Breathe In, Breathe Out

Oxygen is essential for life and it has to be obtained from somewhere to supply every cell of the organism with it. Most animals on our planet take oxygen from the ambient atmosphere or breathe oxygen dissolved in water. They breathe through the lungs or gills, from which the oxygen is distributed to all parts of the body.

At first sight it may seem that the most difficult task is to obtain oxygen from water or the atmosphere, but this is not so. Animals did not have to invent any special mechanisms. Oxygen enters the blood through the lungs or gills by diffusion since the blood contains less oxygen than the environment, and gases and liquids tend to distribute themselves equally within the limits of any enclosing walls.

Nature did not hit immediately upon the idea of lungs or gills. These organs were virtually unknown in the earliest, multicellular, living organisms, which breathed with the entire surface of their body. All the subsequent higher-developed animals, man included, have evolved special organs, intended for respiration, at the same time retaining their capacity to breathe through the skin. Only armour-clad creatures, such as turtles, armadilloes, crabs, and the like, are unable to breathe through the skin.

In man breathing involves the entire surface of the body, including the thickest skin on the heels and the hair-covered scalp. The parts of the skin that breathe most intensively are those on the chest, back and abdomen. It is worthy of note that these parts of the skin breathe more intensively than the lungs. If we take two equal sections of the breathing surface of the skin and the lungs, we will find that the skin can absorb 28 per cent more oxygen and expel as much as 54 per cent more carbon dioxide than the lungs.

The skin’s superiority is very difficult to account for. One possible explanation may be that the skin breathes clean air, while our lungs are inadequately ventilated. Even after a very deep expiration some air remains in the lungs; the composition of this air leaves much to be desired: the oxygen content in it is much lower than that of the atmospheric air, while the carbon dioxide content is much higher. The air inhaled during inspiration becomes mixed with the residual air in the lungs, and its composition deteriorates. It would not be surprising if this were the phenomenon that gives skin breathing the advantage.

Buteyko Method and Lack of Oxygen

The Buteyko Method is based on the concept that much ill health is the result of the body’s defence mechanisms trying to compensate for the lack of oxygen.

Hence the Buteyko Method involves the individual learning a new pattern of shallow breathing through a series of exercise. The principle underlying this technique is that asthmatics and sufferers of other breathing conditions such as hyperventilation (overbreathing which can resulting panic attacks) deplete their stocks of carbon dioxide by over breathing and thus exhaling valuable carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is required to move oxygen from the blood into the cells and tissues of the body and most of the air around us contained a much smaller proportion of carbon dioxide. Shallow breathing increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the body which in turn oxygenates the cells and tissues of the body.

This Buteyko Method was developed by a Russian professor of physiology,Professor Konstantin Buteyko, about fifty years ago. Interestingly, when he conducted his study, he observed that patients with cardiac problems, allergies and breathing disorders breathed more than normal and concluded that deep breathing was not just a symptom but a cause of their ailments.

Although, primarily, Buteyko Method was used as a treatment for asthma, it can also be used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions, eczema, diabetes, migraines, hay fever and other allerges. It has also shown some success in helping people to stop snoring.

Practitioners believe that children with asthma who do not have a lifetime of bad habits to unlearn, may achieve results more quickly. However, the Buteyko Method is not suitable for anyone suffering from the acute stage of an infectious disease.

When Sunshine is Harmful

Articles on sun therapy usually mention the benefits from proper handling of sun exposure, sun bathing and therapy in general. But this article looks at the subject of solar hazards, i.e. when invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays affect us in a negative way.

UVA rays cause ageing. UVA radiation penetrates deep into our skin and able to alter skin cell structures. It is responsible for premature ageing of the skin, crumple porcelain smooth complexion and heighten the risk of skin cancer.

UVB rays cause burning. UVB is stronger and more damaging that UVA radiation. It affects the outer layers of the skin, causing sunburns and damage to immune system on top of premature skin ageing and (possibly) skin cancer. These rays are strongest and most dangerous between 10am and 4pm.

UVC rays are completely absorbed by the earth’s ozone layer. UVC radiation is extremely hazardous to the human skin. Fortunately, these rays are sheltered by the earth’s ozone layer.

