Basic Health Habit No.7: Sweating, Steam Baths, and the Positive Effects of Negative Ions

Sweating is as essential to our health as eating and breathing. Sweating helps to regulate our critical body temperature, cleanses the skin and helps to rid our body of waste and toxic material. 

Death by accumulated poisons occurs in a matter of hours if sweat gland activity is blocked. Properly cared for skin is better able to resist infection, protect our body, and regulate body temperature.

Sweating is a basic health habit.

The skin is our largest organ and is often called the third kidney because of its important role in elimination. It is more complex than the kidneys or any other organ, except the brain.

Antiperspirants, artificial environments, pollution, inactivity, diet, stress, synthetic clothing, and poor skin hygiene to remove dirt, dead skin, oil, and sweat secretions, affect skin health, and the healthy function of sweating.

Water loss is always accompanied by electrolyte loss. Both are critical for proper hydration. For helpful information please visit: HEALTH COACH Hydration: Water, Electrolytes, and the Ionic Pump

Sweat contains mostly water derived from blood plasma along with electrolytes and urea and may also contain lactic acid and other wastes and toxic material. As well as regulating body temperature and excretion, sweating gives us protection from environmental hazards by diluting harmful chemicals and discouraging the growth of infectious microorganisms. 

Sweat is odourless. It is the contact with bacteria which causes odour and this is influenced by Basic Health Habits, including hygiene, and diet; medications; health complications, and gender.

Excessive sweating, called hyperhidrosis, can be affected by poor Basic Health Habitssystemic illness, medications, infection, fever, stress, high emotional states, poor physical fitness, hot climate, hot internal environments, alcohol, diabetes, insulin, synthetic chemicals, refined sugar, hormonal imbalance, unhealthy menopause, lymphoma, thyroid disease, nervous system or hypothalamic disorders, Parkinson's disease, adrenal or pituitary tumours, tuberculosis, or drug withdrawal.

SEM (Scanning Electron Micrograph) 
of a human sweat pore, 
opening onto the surface of human skin

The Skin and Sweat Glands

Our skin is an anatomical barrier that protects us from pathogens and damage. It is an ecosystem of cells which are a part of our adaptive immune system and a balance of millions of bacterial floral microorganisms needed for health. It contains cells for pigmentation, blood and lymph vessels, hair follicles, sebaceous oil glands and tubular coiled sweat glands. It has a variety of nerve endings  which react to heat and cold, touch, pressure and injury. 

Skin is an important part of temperature regulation with a blood supply that allows precise control of energy loss by radiation, convection and conduction. Our skin is a semipermeable barrier and controls the evaporation of fluid. Loss of this function contributes to massive fluid loss, such as in the case of severe burns. 

Our skin is also water resistant and acts as a barrier so that essential nutrients aren't washed out of the body.  It is an important storage area for lipids and water and for the synthesis of vitamin D. Aesthetically, others see our skin and assess our mood, physical state and attractiveness.

click to expand

Is the outer layer of skin and does not contain blood vessels but is nourished by capillaries in the upper layers of the dermis. Layers (strata) of cells are formed and move up the strata, changing shape and composition, a process that takes weeks to occur. The epidermis has 25 - 30 layers of dead skin.

Lies beneath the epidermis and consists of connective tissue that supports and cushions the body from stress and strain. It has a rich supply of blood and lymphatic vessels, nerve endings, hair follicles and sweat and oil glands. It is here that a pattern of ridges forms finger prints that make us genetically unique and this is where tattoo ink is held and stretch marks form. Collagen, elastin and protein fibers give strength, extensibility and elastic integrity to our skin. The hyperdermis is the subcutaneous tissue that attaches the skin to muscle and bone and contains 50% of the body's fat.

Sweat Glands
We have two types of sweat glands located in the dermal layer of the skin. Apocrine sweat glands  are more superficial (closer to the surface), respond to emotional stimulus and are located in the groin and around the nipples and secrete into hair follicles. Apocrine sweat gland activity starts at puberty and contains pheromones which are chemicals that respond to and communicate information to other individuals. These glands are controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System and by circulating hormones.

