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Anatomically, the nose is an organ in the human body, specially designed for breathing. When we are born, we, only breath through our nose for several months until our respiratory tract is fully developed. Then, we, also breath through our mouth as when required in certain situations maybe during nasal blockage or in an anxious state or when in air hunger after a massive task. But, fundamentally, we are designed to breathe only through our nose, which is not just necessary but also very beneficial.
The importance of nasal breathing are :
1.Filtration: Nasal breathing causes the air to filter through the nasal passage by the cilia and mucus present so that the purified air goes to the lungs. The air gets filtered from the harmful air bourne particles and potential dangers of virus and bacteria before reaching the lungs.
2.Regulates the temperature of air: Nasal breathing can also regulate the air temperature, we breathe in before reaching the lungs. As soon as we breathe, if the air is cold, it gets warmed up before reaching the lungs. And the opposite can occur, we live in a hot climate.
3.Conditioning: Nasal breathing causes the air to humidify in the nasal cavity so that the inhaled air becomes moist and humid. And the oxygen can be easily absorbed by the tissues after reaching the lungs. The air gets conditioned with negative ions so that they can get attached to positively charged ion particles, neutralizes free radicals, enhance the immune system and balance the autonomic nervous system.
4.Reduces stress: Nasal breathing is deep and relaxing as it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes the muscles of the diaphragm and belly.
5. Efficient oxygen use: Nasal breathing optimizes the oxygen uptake by the lung tissues during inhalation as the breathing is deep and relaxing and expels the carbon dioxide during the exhalation. The ratio and balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide are efficiently maintained.
6. Probiotics: Our nose is a host of probiotic colonies which usually attack the invading bacteria, viruses and fungi before they can enter the rest of the respiratory passage and lungs.
7.Nitric Oxide: When we breathe through the nose, it creates Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator. So, when present in the inhaled air, Nitric oxide reaches the body tissues causes increase blood flow to the organs and lower the blood pressure.
8.Promotes oral hygiene: Nasal breathing does not interfere with the normal functioning of the oral cavity. When there is mouth breathing, the mouth gets dried up from the saliva which otherwise cleans up the oral cavity by washing away from bacteria, oral microbiome, maintain the hygiene of the teeth and gums. So, individual breathing through mouth suffers from dental issues and halitosis (bad breath).
So the benefits are tremendous with Nose breathing. Mouth breathing is devoid of these fantastic benefits as it is primarily not designed for breathing.
After a heavy workout or during running, or while sleeping like in Sleep apnoea, the body tries to compensate with mouth breathing to let out the excess blood carbon dioxide level which has gone up. Mouth breathing is shallow and fast, which stimulate the sympathetic system and causes more stress. Mouth breathing causes snoring while sleeping, so some people are advised clinically to use mouth tape to avoid it.
There are different techniques and exercises about how to clear out our nasal passage and facilitate this standard mechanism of nasal breathing. Some popular methods are the Buteyko method and the Yogic breathing, which is alternate nostril breathing or Pranayama.
A method of restoring nasal breathing by Patrick McKeown, of Buteyko clinic: