Change Your Breath To Change YOUR Life: Transforming Mental, Emotional & Physical Well-Being

The Savoia Self-Care Method’s six crucial pillars for holistic well-being collectively form the foundation for optimal health and vitality.

  1. Mindset Mastery
  2. Conscious Breathwork
  3. Authentic Connection
  4. Metabolic Flexibility
  5. Sacred Sleep &
  6. Joyful Movement

Recognizing the interconnected nature of these pillars emphasizes the importance of thriving as you age, not just surviving.

Conscious Breatwork, is a fundamental aspect of life that holds the key to transformative changes in mental, emotional, and physical well-being. On the Self-Care Goddesses podcast episode #101, Nick Heath who is a writer, researcher, certified oxygen advantage coach, pranayama teacher and a member of the Global Wellness Breathe initiative, talks about his fascination with breathing principles and shares valuable information related to managing Type 1 Diabetes with breathwork. The conversation also explores how breath control is a powerful tool providing individuals with a sense of agency over their health and well-being.

Register here for the Believe & Breathe course and get on the waiting list.

The following information are just a few of the golden nuggets from my insightful conversation. Listen to the entire episode here.

Breathing and Type 1 Diabetes: A Scientific Perspective

Modern lifestyle has disrupted natural breathing patterns. Observing infants breathe provides a glimpse into what our breathing patterns should ideally resemble – rising bellies on inhales and falling on exhales, predominantly through nose breathing. Today’s lifestyle characterized by prolonged sitting, decreased physical activity, and extensive screen time, contributes to the deviation from this optimal pattern resulting in chronic stress levels.

As a diabetic himself, Nick explains the indirect yet profound impact of breath on stress reduction. The exact triggers resulting in Type 1 diabetes remain unknown, but it is established as an autoimmune disease. The immune system targets and destroys the beta cells responsible for insulin production in the pancreas, rendering individuals unable to produce insulin naturally. Stress triggers the sympathetic fight or flight nervous system, releasing cortisol, potentially increasing glucose release from the liver, reducing insulin sensitivity and elevating blood sugar. This stress impact is particularly pronounced in type one diabetes, evident in blood sugar readings. By adopting slow, controlled nasal breathing, at around 6 breaths per minute, individuals experience benefits influencing heart rate variability and Baroreflex sensitivity—indicators of cardiovascular and autonomic health. Breathwork also tackles oxidative stress and inflammation which are common concerns for those with diabetes. Beyond physiological impacts, breath control instils a sense of confidence and agency, offering a tool to navigate stress and setbacks. It becomes a mental anchor, reminding individuals that they have control over their well-being, even in the face of diabetes-related challenges.

Would you like to learn 5 Ways to Kick Start Your Self-Care Journey at Home? Listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #6.

Validating Ancient Wisdom with Modern Research

The landscape of breathwork is evolving, marked by a surge in scientific exploration and validation. While ancient practices stand testament to its efficacy, the contemporary scientific community is increasingly recognizing and publishing findings on the impact of breathwork, fostering deeper comprehension beyond a simple directive to “just do it.”

Here are 2 interesting research studies shared by Nick Heath:

  • The psychological impact of nasal breathing is striking. A study from 1996 demonstrated that simply switching from mouth to nose breathing resulted in a remarkable 10% increase in oxygen delivery to tissues. The role of nitric oxide in enhancing oxygen uptake through nasal breathing is significant particularly for individuals with conditions like diabetes, where tissue hypoxia is a major concern.
  • Equally fascinating is the intricate connection between breathing and emotions. A 2002 study revealed that altering breathing patterns could evoke specific emotions. Prescribing a particular breathing style unknowingly induced corresponding emotions in participants. This revelation offers a practical tool for managing emotions – an ability to change feelings by changing the breath.

Do you know How to Overcome YOUR Limiting Beliefs & Live a Life of Purpose? Listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #87.