Merocrine, also known as Eccrine sweat glands, are more numerous, smaller and more widespread than apocrine sweat glands. We have 2.6-3 million eccrine sweat glands and they do not extend as far into the dermis as the apocrine glands and they discharge directly onto the surface of the skin through pores. We have the highest number on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet to cause friction and to give us grip. Body heat stimulates the part of the brain called the hypothalamus which controls body temperature and is located above the brain stem. The hypothalamus connects the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland and neural and hormonal responses stimulate eccrine sweat gland activity.

Steam Baths and the Positive Effects of Negative Ions

Unlike the Finnish dry sauna which is 140-212 degrees fahrenheit, the Islamic Hammam is 110-116 degrees fahrenheit with 100%, steam-generated humidity. In the steam bath, heat sensitive nerve endings produce acetylcholine, a chemical which alerts the 3 million sweat glands to respond to the heat. In 15 minutes in a steam bath the body sweats a litre of water and can perform the same amount of heavy metal (copper, lead, zinc, mercury) excretion that would take the kidneys 24 working hours. Excessive salts are excreted as well, helping hypertension. Urea, a metabolic by-product which can cause headaches and nausea, arthritis and inflammation, is excreted along with sweat. 

The steam bath helps to relax muscle tension and ease restricted, painful joints. Insensible perspiration originating internally, works its way through cells and blood to the surface. Capillaries dilate in the heat of the steam bath, permitting increased blood flow to the skin, and the heart rate increases with the additional demand for blood. The liver, kidneys, stomach, muscles, brain, and most other organs are flushed of impurities with increased fluid flow and an increase in metabolic rate. 

The steam bath can be used to supplement the function of dialysis. The rapid flexing of the heart and blood vessels is a form of healthy exercise and increased capillary volume keeps blood pressure normal and even reduces it in those suffering from high blood pressure. Damaged cells repair faster due to increased metabolic rate and recovery from illness comes easier and quicker. A well-tuned body is more resistant to colds, flus, disease and infection. Oxygen needs and supply increase by 20% and the lungs, another eliminator of body wastes join the quickened pace of the body. The steam bath is beneficial for respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis.

An internal temperature rise affects endocrine glands, particularly the pituitary whose hormones regulate metabolism, and the activity of other glands such as the thyroid, adrenal, ovaries and testes. Heat accelerates pituitary activity and affects hormone interplay.

Raising the body temperature 1 degree above the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees F (37 degrees C) creates a hostile environment for bacteria and viruses. In the steam bath the surface temperature of skin rises as much as 10 degrees C and the internal body temperature increases 3 degrees C. This is the artificial fever state that Hippocrates wrote about as being beneficial for disease-free good health.

Because the mammary gland is a modified sweat gland, it is believed that the sauna and steam bath helps in the production of milk.

Hyperthermic conditioning of the body to heat stress through sauna and steam bath use has also been shown to promote neurogenesis, along with increased physical endurance, and muscle mass.

Combined with special olive oil and herbal soaps and herbal mud treatments, the brushing, massaging and stretching that is a part of the Hammam ritual as well as the sweating in the steam bath are all especially beneficial for skin; removing dead skin that can clog pores and oil gland passages, improving circulation and rejuvenating the skin. Sweating in the steam bath can help to keep you cool in hot climates but don't forget to rehydrate and to replenish lost electrolytes!

From ancient times the Steam bath has always been an important social aspect of the community. The Greek Laconicum was always adjacent to the gymnasium and sports arena and also provided a forum for contemplative discourse amongst intellectuals and politicians and were as ubiquitous as movie theatres and gas stations are today. The Roman baths also named Thermae and Balneums often housed places to rest, as well as libraries and restaurants. 

By Islamic law, every city had to have their proper proportion of Hammams as well as a bakery, mosque, madersa or school, and water fountains. The Hammam offered the rare occasion for women to socialize. 

The Canadian First Nations' sweat lodge is an important part of their spiritual rituals, personal development and creation stories.

The steam bath helps to create a healthy relationship with our own bodies, and with other people. 

The Positive Effects of Negative Ions

The presence of negative ions plays a key role in body function and consequently how we feel. Molecules have negative and positive electrical charges. Ionization occurs when energy acts on a molecule which then discharges an electron (negative charge), the molecule with the lost electron then becomes a positive ion. The circulating electron then attaches to another molecule making it a negative ion. Plants create negative ions during photosynthesis and they are also created by fire, crashing water (waterfalls, surf), and in the release of steam in a steam bath or when water is thrown onto a heat source in a sauna.

