Side-effect of Breathing Normalization
On my birthday, a friend handed me a gift certificate for a facial. I redeemed it right away. After a steam bath, a few heavenly masks, and a delightful massage, the time came to face the world.
I opened my eyes and saw a meticulously polished face of the aesthetician leaning over my face examining it closely.
- Your skin is amazingly healthy! – She exclaimed - This is unusual!
What a gratifying comment for someone who resides in a high mountain desert and just turned fifty-four!
- What products do you use? – She continued her investigation.
- I don’t use much… I never buy any fancy products… or sunblock. Sometimes, I use natural oils, - I mumbled.
She was surprised:
- How do you manage to maintain such a remarkable skin?
I hesitated to answer but then decided, what the heck, she needs to know.
- By restricting my air consumption.
The aesthetician looked at me in disapproval; she had no desire to continue our conversation.
Why is it so difficult to understand? Breathing affects everything in the human body: our largest organ, the skin, is not an exception.
Dr. Buteyko listed many skin conditions occurring as a result of hyperventilation: dry, itchy skin, hives, eczema, acne, psoriasis, vitiligo and others. His clinical work proved that those conditions could be reversed or improved by the restoration of the natural breathing patterns. Our modern lifestyle induces hyperventilation but minimizing air consumption brings us back to healthiness. It’s analogous to food: contemporary lifestyle supports obesity but controlling your weight can restore wellbeing.
According to Dr. Buteyko, not everyone who over-breathes will develop a severe skin condition; it’s inescapable only for those whose skin is their body’s weakest organ since the deficit of carbon dioxide created by hyperventilation would injure it first. Do you belong to this category? If not, it does not mean that excessive breathing, primarily through the mouth, will not affect your skin. It will, just not that intensely. The deficit of CO2 gradually renders the skin feeble.
I often listen to my clients complaining that their skin is too sensitive: it reacts to stress, food, cosmetics, humidity, heat – you name it! For people with delicate skin, outdoors becomes a battlefield: a bee sting can turn into a deadly weapon; sunshine can cause melanoma. I remember that before practicing Buteyko, mosquito bites on my skin would last for a month and a fight with a boyfriend would result in an itchy rash on my cheeks. Skin treatments alleviated my discomfort but did not alter the situation.
I frequently observe my clients’ skin changing within one session of the Buteyko breathing exercises: after just thirty minutes, a person’s face looks more relaxed and livelier. After a couple of months of applying Breathing Normalization, my clients often receive comments such as: “You look better! – A friend or neighbor notices. - Have you been on vacation?” Better breathing improves overall health; the skin like a gigantic mirror reflects this enhancement.
When the skin gains its strength, it starts acting like a real shield protecting our inner world from unfavorable effects of the outer one. Chameleon-like, the surface of the body develops abilities to create suntan very quickly and lose it just as speedily when it’s not needed anymore. Intense dryness or humidity stop triggering scaliness or skin fungus. Bites of insects, including ticks, become merely a workout for the skin and the immune system making them only sturdier. By my own, subjective experience, insects are less interested in attacking a person whose skin is vigorous compared to the one whose body surface is feeble, possibly covering a swamp-like environment.
Why does Breathing Normalization have such a profoundly positive effect on our skin? I know a couple of factors playing significant roles in this process.
- Better metabolism:
Reduced air consumption increases the level of CO2 in the lungs bringing it closer to the norm. This level of CO2 works as a regulator for metabolism bettering its function (read more about it). Improved metabolism often naturally clears pimples, pus-filled bumps, and other skin flaws.
- Increased oxygenation:
Contrarily to the common belief, our skin does not play an active role in the process of breathing. The skin cells do not get their oxygen directly from the air but indirectly from the lungs through the blood supply. CO2 regulates how much oxygen in the blood will be utilized. (The Bohr Effect). If the level of CO2 is way below the norm, hemoglobin will not release enough oxygen to our organs; as a result of it, the skin can experience oxygen starvation. Reduced breathing increases the level of CO2 and boosts skin oxygenation making it look better.
…I am in a supermarket waiting to unload my groceries on the conveyor belt moving to a checkout. The cashier is a friendly, young man with bright blue eyes and the cheeks covered by dreadful pimples. Excitedly, he is chatting with every customer taking big chunks of air through his mouth.
A strong wave of compassion begins swirling in my heart: I want to help him! His conditions can change. He just needs to learn how to breathe differently. When the level of CO2 increases, skin irritation and itchiness decreases. When the concentration of CO2 becomes close to the norm (indicated by Positive Maximum Pause being around 40 seconds), typically, acne disappears.
“Should I tell him about the Method or not? – I keep chewing on my dilemma. “I don’t want this teenager to struggle for years (as I did) before he finds a solution to his skin problems. If he ever finds it! I should tell him… well, my solicitation might not be welcomed.”
While the cashier is packing my bags, I hand him a Breathing Center’s leaflet.
- Please, visit this website, - I suggest politely, - If you learn how to minimize your air consumption, you will become acne-free.
For a moment, the guy does not know what to say; then, he finds an answer:
- Far out! I will definitely check it, ma’am.
Heading to the exit, I decided to turn back and look at the cashier again. He was putting my leaflet in a trash can.