The human lungs are a pair of large, spongy organs optimized for gas exchange between our blood and the air. The red blood cells are responsible for picking up the oxygen in the lungs and carrying the oxygen to all the body cells that need it. The red blood cells drop off the oxygen to the body cells, then pick up the carbon dioxide which is a waste gas product produced by our cells. The red blood cells transport the carbon dioxide back to the lungs and we breathe it out when we exhale. Breathing is controlled by your Autonomic Nervous System. If you are breathing properly you will inhale and exhale anywhere from 15 to 25 times per minute.
Breathing techniques are commonly used in relaxation therapies such as meditation. Breathing techniques and patterns are regularly advocated for relaxation, stress management, control of psycho physiological states and to improve organ function.
What can your breathing tell you?
Breathing that is forced or labored can be related to past or present emotional upset. The quality and level of intensity of negative or positive emotions are related to the way you breathe. Restrictive breathing patterns also support subconscious defense mechanisms in "stuffing down" unpleasant emotions. In fact, such unhealthy breathing patterns are often the result of previous attempts to cope with traumatic emotional or physical events dating back to as early as, or possibly even before, birth. When feelings go unexpressed they are consciously repressed or subconsciously "suppressed". This can create chronic mind/body tension.
Most common breathing problems include chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Warning Signs of Lung Disease
Chronic Cough - A cough that you have had for a month is chronic. This is an important early symptom. It tells you something is wrong with your respiratory system.
Shortness of Breath - Shortness of breath that doesn’t go away after exercising, or that you have after little or no exertion, is not normal. Labored or difficult breathing – the feeling that it is hard to breathe in or breathe out - is also a warning sign.
Chronic Mucus Production - Mucus, also called sputum or phlegm, is produced by the airways. It is a defense response to infections or irritants. If your mucus production has lasted a month, this could indicate lung disease.
Wheezing - Noisy breathing or wheezing is a sign that something unusual is blocking your lungs’ airways or making them too narrow.
Coughing up Blood - If you are coughing up blood, the blood may be coming from your lungs or upper respiratory tract. Whatever the source of the blood, it is a sign of a health problem.
Chronic Chest Pain – Unexplained chest pain that lasts for a month or more – especially if it gets worse when you breathe in or cough – can also be a warning sign.