air while breathing out through the mouth dries out your nasal passages. Nose breathing also slows down our heart rate, creates a sense of calmness, and helps to decrease stress levels. But, what is nose breathing all about, and how can you benefit from it? 

What is Nose Breathing?

Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth is called nose breathing. It allows you to take deeper breaths using your lower lungs. When your lower lungs are active, it pumps out more oxygen that’s distributed all over your body. And when your body has enough oxygen, the healthier your tissue cells and organs are. It is also why nose breathing is practiced, and with the proper practice of nose breathing techniques, you too can benefit from it. 

Benefits of Nose Breathing Techniques

The act of nose breathing is an essential practice for those looking to improve their health in the short and long term [1]. Let us take a look at five things that you may not have known about this all-natural remedy!

1. Help protect the lungs and airways

As we breathe, the air that enters our nose is warmed and humidified before it enters the respiratory tract. It ensures that the air we breathe does not damage our lungs and other organs in the body. What it does is “prime” the air we inhale. Breathing dry, cold air through the mouth can irritate the lungs and airways. It could lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. It is challenging for people with asthma, bronchitis, or COPD, which is why breathing through the nose is the most practical thing to do when you have these conditions. 

2. Improves oxygen quality

Breathing through the nose instead of the mouth can offer immediate and long-term benefits. One of them is improving the quality of oxygen you breathe. The nasal hairs help keep air bacteria away from sensitive lungs. They also produce nitric oxide that helps in opening tight airways resulting in maximum oxygen intake. 

3. Help improve your athletic and cognitive performance

A lesser-known benefit of nose breathing is that it increases the production of nitric oxide. This vasodilator helps expand blood vessels and improve circulation. It can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, strengthen the brain, and exercise performance. It also helps with other health-related issues that are associated with blood flow. 

4. Decreases levels of anxiety and stress

You probably heard your doctor advise you to breathe through your nose or nose breathing techniques whenever you feel anxious. That’s because it helps calm the mind and fight off feelings of anxiety. When we are stressed, our breaths become rapid and shallow, leading to hyperventilating. Breathing through your nose helps us feel better as it calms down the body’s flight-or-fight response mode that speeds up our breathing as part of managing stress. 

5. Help you sleep better

Breathing through your nose can help you sleep better. That’s why doctors recommend that those who have trouble sleeping try breathing through their noses rather than mouth. It is because nose breathing focuses on the airflow directly on the sinus area, leading to a higher quality of breath and relief from snoring or congestion.

You also avoid dry mouth and sore throat while waking up refreshed. Overall, nasal breathing helps people who are struggling with sleep disorders. 

Nose Breathing Techniques You Can Try

If you are someone who struggles with sleep disorders, try practicing nasal breathing [2]. Not only will it improve your sleep, but it will also improve the way your lungs function, reduce stress/anxiety, and increase the strength of your respiratory muscles. Here are easy breathing techniques that you can do:

a. Alternating Nostril Breathing

Breathing alternatively in your nostrils is commonly practiced in yoga as well as mindfulness meditation. This method is pretty simple, but it does require you to stay focused. 

To do this, you must seat yourself in a straight position with your back tall or upright. 

Relax your shoulders and place your left hand on your left knee. You then press your right thumb into your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostrils and hold your breath. You then move your right thumb towards your left nostril, exhaling through the right, and then inhale through your right nostril after. Repeat this exercise as you alternate your thumb on your nostrils. 

b. Belly breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing

This technique is also known as abdominal breathing.  To do this, you must take slow, deep breaths through your nose. The goal is to take a deep breath enough to fill your belly with air to slow down your breathing and heart rate. What you need to do is sit up straight and tall, with shoulders relaxed. You can also do this while lying down in bed, on a yoga mat, or anywhere comfortable. Close your mouth and place one hand on your chest and one in your abdominal area. Inhale through your nose, let your belly be filled with air while your chest stays still. Purse your lips and slowly exhale; repeat this exercise for the next 5 to 10 minutes. 

Bonus Technique:

Breath of Fire 

It is a breathing technique used to help improve respiratory function and concentration; however, it takes time to learn. It begins by sitting up straight with shoulders relaxed. Place both hands in your stomach with palms facing upward. Close your mouth as you take a deep breath through your nose as your belly fills with air. Quickly exhale through your nose with force – this allows your stomach to move back into its first form. Do not stop this cycle; find a good rhythm with your breathing. Once you have achieved a rhythm that works for you, increase the intensity of your breathing and once you find a rhythm, increase the speed and repeat this for 30 seconds. 

Why is Nose Breathing Important? 

As we conclude, the question now is, is the practice of nose breathing techniques helpful? YES. It helps keep the air in our lungs clean and fresh. It also cleans up mucus, dust particles, bacteria, or viruses that may be present in our nasal passage when we breathe through our nose instead of simply inhaling through the mouth as most people do.

Practicing the mentioned breathing exercises above helps maintain healthy lungs and our general well-being. In case these exercises don’t improve your breathing, best to visit your physician immediately.