Slow steady and correct diaphragmatic breathing can help balance body pH levels.
To lay a solid foundation for optimal health, it is important for your body to maintain a balance between two types of chemical compounds—acid and base. The measurement of these compounds in your body is known as the pH.
Measuring your pH can assist in gauging when your body is out of balance. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14 where measurement of 7 is neutral. Anything less than 7 is considered acidic (acidosis), and anything above 7 is considered alkaline (alkalosis)
The normal range for pH in humans is 7.35 to 7.45.When ph balance is off-kilter and becomes too acidic or too alkaline; many cellular processes become impaired, setting the stage for developing multitude of diseases.
The body has many intrinsic ways to keep ph in balance, known as buffering systems, involving your kidneys and lungs.
But, if the body needs to adjust pH more quickly, it can do it by altering breathing rate and depth.
At times of stress, we experience shortness of breath. Once you start feeling it, you become more nervous and anxious. Anxiety can tighten your chest muscles and this makes you start to breathe faster and shallow – leading to hyperventilation.
The resulting hyperventilation reduces concentration of co2 in the blood. Arterial co2, through several independent biochemical mechanisms, elevates blood ph and cause respiratory alkalosis.
Alkalosis can cause electrolyte imbalance and result in some unwanted side effects. Some of them are
- Muscle cramps
- Inhibition of breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Lower blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Confusion and many more
The idea behind relaxed complete breathing is that it raises the carbon dioxide level in the blood (less exhalations per minute), which nudges the pH level back to a less alkaline state. As the blood’s pH balances, the parasympathetic nervous system calms us by stimulating the vagus nerve to secrete acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that lowers the heart rate.
This increase in CO2 level is only a relative increase. It is not a pathological mechanism that would require your brainstem to increase respirations.
Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing reduces chemoreceptor sensitivity
Normally, our breathing rate, depth and rhythm are controlled by brainstem. Many other central and peripheral regulatory factors influence our breathing. Of these most important are chemoreceptors and pulmonary stretch receptors.
Chemoreceptors can influence breathing rate by detecting oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. With Continuous practice of slow relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, we expose our central chemoreceptors to higher levels of co2 levels. This can reduce their sensitivity to CO2 levels and reduces sympathetic nervous system activation, which can alter pH by increasing respiratory rate.
Less is more
Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing balances pH by not only raising the carbon dioxide levels but also oxygen levels. Studies have proved that the more we breathe, the less oxygen is delivered to the vital organs of our body. Whereas, relaxed diaphragmatic diaphragmatic breathing maximizes the amount of oxygen going into the blood stream.
The Bottom line is if we were able to breathe in a slow and relaxed diaphragmatic manner for even a small percentage of the more than 15,000 breaths we take every day, we would be taking a huge step not only towards preventing many of the diseases, but also toward supporting our own inner growth.