Breathing is one of the few bodily functions which can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously.
The unconscious action of breathing is controlled in the brainstem, which automatically regulates the rate and depth of breathing depending on the body’s needs at any time. The conscious control of breathing is commonly practiced in meditation, yoga in form of pranayama, athletic disciplines in swimming and cardio exercise, as well as in speech and vocal training. In particular, diaphragmatic breathing is also used to play musical wind instruments; just as laughter, hiccups, yawns, and sneezes are breath phenomena.
The air composition breaks down to 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.96% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, helium, water, and other gases. Even though, the assumption is that we need a lot of oxygen, the body actually only needs 5%.
Breathing through the mouth can create several problems:
- A shrinking of the jaw -> resulting in crooked teeth -> having braces
- A lisp in children when they talk
- Sore throats, tonsillitis, and even ear infections because it bypasses the nasal filtration stages
- Respiratory problems that are misdiagnosed as asthma
Hyperventilating, increased breathing rate, creates physiological changes in the body, such as:
- Increasing appetite
- Creating a more acidic internal environment
- Decreased ability for high intensity exercise (with the mouth open)
During the night, we change sides in sleep naturally approximately every 30 minutes, which is due to the need to balance the breath through each nostril.