Too many positive ions in the air that we breathe cause anxiety, fatigue and tension, such as in artificially heated and cooled indoor environments, by weather disturbances, air pollution or when driving too long in the confines of a car. Positive ion poisoning has been linked to heart attacks, aggravated asthma, migraine headaches, insomnia, rheumatism, arthritis, hay fever and to most allergies.

Negative ion therapy is used to treat burn victims to help prevent infection and to increase healing; cure respiratory diseases, rid the body of general infection, and to discourage the spread of cancer.

A Story with a Happy Ending 

When I was in my mid to late thirties, it was a terribly stressful time of turmoil and as a result, hormonal upheaval. I tried everything to get myself back in balance. Lifestyle change and reduction of stress. I educated myself about hormonal health. I spent time in nature. Medication and synthetic hormones aggravated the condition. Dietary changes and many different types and intensities of exercise and natural hormone replacement were more effective. Personal growth and perspective. Staring fear in the face and taking responsibility for myself were smart developments.

But the thing that really pushed me around the corner to recovery from such a great imbalance in my health was Hot Bikram Yoga. It was the benefits of sweating that literally saved my life and put my body functions back in working order. It would also be my primary choice of remedy for peri-menopausal difficulties or any illness. So impressed was my Physician with my miraculous recovery that she went on to recommend Hot Yoga to all her female patients suffering from hormonal imbalances.


Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores with powerful astringents such as aluminum salts so that they can't release sweat. (Note that aluminum can accumulate in the brain.) Deodorants work by neutralizing the smell of the sweat and by antiseptic action against bacteria.

Heat rash is caused by exposure to extreme heat and humidity and sweat being trapped beneath the skin where small blisters form on the neck, upper chest, groin, elbow crease and under breasts. Excessive sweating, poor health, age (elderly-impaired sweat glands, children 0-4-undeveloped sweat glands), dehydration, alcohol use, certain medications and skin health can be factors that contribute to heat rash There is an increased risk of heat exhaustion due to the blockage of sweat. Heat rash is best treated with a cool, dry environment and avoiding smothering with creams or lotions.   

Essential nutrients are nutrients that the body cannot synthesize by itself but is dependent on our diet to supply.

Vitamin A-beta-carotene, B complex, C, D, E and Selenium, Zinc and Silica for the growth and repair of tissue are essential for skin health and help prevent skin cancer. Cysteine and Methionine are sulphur-containing essential amino acids, and antioxidants, facilitating the removal of heavy metals from the body. Lipoic acid, a heavy metal chelator, and Conenzyme Q10 are needed for normal cell function and are antioxidants. A natural whole food diet will supply these nutrients in abundance. For More Information: Health Coach Nutrition Part 1-3

New advances in Nano medicine, using the skin for medical applications, use nano diamonds for UV radiation protection, and tape stripping, abrasion, chemical enhancement, and electroporation involving high voltage electrical impulses to achieve increased permeability of the skin for transdermal drug delivery.

Sunblock is opaque and stronger than sunscreen and is able to block the majority of UVA/ UVB rays and radiation from sunlight. The active ingredients are primarily titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Sunscreen is transparent and breaks down at a faster rate than sunblock once it is exposed to sunlight and requires reapplication and a higher SPF. It protects from most UVA/ UVB rays but some radiation can penetrate through sunscreen.

McClintock Effect  Apocrine sweat gland secretions of women can alter the menstrual timing of other women.

LINK: click to read infograph

And now let's visit Morocco...


Maryam Montague

Peacock Pavilions   
Marrakesh, Morocco

Maryam: Thanks so much for asking me to be a part of your series. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been critical to my wellbeing! Now onto your questions... 

1. Health Coach would like to know if your lifestyle there in Morocco is different than your lifestyle in North America was? Would you tell us a bit about what those differences are? In your opinion, is the Moroccan lifestyle healthier? Now, I know that your life is very busy and demanding because you are a very happening woman, but is the stress different in any way?

I think Moroccans have a very different approach to living than North Americans do. Time has a different quality and there is less feeling of urgency (and demands for efficiency). In general, I find that people tend to work less (although sometimes over 6 days rather than 5 days), spending more time shopping for food (daily trips to the Souk for fresh ingredients) and cooking and spend more time relaxing. I also think that there is less of a focus on making money. So from that point of view, I would say that it is a healthier lifestyle than in North America. However, the notion of exercise is not at all prevalent in Morocco. Additionally, people tend to eat too much bread (white flour) and sugar, overcook their vegetables and use too much oil in preparing meals.

Peacock Pavilions Dining Tent

2. Health Coach knows that you are seriously devoted to a healthy lifestyle. Please describe the details of your healthy lifestyle.

I am committed to a healthy lifestyle  to feel better, get more out of life and to have energy to do all the many tasks that I try to accomplish. Exercise is very essential to my routine. I have a kick boxing coach who comes to workout with me at my home 2-3 times a week for a total of 4.5 hours. He is the former champion of Morocco and really puts me through my paces, with a focus on a whole body workout of cardio, strengthening and flexibility. We have  an outdoor gym at Peacock Pavilions and I love working out in nature - feel that it is much better for the spirit. Additionally, we have a running path around our property that is exactly 1/2 mile.

Peacock Pavilions

I am also concerned about the food I eat. I am a non-insulin dependent diabetic and so diet is key. In general I watch my sugar intake, eat little or no processed foods and eat little white flour. We buy our produce fresh, local and often and eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits. We use herbs from our own garden and we use our own olive oil from our own olive grove. I also strive to maintain an ideal weight - I am 5 feet 6 and about 118 lbs.

3. Do you have an Hammam there at Peacock Pavilions? Do you use the Hammam?

We don't have a hammam at Peacock Pavilions but it is one of our goals. I personally use a hammam very regularly and consider it an important part of my routine. I go to a private hammam 1-2 times a month to sweat out toxins, cleanse my body and have my skin exfoliated by a scrubber. I normally have essential oils in the hammam, particularily eucalyptus to cleanse my sinuses. After the hammam, I use argan oil to nourish my skin.

4. Is the Hammam still an integral part of life in Morocco?

Very integral. Traditionally Moroccans go to the hammam once a week and there are hammams everywhere. Most hammams have 3 rooms, moving from coolest to hottest. Hammams also serve an important social function, particularly for women. It's also a place to use natural beauty products especially savon beldi (black soap) made from olives.

Peacock Pavilions

5. Health Coach can just imagine the heat there in Morocco and hopes that you are hydrating your body and getting the proper balance of electrolytes. Are there particular ways in which Moroccans take care of the special need for hydration in their hot, dry climate?

Moroccans tend to drink an enormous amount of mint tea, made with fresh mint, sugar and tea pellets. It's the key to their keeping hydrated and of course it is also lovely to look at, smell and taste!

Thank you, Maryam, for sharing your experiences at Peacock Pavilions with the visitors, here at HEALTH COACH. We have a live link to your blog, My Marrakesh, and we will continue to visit you and hopefully see you one day soon.

Thank you!
Warm wishes,

 Peacock Pavilions

Peacock Pavilions
My Marrakesh
Photo credits:,  The Alkaline Sisters,  Decor8,
Katie O'Shaughnessy, Maryam Montague 

Sweat Mikkel Aaland  
Sauna Studies The Sauna Society of Finland 1977  
Steam Bath Reinhard Bergel

Please visit: 

Yoga Retreat 
at Peacock Pavilions


Basic Health Habit No.5: Breathing

Life is about breathing. The rest is detail.

Breathing is a bridge between the body and the mind. It is a master switch for tuning the body. Oxygen is the quintessential nutrient that we need for living and to be healthy. One fifth or 20% of the air that we breathe contains oxygen. There are 400 million cycles of breathing in a sedentary lifetime. 

Breathing is an involuntary and robust body function occurring spontaneously and without conscious attention even while we sleep, are under the influence of an anaesthetic, or if we are in a coma. It is also a voluntary body function that we can control to speak, sing or to play an instrument and train to improve our physical stamina and performance and for a cascade effect of health benefits.

Breathing is a basic health habit.

The quantity and quality of oxygen depends on how we breathe and the quality of the air we take in. Poor posture, tight clothing, pollution, stress, poor basic health habits, lack of proper breathing method, muscles which lack flexibility or tone and inactivity affect how we breathe. When we are angry or stressed we tend to inhale and hold our breath which causes our muscles to tense and leads to an increase in pain. The deficiency of oxygen contributes to many physical ailments.

