Lots of Clean Air

DISEASE never comes without a cause. Much of the sickness that we suffer from is the result of our disregard of natural law. When sickness comes, the way has been prepared and disease invited by the disregard of the laws of health. By avoiding wrong habits, there is a great deal that we can do to avoid sickness and at the same time improve our quality of life.

Even though it is hard to believe, especially at mealtime, it is possible for a person to live for five or six weeks without food, as long as he has water to drink. Take away his water and a person can only live for a few days. Even more vital than food or water, however, is air. Take away the air that we breath and life can last no more than about six minutes.

Even though we are constantly surrounded by air, millions of people suffer from a variety of illnesses because of a poor or insufficient supply of pure air. This is largely due to the fact that the vast majority of people do not breathe correctly. By failing to take advantage of this free but vital commodity, they are depriving themselves of the good health they might otherwise be enjoying. Few realize that how we breath is important; and even among those who do, many often forget to put good breathing habits into practice.

The air that surrounds us is actually made up of a number of gases, though most of them are only found in trace or very small amounts. The gas that is critical to life, and without which we could not live, is oxygen. It makes up about 21% of the volume of the air that we breathe.

In order for the body to have a supply of good blood, the blood must have a good oxygen supply. It is, therefore, absolutely essential to fill the lungs when we breathe. Too often, people slip into poor breathing habits without realizing it. Most people practice what is known as half-breathing, only partially filling their lungs. Between 12 and 30 cu. in. of air are usually inhaled and exhaled in each inspiration. Though there is a certain amount of residual air that we can never exchange in breathing, we have available an additional 90 cu. in. of air that can be moved by deep breathing.

Purification of the Blood

As the blood circulates into the lungs, it contains carbon dioxide, a waste product, or impurity, that is the result of cell metabolism. When we breathe deeply, filling the lungs with air, we bring the blood in contact with an oxygen rich atmosphere. The blood cells contain a substance called hemoglobin, which is what gives the blood its red color. A very important quality of hemoglobin is its ability to very readily form a loose bond with oxygen. As we breathe in air, the air is passed through the nasal passage, into the lungs, and finally to the alveoli. The alveoli are small clusters of little sacks, or pockets, that are surrounded by capillaries, the smallest divisions of the blood vessels. Though these alveoli are small, together they have a total surface of approximately 756 square feet, or nearly the same area as a full-sized tennis court.

As the blood circulates around these small air sacks, an exchange takes place. The oxygen is absorbed into the blood, changing the chemical balance in the blood and allowing it to release the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide then passes back through the wall of the alveoli; and when we exhale, we breath out the carbon dioxide. Thus, full, deep breathing not only gives to the blood the oxygen that we need to live, sending it as a life-giving current to every part of the body, but it also enables the blood to rid itself of impurities. If there is not a good supply of fresh air, in addition to reducing the supply of oxygen to the blood, the impurities are breathed back in and recirculated in the blood.

In quiet respiration, an adult breathes some six times a minute. Each breath, at rest, takes in about a pint of air. This amounts to 8 quarts in a minute, or 480 quarts an hour. As can easily be seen, it does not take long in a poorly ventilated room for the air to no longer be fresh. Though air can be rebreathed a number of times without exhausting its oxygen, it does begin to lose its value. Anyone walking into a poorly ventilated room occupied by a number of people will quickly notice the odor of accumulated, gaseous body wastes.

Helps Quiet Nerves

Good breathing has other beneficial effects as well. Good respiration helps to soothe the nerves. If the blood does not have a good supply of oxygen, the brain will very quickly become tired, losing its ability to think clearly. As the thinking becomes confused, the mind becomes very susceptible to depression. This, in turn, has a depressing effect on the whole system, including the body's immune system, leaving the body in a condition of being more susceptible to sickness and disease.

Exercise increases both the rate and the depth of breathing, greatly improving the exchange of air in and out of the lungs. To be of greatest value, the breathing must be in a place where there is a good supply of fresh, oxygen-laden air. Whenever possible, we should exercise out-of-doors. Whenever conditions permit, windows should be open, allowing for the free circulation of fresh air.

