THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A REVELATORY EXPLORATION OF A SUBJECT UNIVERSALLY KNOWN
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. In Breath, journalist James Nestor travels the world to discover the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments can:
- jump-start athletic performance
- rejuvenate internal organs
- halt snoring, allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease, and even straighten scoliotic spines
None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of ancient wisdom and 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.
'Who would have thought something as simple as changing the way we breathe could be so revolutionary for our health, from snoring to allergies to immunity? James Nestor is the perfect guide to the pulmonary world and has written a fascinating book, full of dazzling revelations' Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author of Feel Better in Five
'If you want to read a book about the power of the breath, this is it!' -- Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage
'I would have thought that breathing was pretty simple and well understood. Then I read this book. Now I know it's a hugely complex and wondrous process which we need to understand much better. Fascinating and provocative stuff' -- Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure
In this fascinating "scientific adventure," journalist Nestor (Deep) follows the clues that connect breath to health. After several bouts with pneumonia and resultant breathing problems, Nestor enters a Stanford University experiment that involves spending 10 days breathing with his nostrils plugged, and another 10 with his mouth taped shut. The results are eye-opening: mouth breathing increases his snoring and sleep apnea, and causes raised blood pressure and other issues. His investigation also leads him to a breathing class in Haight-Ashbury, a yoga studio in S o Paulo, and to a conversation with a dental researcher, who points out that the skulls of ancient humans have wider airways and perfect teeth. (Subsequently, Nestor learns that the industrialization of the food supply led to softer foods, less vigorous chewing, and thus crooked teeth and narrow airways.) Frequency of breath is crucial; while science reveals that the ideal rate is 5.5 breaths per minute, many people breathe too fast. Nestor argues that proper breathing, though not a panacea, is an important component of preventative health maintenance. While the process of breathing may seem like a no-brainer, Nestor's fascinating treatise convincingly asserts that it's easy to get wrong, and vital to get right.