Breathe Your Way to Health

Breathing allows our cells to be saturated with oxygen and expels wastes and toxins; one of the main ways our body eliminates toxins. Oxygen is necessary for cellular respiration: the biochemical process by which a cell converts nutrients into energy involving the oxidation of glucose to carbon dioxide and water; and the dysfunction of cellular respiration is the known cause of cancer and many other diseases. Oxygen aids in the building and repair of tissues. It reduces pain and helps the health of all of our tissues and joints. It also relieves fatigue and boosts our energy. Oxygen helps to improve blood sugar levels and to balance hormones. Breathing helps the movement of lymph, stimulates digestion and metabolism, abdominal organ function and helps to manage weight. Breathing is like an internal massage for your body.  

Deep, slow, full breathing is your Number One stress reducer ; no relaxation method works without it. It is a stress-relieving tool that you have with you always to use anywhere, anytime. Breathing affects our Autonomic Nervous System also known as the Visceral Nervous System, which primarily controls our heart and respiratory rate and our digestion. When we breathe deeply, our heart rate slows, blood pressure is reduced, yet blood circulation to the extremities improves. Slow breathing engages the Parasympathetic Nervous System and quiets the Sympathetic Nervous System. The sympathetic system is designed for quick reactions; is an accelerator and is part of our fight or flight instincts while the parasympathetic system is the part of our nervous system designed to rest and digest; it acts like a brake. The body relaxes and emotions are calmed and eased as a result. Deep breathing activates the Vagus nerve (the primary cranial nerve), which is associated with a recuperative, healing state and increases Alpha brain waves which creates a relaxed but alert state of mind. 

The Mechanics of Breathing 
The Exchange of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide, Pulmonary and Systemic Circulation, and the Muscles of Respiration


The lungs are paired, lobed structures like balloons, surrounded, supported and held in place by two layers of pleura (connective tissue) within our chest walls. 

The pleura fluid between these connective layers and the lungs lubricates and allows the lungs to move freely as they inflate and deflate. 

Breathing is a physical process involving the exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitric oxide. When we breathe in through our nose the air is filtered and warmed before passing into the trachea which sits in front of the esophagus. 

From the trachea the air then passes into the branches of our bronchial tubes (bronchi) and then into the finer branches of bronchioles and finally into terminal sacs called alveoli where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide actually occurs. 

The lungs are a moist environment and have a healthy system of lymph nodes to protect them from bacteria which would otherwise thrive in such a moist environment. Pneumonia is inflammation of the lungs, pleurisy is inflammation of the pleural lining while bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchioles.

Oxygen-depleted blood from the body leaves the systemic circulation and enters the right atrium of the heart and into the right ventricle into the left and right pulmonary arteries (one for each lung) and travels through the lungs where carbon dioxide is released. 

Oxygen is picked up during respiration by the pulmonary veins and returns to the left atrium of the heart and then into the left ventricle. The oxygenated blood is then distributed to the body through the systemic circulation system. 

Systemic Circulation:
blue arteries with oxygen depleted blood, 
red veins with oxygen-rich blood

Muscles of Respiration
The Diaphragm is the primary muscle of breathing. It is a huge muscle that looks like an opened parachute and rests horizontally across the base of the rib cage, connected in the front along the sides of your lower ribs and also along the back.

On inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and flattens, pulls downwards, pulling the lungs down to bring in air while the ribs flare outwards. 

On exhalation, the diaphragm relaxes and air is released from the lungs.  With deep diaphragmatic breathing, the space below the sternum (breast bone) pushes in slightly to exhale more completely.

We cannot isolate or control the movement of the diaphragm directly. The abdomen is the handle that allows you to indirectly affect the diaphragm.

click to expand 
The external and internal intercostal muscles are the weaker muscles of respiration. They bridge each adjacent pair of ribs externally and internally. The internal intercostals pull the ribcage down and inward when they contract and the external intercostals expand and lift the ribcage outward when they contract. They are aided by muscles in the front and back when breathing.

Operating far below the level of our conscious minds, the vagus nerve is vital for keeping our bodies healthy. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed fight-or-flight adrenaline response to danger. Not all vagus nerves are the same, however: some people have stronger vagus activity, which means their bodies can relax faster after a stress.

