Shut Your Mouth! Live Longer
by Craig Moeller
A rude comment or a life-saving suggestion?
You will figure this out by reading the rest of the article.
A little bit about my journey. I am a Lutheran Pastor in Regina, SK. A couple of years ago I was suffering from anxiety, depression, cardiac arrhythmia, and sleep interruption. When I hit bottom, I decided to get back into Chi (Qi) Gong which I practiced a number of years earlier. Within weeks of doing Chi Gong, my depression began lifting. It was then that I began to explore what it was about this practice that helped me with my depression. Basically, what I learned is that it greatly influenced my breathing patterns. Further exploration took me to pranayama breath work with even greater improvement in my health. I knew then that the breath was key to good health. A few months after I began pranayama breathing I came across a book entitled Healing Asthma Naturally by Patrick McKeown. As I paged through the book, he made such bold claims about healing asthma and numerous other disorders that my cynical side almost put the book back on the shelf. I did read the book, which was largely based on the work of Dr. Konstantin Buteyko of Russia.
Dr. Buteyko was a medical doctor who made the observation that the sicker the person was, the deeper they were breathing. He suffered from migraines and high blood pressure and he noticed he had a similar pattern of mouth breathing and deep breathing. When he began nasal breathing and slowing his breath down, his symptoms vanished. Through his research, he discovered that many disorders—including asthma, migraines, depression, anxiety, hypertension, chronic fatigue, just to mention a few—were based in a person’s poor breathing patterns, that is mouth breathing, chest breathing, and deep breathing.
When doing the science behind this, he came across the Bohr Effect, discovered by Dr. Christian Bohr in the 1800s. What Dr. Bohr discovered was that as a person’s oxygen levels increased in the blood stream, carbon dioxide levels would drop. Carbon dioxide is essential in helping oxygen to release its bond with hemoglobin. Without a healthy level of CO2, oxygen cannot be released and this is the root cause of all of these disorders. The more an asthmatic breaths, the less oxygen gets released into their tissues, including the brain.
During his research, Dr. Buteyko found ways to get people to restore normal breathing patterns, raising their levels of CO2 and restore their bodies to healthy levels. The method he improvised is referred to as the Buteyko Breathing Method. It teaches people the importance of nasal breathing 24/7, the importance of switching from chest breathing to diaphragmal breathing, and how important exercise with nasal breathing is in restoring peoples’ health.
I took a class of the Buteyko Breathing Method in March, 2011, from Chris Bauman of Victoria, BC. She is the lead educator in North America. Within weeks, I had an even greater improvement to my health. The depression, anxiety, and arrhythmia vanished. I began sleeping through the night. My energy levels were higher than they ever were. I lost 16 pounds as my stamina for exercise tripled through nasal breathing. All of this at the age of 60.
So convinced was I of the efficacy of the Buteyko Breathing Method, that I wanted to take the courses needed to become a practitioner of it. Last November, Chris Bauman came to Regina to train me in this method and now I’m the only practitioner in Saskatchewan. There are about 30 in Canada.
I have been a pastor in the Lutheran church for 34 years and am continuing in that capacity, but on my own time I am holding classes for Buteyko Breath retraining. I’m trying to have one class a month which will run for five consecutive days. I refer you to my website to get more information: www.shutyourmouth.ca.
The classes take about an hour and a half to two hours. In it, we learn some of the basic science behind Buteyko. We also learn how different parts of our days will effect our breathing patterns, such as eating, sleeping, exercise, and medications. And clients learn exercises which will help restore their breath to healthy levels.
I recommend this program for anyone who has asthma, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, migraines, or sleeping problems. It is excellent for those who would like to enjoy better health and higher energy levels. It has helped to change my health and consequently has changed my life.
So in answer to that first query: Is “shut your mouth” a rude comment or a life-saving suggestion? I’ll let you decide.
Craig Moeller is a 61-year-old Lutheran Pastor living in Regina. He originates from Wisconsin and has been in Canada since 1978. He is married with two children and has been a pastor for 34 years. His interests include golf, exercise, chi gong, and hiking. He has been teaching Buteyko Breath Retraining for four months. You can contact him through his website www.shutyourmouth.ca or his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org.