Originally published December 12 2007
Breathing and Its True Role in Our Life, Health and Longevity
by Richard Stossel
(NaturalNews) Have you ever wondered 'What is life'? What makes us alive or not alive? Those of us raised in the western world would say that it's the actions of our heart pumping blood, our breathing, our consciousness and so forth. But those are really the results of life, not life itself.
What is it that truly keeps us all alive? Is it the food we eat and the water we drink? Partially, for we can't live long without those substances of course. Is it the air we breathe? Well, your getting closer there, but still there is something more to it than just the oxygen and other gasses in the air. The true answer is Chi, or our life force.
In the west, where a purely mechanistic or mechanical view of the body easily dominates the explanations for everything that goes on in the body, the idea of chi, energy, bio-energy or life force is a bit off-the-wall to say the least. Western medicine takes the view starting from several hundred years ago that the human body is like a machine, mechanism or android and that nothing exists beyond what can be seen, measured and examined under a microscope with the five basic human senses, especially sight and touch. They also think that the body can't heal itself without their intervention, surgery and drugs. 'If we can't measure it and quantify it, it doesn't exist' so they think. They're sadly mistaken!
Life is not merely in the body, the food, water or air itself, but it is a component of bio-energy, which the Chinese call Chi or life force. This life force is in all living things on Earth. Without it, we would not be alive at all. It's this very life force, which is a combination of electric and magnetic energies and more that is keeping our heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and all other organs pumping and functioning through electrical signals received from the brain.
Where does this energy come from? We get some of it from the foods that we eat and the water we drink and what is generated in the mitochondria of each cell. These are what's called "post birth" sources since they come to us after we're born and keep us alive outside the womb. Air is also another post birth source but is greater in importance. After all, we can live for weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breath. This tells us that breath and breathing is the element that's truly supplying our life force on a minute by minute basis. I hope your starting to see why breathing is so absolutely important in the body.
The famous Framingham study (which followed 5,200 individuals for three decades) demonstrated that the greatest predictor of health and longevity is actually lung volume. Those with higher lung capacity were healthier and lived longer than those with decreased lung capacity.
But let's go further than that. What is it in the air that's keeping us alive? Again, in the west, scientists and doctors would usually say it's the oxygen in the air that's keeping us alive since oxygen is required for combustion of materials, in the human body, this would be equivalent to digestion and the firing of the neurons and pumping of the heart. But there is something else in the air, something even more important than air itself, it's the Chi or bio-energy in the air that's keeping our bodies alive more so than any other single element or source.
The human body moves via the electrochemical production of energies that fuel the muscles and organs of the body. All chemical reactions in the body require energy to occur. This energy is in the form of electrical impulses generated by the body as mentioned. This electrical energy is the stimulus that causes chemical reactions in all the cells, functions and processes that occur in nature and especially the human body. This is why having an abundany supply of energy or chi is so vital to health, regeneration and longevity. In Chemistry, it's the electrons that jump from one atom to another creating different chemical compounds and reaction. This is where we get the world "elec-tricity" from, the movement of electrons in atoms.
Science now knows that there is much more in the air then just chemicals. The energy or chi that is in the air is known today as Ions. Ions are produced naturally by the actions of the sun, wind, waves, moving water and especially from trees, plants, shrubs and even plankton in the oceans and other green life which gives off large quantities of these vital ions including oxygen as well. Specifically, it's the negative ions that are so important to life and health. In large cities with lots of concrete and metal, these materials act like repulsors and push vital negative ions away from themselves and away from the people that need them too. The potential gradient or strength of this ionic field is virtually zero in cities and often indoors as well. But out in the country, it is often very strong, especially after a summer thunderstorm for example. In the city, there is only about one negative Ion for every five hundred positive ions. In the country, this ratio is reversed to about three negative ions per one positive ion, a huge difference as you can see.
When we practice deep breathing, we're taking in much more of these negative ions than we normally do. Since most of us lead sedentary lifestyles, we tend to breath very shallow, from only the upper third of the lungs. This is especially true when one is sitting for long periods of time. This slowly starves the body of much needed ionic energy or chi as well as oxygen. This has the immediate effect of making us feel sluggish, lethargic and tired. Over time, this can lead to much more serious problem such as premature aging, dry and wrinkly skin, other diseases including cancer; since cancer cells can't exist in an oxygenated environment, when we shallow breathe were starving the system of much needed oxygen and vital life energies that body needs to live.