Experts have advocated some of the following methods to avert the harmful sun’s UV rays:

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when it is strong – between 10am and 4 pm.
  • Wear long sleeves shirts, long pants, wrap-around sunglasses that provide 100% UV-ray protection, a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella.
  • Apply a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen lotion with minimum SPF 15 or higher about 30 minutes before going out under the sun. Reapply every two to three hours.
  • Supplement your diet with a well-balanced combination of antioxidants to neutralize excessive free radicals generated by UV radiation.

Mercury in Fish

It has been found that mercury, which is found in fish, increases the risk of heart attacks. A study which found this situation in nine countries compared 664 heart attack patients with 724 people who acted as a control – they had normal risk of heart attacks.

Patients with the highest amounts of mercury in their bodies (measured in toenail samples) were more than twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack than those with the lowest amounts.

The substance found was methyl mercury which is found only in people who eat fish. In particular, it is found in shark, tuna and trout. Tuna is now eaten by a very large number of people, especially in salads and sandwiches.

This methyl mercury increases the production of free radicals in the body, which are harmful to body cells. It has been concluded that methyl mercury contributes to these heart attacks.

This is bad news for people who recommend fish as a good source of omega 3 oil which reduce clotting in the arteries and thus protect against heart disease. It now seems that the methyl mercury negates this benefit. So, you’d better switch from fish to plant-based food for omega 3 oils.

Here is another reason why it is healthier to eat predominantly plant-based meals. Omega 3 can be obtained from flax sees oil or linseed oil, both of which can be added to salads, or used to make salad dressings. However, flax oil should be kept in the fridge to prevent it oxidizing.

Way of a Better Person

What makes someone a better person? No-one is going to agree on the answer to this question. The evidence of history points to those who have lived exemplary lives: the saints, spiritual masters, and holy men.

These heroes have been peaceful, not war-mongering; honest, not dishonest; loving, not hating; forgiving, not blaming; just, not unjust etc. In other words, they have achieved the highest human virtues.

In our modern society, these virtues have been degraded and belittled. Other characteristics like physical beauty, wealth, success in a chosen career, fame as in a sporting personality or film or pop star, and other outer accomplishments are more admired and prized.

You will notice that the spiritual heroes have inner qualities while the modern heroes have outer accomplishments. It is true, however, that modern heroes will possess certain inner qualities as well, for example, determination and perseverance. But even a cursory glance will reveal that they lack most of the qualities of the saints.

Each person must make up their own mind with regard to the course their life will follow. There are two main choices: outer accomplishment or inner accomplishment. Few have achieved both.

Outer accomplishment may bring wealth, success, and fame, provided you have talent, ability, determination, and perseverance. But the Personal Growth goals of love, happiness, freedom, and peace of mind will be difficult to find.

Inner accomplishment will bring greater love, happiness, freedom, and peace of mind than most people experience. Success is also very possible. Wealth and fame will not really be an issue for the person seeking inner accomplishments because they become meaningless. They actually prevent inner accomplishments.

Astaxanthin As A Perfect Antioxidant

Astaxanthin is a newly discovered antioxidant, and is said to be much more powerful than antioxidants such as vitamin E or beta-carotene. Antioxidants are known to help combat disease, so a new powerful one such as astaxanthin is welcome, particularly to those who don’t want to put up with the side-effects of conventional drugs.
Astaxanthin is said to be 500 times more powerful than vitamin E, which means it will be able to deal with free radicals and other things that damage health very quickly. Astaxanthin has also been shown to improve brain performance while helping digestive and reproductive systems.
Because astaxanthin can help reduce inflammation, it may well help people with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Astaxanthin is a bright pink. It is 500 times more powerful than vitamin E.
Not only is astaxanthin shown to be 500 times more effective than vitamin E, but it is also reported to be ten times better than beta-carotene as an antioxidant. Astaxanthin can also help the actions of vitamin C and vitamin E so it would work well in a compound that included all three antioxidants.
Also, astaxanthin may protect against UVA and UVB light. Remarkably, astaxanthin can help both the brain and the eyes – most substances of this type are unable to enter these areas. Astaxanthin is therefore a possible powerful anti-aging aid.
If that’s not all, astaxanthin has been shown in trials to decrease levels of the harmful LDL cholesterol in the blood, improve men’s sperm quality, and retard enlargement of the prostate. It could therefore be an important antioxidant in reducing the risk of heart disease.