By Dr. Juergen Buche, ND, MI, NHC, Phy.D.
Let’s talk about VITAL CAPACITY…
There is an old saying that presupposes that the faster a warm blooded being breathes, the shorter is its lifespan. You must have heard that. While there may be some notable exceptions such as the parrot I used to have when I was a boy and that species is reputed to live a hundred years - and I admit never having checked IT’S respiratory rate – in general that old saying seems to hold true.
So, if we believe that, why are we not doing something about it? Oh, you never thought about that? Well, why should you, and neither had I, it is not very evident that the less often you breathe the longer you might theoretically live.
And it is not here a question that you should breathe less often to live longer – listen to me – it is a question of NOT HAVING to breathe as often in order meet the body’s need for oxygen. To explain this latter statement – let’s discuss the various aspects here so that what I said will make sense…
Observe closely – anybody – your spouse – your friend – your Grandfather - anybody, but do it when they are not looking. And then have them check YOU out when you think YOU are unobserved. Take a stopwatch or some timepiece that counts the seconds and count the number of breaths the observed person takes during one minute.
If you check it over a period of several minutes and then divide the result by that number of minutes then you have an even better average. The result will be the person’s observed breath rate. It is important that you also note whether this is before or after a meal. You will see a big difference!
So, what are we trying to accomplish here? Take me as an example…
Before I became a Naturopathic Physician, when I used to eat heavily, subsisting on the typical American diet, my heart rate was around 85 and my breath rate was around 20 and I was a lot younger then! Now, who would find something wrong with that? A medical doctor?
Hardly! And who else would even THINK of checking these two parameters much less finding this abnormal? The problem really is that this high activity of heart and lungs constitutes GREAT body distress. Leaving aside the rapid heart rate, this is very shallow breathing, which happens entirely in the half liter (about ½ quart) TIDAL volume of the lungs.
Not much air gets into the lungs although the body breathes very fast. It is almost like hyperventilating with the result that the body chronically starves oxygen. This sort of breathing should really be called hypo-ventilating because the amount of available oxygen is greatly reduced despite the fact that when one overeats or eats inappropriate food, the need for oxygen is vastly greater than for a person who eats frugally and properly – and by that I mean LIVING and RAW foods, uncooked and unfired and unadulterated. So, let me continue my narrative, using myself as an example…
Then, decades ago, I discovered that I could reduce my breath rate DRASTICALLY by cleaning up my entire dietary lifestyle. I began eating less, and still less, as a matter of fact, I fasted – on water. Within less than a week, my breath rate was down to 10 a minute and my heart beat slowed to 70.Not too bad for a start.
As my body continued cleansing, these two factors continued going down until, after 10 days of fasting, it stabilized at 5-6 breaths per minute and around 55-60 heart beats per minute. Now, that’s a far cry from the previous 20/85 observations! Not only that, I noticed that now my breaths were no longer shallow and short but deeper and much longer of course.
My breathing reached now deeply into the EXPIRATORY RESERVE VOLUME, which is another 1 to 1.2 liter area of our lungs that rarely see any activity. It simultaneously also climbed into my INSPIRATORY RESERVE VOLUME which is a vast vault of lung area that is from 3 to 3.5 liters in volume.
So, you can see that steadily and progressively, my whole breathing mechanism changed and enriched the bloodstream with clean, new oxygen. That this had an invigoration, oxygenating and mind-clearing effect on me hardly needs mentioning. You can easily see that this very noticeable enlargement of my combined inspiratory and expiratory reserve area SIGNIFICANTLY expanded my at-rest VITAL (residual) CAPACITY to the point where my body obtained MORE oxygen from only ¼ the number of breaths as before.
That is one point to consider – however, the final coup de grace is of course the inevitable and logical conclusion that my body now NEEDED LESS OXYGEN because it was at rest from the daily incessant onslaught of food – food it did not need – food that was overloading the digestive system, flooded the body fluids with toxins, clogged up the capillaries and generally undermined my immune system.
Allow me to pass on some evident conclusions here… We can reduce the toxic load on our body and its eliminative organs by eating less. We can increase our overall level of health by eating more LIVING food while reducing the intake of a processed foods, and yes, that includes all diary, grains, meats, salad dressing – listen, whatever comes in a package, box, can or bottle, whatever is not normally at room temperature and whatever you cannot, with 100% assurance, call ALIVE.
That means you can eat all fruits and vegetables, a small portion at a time. Eat one type of fruit – alone. We could go into a long dissertation here now but the Internet is replete with references to mild, natural, health-supporting, life-sustaining eating habits. Food combining is a simple science and eating hygienically is a duty to our body which was loaned to us by our Maker.
Today, I know that my breath rate and my heart rate are my two most significant health indicators. They tell me whether I am doing something wrong or if I am on the right track. I invite you to experiment on yourself and diligently and conscientiously try this out.
Give yourself a chance to observe first hand what a difference a reduced heart and breath rate can mean in terms of well-being, generally feeling good, having clarity of mind, peace of spirit and a lot more love in your heart.
I trust that the above has stimulated your interest and sense of self-discovery and has imparted a small desire to expand your knowledge concerning a health-restoring life style and I invite you to surf to my web site shown below.
Dr. Juergen Buche