Deep breathing suffuses our cells with great amounts of chi, or life force. Since our cells have an electromagnetic (EM) field, the more energy we take in, the stronger the EM field of those cells and the healthier and longer they're going to live. That EM field is the cell's protective energy shield. Along with the fatty-acid cell wall, this field knows what to let in and what not to let into the cell. How can it know this? It's really very simple but totally amazing, and sadly most have never heard this before.
I mentioned before that the ions that are good for us are negative ions. But viruses and bacteria that are bad for us have a positive ionic charge. There is something else that has a positive ionic charge -oxidants!. I'm sure you've heard of anti-oxidants before. The counter to those are oxidants which are substances that cause the oxidization of our cells, kind of like how metal oxidizes into rust. Oxidants and oxidant-causing foods do the exact same thing to our cells. The whole buzz about anti-oxidants was born out of that new understanding. Natural foods such as carrots, berries, and other fruits and veggies and raw foods are naturally high in anti-oxidant compounds. They're also high in Chi or negative ionic energy, as long as they're not messed with by man and overcooked.
A cell knows what to let in and out because it knows that those things which it needs are going to have a negative ionic charge and it allows them to pass through its shields. The substances that are not good for it, and you would want to keep out, have a positive ionic charge, especially the aforementioned viruses and bacteria. The stronger the cell's EM field is, through proper eating, proper levels of exercise (because too much can drain the EM field of our cells and bodies), and especially deep breathing and meditation, the greater the cell's defensive energy fields will be; and the more positive ions and compounds with positive ionic charges can be repulsed and kept out of our cells and removed from our bodies altogether.
This greatly aids in keeping our cells healthy, strong and allowing them to live for their preprogrammed maximum life span before dying when they should. This makes our bodies stronger and healthier since the entire body renews all cells every seven years. Many organs, such as the heart and liver, renew themselves much faster than that - every three to five months. This is how breathing and understanding what's really going on, beyond the mechanical aspects of our bodies' function, can greatly increase our understanding of health and healing, longevity, even happiness, and allow us to live longer, healthier and happier lives on all levels.
A simple exercise that can be performed is to simply take a deep breath, hold it for three or four seconds to maximize the extraction of oxygen and chi from the system, exhale for a five second count, then hold the exhalation for three or four seconds, then inhale for a five count. That would be one rep or count. Repeat this ten times while out in the hopefully fresh air and then see how you feel.
Doing this exercise should benefit you greatly. If you're tired, you should feel more awake; if you're excited, you should feel more calm; and if you were feeling good before, you'll feel even better now. The slight breath-holding slows the heart down and increases extraction of energy from the air which is led from the lungs down to the kidneys (which are vital for health and longevity), giving them a much needed burst of energy; and from there, all the other organs benefit. Breath to only seventy percent of maximum lung capacity, don't gulp, and breath slowly and controlled.
So get outside every day and practice several minutes of deep breathing to absorb more energy from the air and the environment. Doing this will energize those cells, clear out toxins and pollutants more effectively from the system, and will recharge your body throughout the day. You'll be glad you did and if you do this regularly, your body will thank you more and more each time.
To learn more about breathing, visit my Chinese health and fitness website below.
For further reading on Chi, universal energy and breathing, check out Daniel Reid's excellent book Harnessing the Power of the Universe
About the authorRichard is a network engineer and longtime practitioner of Chinese martial arts, medicine and chi-gung for over twenty six years. Having learned many Chinese health and healing arts from old world gung-fu and healing masters and practitioners, he has helped many people to overcome their health issues and achieve their fitness goals. Through diligent study and experience he has taken this knowledge even further over the years including reading scores of books on Chinese medicine, health, chi theory, science, physics, nutrition, supplements, meditation, martial arts, and many other subjects. Utilizing the web, health and fitness videos, newsletters, articles, teachings and lectures, Rich is passionate about spreading the true knowledge of health, healing, fitness and spiritual truths. I'm proud to be writing articles for NaturalNews.com You can read many articles, hear audio interviews, and learn more about the highly praised Chinese Health and Fitness video by visiting Chinese Health and Fitness.com
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