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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by…
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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art (edition 2020)

by James Nestor (Author)

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8023423,077 (3.93)23
"No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how resilient your genes are, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Science journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong with our breathing and how to fix it. Why are we the only animals with chronically crooked teeth? Why didn't our ancestors snore? Nestor seeks out answers in muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He tracks down men and women exploring the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that changing the ways in which we breathe can jump-start athletic performance, halt snoring, rejuvenate internal organs, mute allergies and asthma, blunt autoimmune disease, and straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again"--… (more)
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Title:Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Authors:James Nestor (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2020), 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

  1. 00
    The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter by Patrick McKeown (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Both works delve heavily into the science of breathing. McKeown's book is heavily based on Buteyko's work and goes into much detail on it; Nestor's is more wide-ranging. I'd highly recommend both.
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» See also 23 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
One “litmus test” I use for gauging the value of a nonfiction book can be boiled down to one question: Did it spur me to think about something that I previously gave little or no thought to. “Breath” passed this test with flying colors.
I learned so much about a vital function that most of us take for granted. The author aptly bills it as an adventure into the lost art of breathing. In an engaging, non-jargon filled way, Nestor demonstrates how making simple changes in the way we breathe can improve our health, create a healthier mindset and help us live longer. The book even includes simple exercises for improving breathing patterns. I’ve tried it several times, then checked my blood pressure. The exercises seem to work! ( )
  brianinbuffalo | Sep 25, 2022 |
All about breathing. Lots of unbelievable anecdotes (curing severe scoliosis by breathing!), some believable anecdotes (treating emphysema by breathing with undamaged regions of lung!), and only a wee bit of science. James Nestor is not dissuaded by lack of science -- and frankly I'm not either. But my existing attitudes veer vaguely crunchy, so I'm culturally predisposed to his message and approach. I'm walking away with a couple useful health takeaways and more party stories.

A fun read. Not quite up to the level of Why We Sleep and Good Calories, Bad Calories overall, but if you read opinionated pop science for entertainment or to explore your health rather than for knowledge, it rates in their league. ( )
  pammab | Aug 6, 2022 |
I may have been reading this book at a crucial time in my life, but I felt this book was a ——- breath of fresh air. Information I knew something about was presented in interesting ways. I highly recommend it, especially for people with Sleep Apnea. ( )
  eddysfo | Jul 3, 2022 |
Tremendously interesting and informative. Gave me a good background for the techniques I'm learning from my trainer. ( )
  suzannekmoses | May 20, 2022 |
I read this book until I found the author had slipped into what seemed like questionable science. ( )
  Wren73 | Mar 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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James Nestorprimary authorall editionscalculated
Olsson, AndersNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The patient arrived, pale and torpid, at 9:32 a.m. Male, middle-aged, 175 pounds. Talkative and friendly but visibly anxious. Pain: none. Fatigue: a little. Level of anxiety: moderate. Fears about progression and future symptoms: high.
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During the first trial, Douillard told the athletes to breathe entirely through their mouths. As the intensity increased, so did the rate of breathing, which was expected. By the time athletes reached the hardest stage of the test, pedaling out 200 watts of power, they were panting and struggling to catch a breath.
Then Douillard repeated the test while the athletes breathed through their noses. As the intensity of exercise increased during this phase, the rate of breathing decreased. At the final, 200-watt stage, one subject who had been mouthbreathing at a rate of 47 breaths per minute was nasal breathing at a rate of 14 breaths a minute. He maintained the same heart rate at which he'd started the test, even though the intensity of the exercise had increased tenfold.
Simply training yourself to breathe through your nose, Douillard reported, could cut total exertion in half and offer huge gains in endurance. The athletes felt invigorated while nasel breathing rather than exhausted. They all swore off breathing through their mouths ever again.
Finding the best heart rate for exercise is easy: subtract your age from 180. The result is the maximum your body can withstand to stay in the aerobic state.
Mouthbreathing causes the body to lose 40 percent more water.
contrary to what most of us might think, no amount of snoring is normal, and no amount of sleep apnea comes without risks of serious health effects.
The right nostril is a gas pedal. When you're inhaling primarily through this channel, circulation speeds up, your body gets hotter, and cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all increase. This happens because breathing through the right side of the nose activates the sympathetic nervous system, the "fight or flight" mechanism that puts the body in a more elevated state of alertness and readiness. Breathing through the right nostril will also feed more blood to the opposite hemisphere of the brain, specifically to the prefrontal cortex, which has been associated with logical decisions, language, and computing.
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"No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how resilient your genes are, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly. There is nothing more essential to our health and wellbeing than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. Science journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong with our breathing and how to fix it. Why are we the only animals with chronically crooked teeth? Why didn't our ancestors snore? Nestor seeks out answers in muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He tracks down men and women exploring the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that changing the ways in which we breathe can jump-start athletic performance, halt snoring, rejuvenate internal organs, mute allergies and asthma, blunt autoimmune disease, and straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again"--

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