Is Holding Your Breath Dangerous?

One question I receive from time to time is about breath holding.
Is it healthy to do it? Does it help your breathing or health? And
so forth. Here is part of a question received from Valerie:

Hi Karen,

I’m enjoying your daily tips. They’re so inspirational. Please keep
them coming. They’re such a blessing!

I’ve researched quite a number of naturalistic approaches toward
eliminating health problems, including deep breathing, and would
like to know your take breath holding exercises. Do you feel there
is any danger in limiting oxygen flow to your vital organs,
such as heart, brain, etc.?

Your body can only exist without oxygen for a limited time before
doing damage to brain cells so is this method safe?

-Valerie D.

KVN: There are different types of breath holding techniques out
there. But they all basically have you either inhale or exhale,
then hold your breath as long as you can until you feel
uncomfortable. With subsequent repetitions, you try to increase
the amount of time you can hold your breath.

Some of the breathing exercises in the Dynamic Energy Routine (in
the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise, Volume 2: Dynamic Energy
) also involve breath holding. The breath is held for a specific,
beneficial effect depending on the exercise.

I think it has merit. Any method or technique that helps you
learn how to control your breathing is extremely helpful.

In fact, breath holding is a technique used by some elite athletes
as part of their training. Basically, you perform some simple,
repetitive aspect of your training, like running a sprint for a
short distance, while holding your breath.

What this does is create a severe oxygen debt, which your body
then has to overcome during the rest period. Same mechanism as
performing intense intervals, only taking it to the next level.

Breath holding during specific breathing exercises is a much safer
way to practice it. Holding your breath after inhaling helps flood
your body with life and energy-giving oxygen.

Holding your breath after exhaling helps your body learn how to
adapt to, and recover from, oxygen debt. Over time, this helps
your body become more efficient at processing and using the oxygen
you inhale.

To assuage your concerns, your body has an amazing self-regulatory
capacity. So, unless you are acted upon by an outside force (someone
choking you or covering your mouth and nose), you will not be able
to hold your breath long enough to cause damage.

Those of you with kids may recognize the “I’m gonna hold my
breath” technique, our kids’ feeble attempt to extort something
from us. We ignore it because we know they can not hold their breath
long enough to cause harm.

One caveat, however: if you have high blood pressure or borderline
high blood pressure, a heart condition, or are pregnant, I would
advise against doing any kind of breath holding technique. The
risks in this case are not worth it.

Plus, there are so many exercises available to you that don’t
involve holding your breath, and can really make a difference in
your energy levels and overall health.

You Can Do It!

Karen Van Ness

P.S. If you’re looking for a structured, progressive, and safe
breathing program, you may be interested in the Dynamic Energy
. This includes the two “Secret Power of Dynamic Energy
Exercise” Programs at a special savings.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness. All Rights Reserved

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