Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Breathing For Covid 19 Coronavirus

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Breathing For Covid 19

In this article, we will talk about about 3 lessons on breathing that we can derive for healthy individuals from a patient that have a coronavirus infection and the research that has been done on these cases.
Study 1
It is worth reminding people that the way that coronavirus kills is by causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which is not specific only to coronavirus and it's basically an inflammatory state of the lungs.

It's an inflammation that takes place in the entire lungs and more specifically in the alveoli where there is fluid accumulating, there is also proteins that pass inside the alveoli and basically, this inflammatory condition compromises the oxygenation of the blood.

Patients that have ARDS are taken to intensive care unit where they are supported with ventilators that pump oxygen inside their lungs.

Let's look at the first study I want to bring your attention to, it was done in 2000 and it was done in individuals that were suffering from ARDS and the problem that they were facing is that the ventilators were pumping oxygen very forcefully and extracting the carbon dioxide with a big enough force that was causing shear stress.

Shear stress is the collapse of the cells, in this case, the alveoli causing higher levels of inflammation than what the patients had already the solution to the problem was found when they reduce the Tidal Volume (TV).
So, they reduced the amount of air that the patients were receiving and extracting air from their lungs.

This caused an almost 9% improvement in mortality rates. This reduction of Tidal Volume was not only seen in this study but in many other studies, they have tested this technique.

Why is that important for healthy individuals? Those familiar with the Buteyko method are already aware of the importance of light breathing keeping the Tidal Volume low. There is this epidemic of people thinking that heavy breathing such as ... is good breathing.
They call it deep breathing but the reality is that this is forceful; so, it is light breathing that we want to be practicing in order to improve our breathing and our respiratory capacity.

There are many breathing exercises that facilitate that. I would almost argue that the majority of yogic breathing facilitates light breathing but it's not just yogic breathing techniques that achieve that.

Study 2
Moving on to the 2nd study which was conducted in 2013 and it was again in subjects that had ARDS. So, in this study they had two groups, one group was let in a supine position while the second group was put for 73% of their time in a pronated position and what they found is that those that were put in a pronated position we're having 16% levels of mortality in the compulsion to 32.8% in the group that was all the time in a supine position.
The ones that spent time in pronated position were also having better chances of staying alive after the treatment. So how is that relevant for healthy individuals?
The reason why the ones that were in pronated position had a much better lung function was because of the negative pressure that was reduced in their cases. So basically, their lungs were restricted, they could not expand as much as those that were in the supine position and this

facilitated better breathing. Now those of you that practice yoga is very familiar with holding positions that restrict breathing. A lot of forwarding bends a lot of twists a lot of sides flexion will put part or the entire lungs under pressure.
Practitioners that have been practicing for a while learning how to breathe comfortably in these positions. This is really what was shown in the studies, that was the benefit of people in a pronated position:
the fact that they were forced to breathe with the lungs under pressure. This can be done by lying on your belly, this can be done through yoga, or in a more elegant way if you want you can apply a belt around your ribcage; such as the Buteyko belt. Finally, the Nitric Oxide (NO) one of the three gases of the bloodstream which is produced primarily in the paranasal sinuses, so we are having good levels of it only when we are breathing from the nose and avoid mouth breathing, has been shown to have protective effects from a viral infection.
So this is a reminder for healthy individuals to breathe from the nose also it is important to know that the Breath Holds (BH) can increase the production of Nitric Oxide (NO) significantly so again this is something to consider although we have to be quite careful when we are speaking about patients because in some of the cases of people infected with coronavirus they can go into a hypoxic state so in their cases we have to be extra careful and not promote breathing techniques such as Breath Holds that potentially will drop their saturation of oxygen further.
Study 3:
Now a couple of days ago I received a comment which was asking whether specific breathing techniques that will alter the blood pH can be protective for the infection. I had a look in the literature and I didn't see any evidence specific for the coronavirus, however, I found that it is quite common in many viral infections to be accompanied by a drop in pH in the area that surrounds the cells, that are infected.

However, this in my opinion is not enough evidence to practice breathing techniques that are making the blood more alkaline.
So as a quick reminder the three lessons that healthy individuals can derive from the research done in corona the virus is that low Tidal Volume is something worth practicing, Nitric Oxide production can be protective potentially for infections and finally the biomechanics of breathing do matter and learn how to breathe in different postures can facilitate good breathing long term. In my YouTube channel, there are plenty of other videos which I invite you to explore breathing theory as well as another category of videos where I'm reviewing breathing techniques.

I hope you liked reading this post if you are still awake :D a small share will be greatly appreciated.


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