3 Breathing Techniques for Mental Health

In response to post-COVID mental health challenges, Nick recommends laughter, slow breathing and time-controlled breath as effective techniques:

  1. Laughter, often overlooked as a breathing exercise, is emphasized for its numerous health benefits. When you laugh, your diaphragm engages, and the act of breathing becomes rhythmic. Integrating laughter into the daily routine is a potent and free form of medicine for overall health.
  2. Slow breathing a more conventional technique with a slightly longer exhale proves valuable for managing stress and promoting mental well-being. The sweet spot appears to be around 6 breaths per minute, though the range can extend from 4-7 breaths a minute.
  3. A specific technique involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 2 seconds, and exhaling for 6 seconds, or adjusting the timing to suit your comfort. The key is to focus on invoking the parasympathetic response, slowing down your physiological responses, reducing stress, and calming the nervous system.

What to Eat for Your Mental Health? Check out the top foods with the critical nutrients you need for improving your Mental Health here.

Mouth Breathing & Mouth Taping

Amongst the common mistakes people make in their breathing practices, mouth breathing tops the list!  In research publications, the negative implications of mouth breathing on facial development and structure are most dominant, particularly the crowding of teeth. Beyond facial changes, irregular or dysfunctional breathing associated with mouth breathing, can disrupt the body’s pH balance, affecting protein performance. Enzymes may not function optimally under such conditions, contributing to a cascade of physiological consequences. Additionally, the diuretic effect of mouth breathing is a potential cause for nighttime awakenings to use the bathroom impacting sleep quality. However, there are exceptions such as laughter and singing. These activities, due to their numerous benefits, are considered to outweigh any negative effects associated with mouth breathing. Acknowledging the potential benefits of mouth taping to overcome mouth breathing, especially in children, Nick emphasizes the importance of parental choice in deciding whether to introduce this practice to their child.

I invite you to read my interesting blog post “BREATHING For Healing”.

The Power of Breath Holds

In my podcast conversation we demystify the physiology behind breath holds, distinguishing between holding after an inhale and holding after an exhale. The discussion provides insights into why certain breath hold techniques are calming, while others are stimulating.

  • The 4-7-8 method is often practiced before sleep. It involves a pause after inhaling which accentuates the parasympathetic response, promoting a sense of calm. The key lies in the slight pause at the top of the inhale, followed by a controlled exhale, fostering a beneficial impact on the nervous system. Holding the breath after an exhale can be more stimulating and stressful, signalling the body’s need for oxygen. Recognizing these intricacies can guide individuals in tailoring their breathing practices for optimal benefits, with techniques like 4-4-6 or 4-7-8.

Nick suggests incorporating novelty into routines to prevent monotony and enhance the overall experience of breathwork. Here are 3 approaches to infuse freshness into your breathing practice:

  1. Consider cycling through various breathing techniques, introducing novelty every 30 days while maintaining the consistency of regular practice. This could involve incorporating elements like loving-kindness or visualization to diversify your routine.
  2. Instead of altering the technique itself, focus on cultivating mindfulness during each session. Embrace each breath as a unique experience, mirroring the profound mindfulness achieved by individuals engaged in extensive meditation.
  3. Infuse gratitude into your practice, especially on mornings when a sense of appreciation can transform the mundane routine into a cherished activity.

Whether you choose to switch techniques, deepen mindfulness, express gratitude, or combine all three, the key is to discover what resonates most with you to keep your breathing practice consistently invigorating.

I invite you to listen to the Self-Care Goddess podcast episode #83 titled “Create The Life You Want: Tips For Being The Artist Of Your Life”.

Take Home Message

Nick illuminates the profound impact of breath control on mental, emotional, and physical health. Laughter, slow breathing, and mindfulness act as a winning combination for promoting overall well-being. By finding joy in the practice, individuals can make breath control an integral part of their daily routine, adopting the habit stacking approach.

Not taking oneself too seriously and maintaining a light-hearted perspective enables us to navigate our passions earnestly while finding amusement in the nuances of our pursuits. From scientific explanations to practical advice, the podcast provides a comprehensive guide to unlocking the transformative potential of our breath. Similar to the rising popularity of yoga, mainstream acceptance of dedicated spaces as ‘breathwork studios’ is the new envisioned reality, accepting conscious breathwork as the first pillar for holistic wellness.

Listen to the full podcast episode #101 on the Self-Care Goddess Podcast.

Here are the self-care habits for this week. For past podcast guests check out my Instagram or Facebook page.

For free guided meditation videos and Breathwork demonstrations subscribe to my YouTube channel.

I look forward to connecting with you and learning more about your story and your health and wellness goals. Schedule a FREE introduction call here.