When we remain sedentary and sit, stand, and breath incorrectly, the apex, or tops of the lungs, do not get aired well. Inactivity weakens the tissues, making them more susceptible to the most serious lung diseases, which often start in these sites. Many people spend considerable amounts of money on expensive vitamins and mineral supplements but fail to breathe fresh air.

Another benefit of good breathing habits is the effect that proper breathing has on the digestive process. Not only does it stimulate the appetite, but it also assures the proper digestion of food. The stomach and liver are adversely affected by a blood supply that is not regularly refreshed by pure, oxygen-rich air in the lungs.

We may have involuntarily allowed ourselves to fall into bad breathing habits, but by thoughtful practice, we may develop healthful breathing habits. Practicing good breathing habits not only begins to pay rich dividends right from the start, but it will also gradually increase our breathing capacity.

Good Breathing Habits

Let us consider some basic principles that will help us achieve good breathing habits, an important step in maintaining good health.

  1. Develop the practice of deep breathing.

  2. Begin by gently drawing in a breath to the count of 4; then, after a short pause, breathe out slowly to the count of 12. Repeat the process, breathing in to the count of 5; then out to the count of 15. Continue thus, gradually increasing the depth of each exhalation by increasing the count to 30 or more.

    An exercise that is helpful is to climb stairs or a hill while breathing to the count of two. Begin with shoulders back; and breathe in as you climb the first two steps, out for the next two. By continuing this rapid, 2-in, 2-out rhythm, you will increase the rate of transfer of oxygen to the tissues and that of carbon dioxide to the exhaled air.

    Try reading aloud as many words as possible in a single breath, without great effort. Keep track of the number of words and you will observe a gradual increase.

  3. Correct posture in both sitting and standing is important to good breathing habits. Standing or sitting erect, with the shoulders back, allows the lungs to have more room to expand, thereby increasing the volume of air they are able to take in.

  4. It is important to breathe pure, fresh air. Without a rich supply of oxygen, the hemoglobin is not able to make a good exchange, the blood is not vitalized, and it has a depressing effect on all of the organs of the body.

  5. In considering your dress, it is important that the clothing not be of a nature to restrict the freedom to breathe deeply. Tight clothing, particularly that which is tight around the chest or waist, will almost certainly lead to poor breathing habits. The lungs need the greatest freedom possible.

  6. While we do not often think about it, we spend nearly a third of our lifetime sleeping. How important it is, then, that our sleeping rooms be well ventilated. It is not only important that there be the free circulation of air while we are sleeping, but that the blinds be left open several hours each day, the curtains pulled aside, and the room thoroughly aired.

Air Pollution

As air pollution has become more of a health hazard in recent years, it raises questions in many people's minds as to the wisdom of exercising out-of-doors. There are times, of course, when it is not wise to do so. Even in the worst areas, however, there are some days that are better than others. Make it a point to take advantage of these times to exercise in the fresh air.

Air is among nature's greatest natural remedies. Many scientific studies have shown that a lack of oxygen in the system may be the root cause of many diseases. Many, even of the chronic degenerative diseases from which we suffer, can be traced to a lack in the supply of oxygen in the tissues, yet nothing is more readily available. It is one of the few, free things in life, yet one of the most vital.

There is no question that the air that we breathe can at times present a real hazard to our health, but the Word of God does not present to us a picture of man becoming extinct as a result of being smothered in dirty air. It does, however, reveal that when the time comes that the earth is in danger of being destroyed by men, God has promised to takes matters into His own hands. "The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth." Revelation 11:18

These problems, like the many other seemingly irreversible problems that we are faced with today, are but indications that a better day is not far distant and that man's experiment in sin is nearly finished.

In the meantime, however, it is our privilege to cooperate in carrying out the laws of health, keeping our bodies in the best physical condition possible. As we practice breathing deeply, we will circulate oxygenated blood to every cell and tissue of our body, invigorating our whole system, while at the same time allowing us to enjoy the very best health possible.

Copyright 1995 by Jack Kendall

Brought to you by Champions of Truth

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