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Strengthen Your Immune System With Your Breathing

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For immune strengthening, we usually focus on eating well, exercising and specific supplementation, but let’s consider your breathing too. This is an excellent way to strengthen your immune system.

A study from 2005 discussed the potential for Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama breathing processes (think yoga), forms of rhythmic breathing, in immune system improvements and stress reduction.

What’s interesting is that cancer patients were the subject of the study and the results showed that performing regular breathing exercises could help boost immune cells that can combat cancer progressions.

The study looked at what’s called natural killer (NK) cells (a type of cell critical to the body’s immune system) and found that controlled rhythmic breathing increased NK cells over a 3 to 6-month period.

Controlled breathing has a positive effect on the body by: 

  • Lowering cortisol levels
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving autonomic (the automatic system in our body that works behind the scene) response to physical and mental stress
  • Improving arterial blood flow

Spend just 10 minutes a day doing the following:

   1. Sit tall while either cross legged or in a comfortable chair that supports your back. Avoid slouching or curving your back.

   2. Slowly breathe in through your nose until your lungs are full. Hold for a moment.

   3. Slowly exhale through your nose with your throat as open as possible.

   4. Repeat steps two and three until the 10 minutes are up.

Ideally, you’ll inhale for ten seconds, hold for three, and then exhale for ten seconds. This is hard and takes practice. Start with a pace you can maintain for the full 10 minutes, even if it’s three seconds in and out. The goal is to have your inhale and exhale periods be equal in length. 

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