About Nasal Breathing

I’ve finally decided to write about what I’ve learned about proper breathing. Starting here with nasal breathing, I’ve dug into the importance and ramifications of breathing via the nose:
Today I plowed through some books I had on breathing mechanics and have some references. The best book i found so far is “Recognizing and Treating Breathing Disorders” by Leon Chaitow. It is a clinician’s guide, but I read this stuff to gain clues into helping my swimmers. Some quotes and references:
“Finally there is a common association of mouth breathing with chest breathing.” pp. 83
Cites Barelli, Nasapulmonary Physiology, in Behaviorial psychological approaches to breathing disorders. 1994.
This quote basically says that you see mouth breathing as a symptom of chest breathing, which is not a desirable breathing pattern. When you breathe correctly via the diaphragm, you should not need to use your mouth to breathe. But chest breathing results in less air taken in, and therefore you reflexively open your mouth to get more air in.
“Nasal breathing is involuntary. Mouth or voluntary breathing occurs when there is difficulty breathing through the nose, such as in exertion, under stress, and in particular when cardiac, pulmonary, or other illness hampers supply of oxygen to the tissues.”
Again from Barelli above.
These next two quotes are most interesting:
“The nasal route adds at least 50% more resistance to air flow, so one might think that lowered resistance by bypassing the nostrils is a good thing. But pressure rise in the lungs during exhalation makes the air denser, simulating a lower attitude where the air is richer in oxygen per unit volume, and this improves perfusion into the alveoli. Also the increased resistance introduced into the system by nasal inhibition increases the vacuum in the lungs, resulting in a 10-20% increase in oxygen transported.”
“…slowing down the expiratory phase of respiration and ventilation, and the interposing of resistance to both inspiration and expiration which in turn helps to maintain the normal elasticity of the lungs, thus assuring optimal conditions for providing oxygen and good heart function.”
Citing Cottle, The work, ways, positions and patterns of nasal breathing (relevance in heart and lung illness), 1987.
so good things come from nasal breathing both inhalation and exhalation!