The strength of your vagus response is known as your vagal tone and it can be determined by using an electrocardiogram to measure heart rate. Every time you breathe in, your heart beats faster in order to speed the flow of oxygenated blood around your body. Breathe out and your heart rate slows. This variability is one of many things regulated by the vagus nerve, which is active when you breathe out but suppressed when you breathe in, so the bigger your difference in heart rate when breathing in and out, the higher your vagal tone. 
Research shows that a high vagal tone makes your body better at regulating blood glucose levels, reducing the likelihood of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Low vagal tone, however, has been associated with chronic inflammation. As part of the immune system, inflammation has a useful role helping the body to heal after an injury, for example, but it can damage organs and blood vessels if it persists when it is not needed. One of the vagus nerve’s jobs is to reset the immune system and switch off production of proteins that fuel inflammation. Low vagal tone means this regulation is less effective and inflammation can become excessive. Hacking the nervous system

Practical Guide

  • Your nose is connected directly to your lungs, your mouth is not. When you breathe in through your nose, the air is filtered and warmed before passing into the trachea, which sits in front of the esophagus.
  • Your mouth is connected directly to your digestive system, and when you mouth breathe, you are taking in unfiltered, contaminated air directly into the digestive system. The mouth is for eating and talking.
  • Shallow breathing is faster and increases heart rate and blood pressure. Inhaling through the mouth increases shallow breathing and overstimulates the sympathetic nervous system. Air breathed in through the mouth goes to the digestive system and can contribute to indigestion and oxygen depletion.
  • We use only a third of our lung capacity on average.
  • Aerobic conditioning is not possible with mouth breathing.
  • Focus on your breathing. Just breathe freely. Take a moment to enjoy breathing comfortably.
  • Inhale through your nose. Exhale through your nose. This is the most efficient way to get oxygen to the lungs and, equally important, carbon dioxide out.
        • The average breathing rate is 15-18 inhalations - exhalations per minute.
        • 10 inhalations - exhalations or lower per minute is the rate for deep breathing.
        • You don't have to count your breaths. 
        • Natural, unforced deep breathing requires conditioning to create the flexibility and strength of respiratory muscles.
        • Get physically active. 
        • The breathing style used in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is Ujjayi which is a relaxed diaphragmatic style of breathing, characterized by an ocean sound which resonates in the back of the practitioner's throat in the vocal diaphragm. This style of glottal breathing, rather than nasal breathing, gives control of the length of inhalation, and exhalation. 
        • Throughout a practice, this specific breathing style is maintained in alignment with movements. The steady cycle of inhales and exhales provides the practitioner with a calming, mental focal point. Additionally, Viṅyāsa and Ujjayi together create internal heat, which leads to purification of the body through increased circulation and sweating. 
        • Aerobic conditioning is only possible with nose breathing.
        • Ribcage movement occurs in three dimensions: front to back, side to side, and top to bottom. Muscle tightness and congestion around the ribcage will hinder this movement.
        • Have an abdominal massage, including the diaphragm and the muscles around the ribcage to increase circulation, ease congestion, muscle tension, and fascial restrictions.
        • Your sacrum nutates (a forward and backward, nodding motion) when you breathe. If you have a sacral iliac restriction this will affect your breathing. 
        • Landmark times in your day to be aware of your breathing: before you get out of bed in the morning, while sitting in morning traffic, waiting in a line, when you feel bored or when time is passing slowly, when the phone rings, when you are experiencing pain, fatigue or stress and before you go to sleep at night.
        • Try breathing in one nostril and out the other: cover the left nostril with your finger, inhale through right nostril, then cover the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Reverse.
        • Try focusing on inhaling and exhaling equally with both nostrils.
        • Try focusing on how the air feels as it  passes under your nose during inhalation and exhalation. 
        Try this breathing exercise: 
        1. Inhale deeply. 
        2. Exhale with a short burst which activates the diaphragm. 
        3. Exhale with a long, slow finish to empty your lungs. Breathlessness comes from not expelling enough carbon dioxide.  
        4. There is a natural pause after exhalation.
        5. Inhale and fill your lungs from the bottom to the top. We use only a third of our lung capacity on average. 
        6. Hold this inhalation to allow the oxygen to saturate cells. Exhale slowly and fully. Repeat steps 4-6 for 5 minutes.
        • 60-80 heart beats per minute (bpm) is a healthy resting heart rate. Deep breathing increases the heart rate variability which can be lost with poor health, age and inactivity. A person who is physically active on a regular basis often will have an average resting heart rate of 50 bpm. Athletes can have a resting heart rate of 25-35 bpm. 
        • iphone app for measuring heart rate: Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). 
        • Get the app: Breath Pacer to measure breathing rate
        • Get an air filter and ionizer for your home - office - bedroom - exercise room
        • Try a Neti Pot: a natural remedy for clearing the congestion of Sinusitis
        • Visit Breathing Earth to look at a live play of the population and our CO2 emissions on the planet
        • Diaphragmatic breathing which is the proper breathing technique for meditation, and deeply relaxing for the Autonomic Nervous System and the mind, involves breathing with the upper abdomen; it does not involve the lower abdomen or movement of the chest.
        • Breathe into restricted or painful areas of your body by directing your attention and breath to that area. At the same time, visualize this area expanding with the increased air flow; the tightness easing; space being created; pain being erased.
        • Teaching your children about breathing is one of the most valuable gifts that you can give them. It will be a natural habit and an instinctive and effective response to stress and pain, unlike when we learn deep breathing as adults, first having to unlearn poor habits and condition ourselves to healthy habits. 
        • The secret to deep breathing is a full exhalation. This creates room naturally and comfortably for the next inhalation to be a little deeper, slower, and fuller, and makes deep breathing effortless. With regular practice, this develops the muscles of respiration.
        • Breathing is an effective response to stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and pain.

        One Breath. And Then Another.

        DO YOU KNOW?

        The Bohr Effect  is a physiological phenomenon involving haemoglobin's oxygen binding affinity and its inverse relationship both to acidity and to the concentration of carbon dioxide. An increase in blood CO2 concentration, which leads to a decrease in blood pH, will result in haemoglobin proteins releasing their load of oxygen. Conversely, a decrease in carbon dioxide provokes an increase in pH, which results in hemoglobin picking up more oxygen. Since carbon dioxide reacts with water to form carbonic acid, an increase in CO2 results in a decrease in blood pH

        The Bohr effect enables the body to adapt to changing conditions and makes it possible to supply extra oxygen to tissues that need it the most. For example, when muscles are undergoing strenuous activity, they require large amounts of oxygen to conduct cellular respiration, which generates CO2 (and therefore HCO3− and H+) as byproducts. These waste products lower the pH of the blood, which increases oxygen delivery to the active muscles. Carbon dioxide is not the only molecule that can trigger the Bohr effect. If muscle cells aren't receiving enough oxygen for cellular respiration, they resort to lactic acid fermentation, which releases lactic acid as a byproduct. This increases the acidity of the blood even more than CO2 alone, which reflects the cells' even greater need for oxygen. In fact, under anaerobic conditions, muscles generate lactic acid so quickly that pH of the blood passing through the muscles will drop to around 7.2, which causes haemoglobin to begin releasing 10% more oxygen.

        Kussmaul Breathing 
        Is deep, laboured breathing associated with severe metabolic acidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis and renal failure. First the breathing pattern is rapid and shallow and then becomes deep, slow, laboured and gasping.

        Eupnoea refers to breathing which is quiet and effortless.

        Circular Breathing 
        Is used by musicians of some wind instruments to produce a continuous tone without interruption by inhaling through the nose while simultaneously exhaling out of the mouth using air stored in the cheeks.  Circular breathing allows music that was composed before the 20th century for stringed instruments that often required this method of breathing, to be played on wind instruments. For example: Moto Perpetuo transcribed for trumpet by Rafael Méndez from the original violin work by Paganini. Saxophonist and Ohio native Sir Isaac Lacey holds the world record for continuous playing at 2 hours 13 minutes. Circular breathing is used to play the Australian Didgeridoo, the Sardinian Launeddas and the Egyptian Arghul.

        Ujjayi Breathing
        The breathing style used in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is Ujjayi which is a relaxed diaphragmatic style of breathing, characterized by an ocean sound which resonates in the back of the practitioner's throat in the vocal diaphragm. This style of glottal breathing, rather than nasal breathing, gives control of the length of inhalation and exhalation. 

        Throughout a practice, this specific breathing style is maintained in alignment with movements. The steady cycle of inhales and exhales provides the practitioner with a calming, mental focal point. In this way aerobic strength is developed as well. Additionally, viṅyāsa and Ujjayi together create internal heat, which leads to purification of the body through increased circulation and sweating.