Spa Business issue 2 2021

Page 53

Patrick McKeown author, Oxygen Advantage; and Breathing Cure

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unctional breathing is fundamental to health and wellness. Nose breathing affects the immune system through the uptake of nasal nitric oxide. Diaphragm breathing impacts stress management and disease via the autonomic nervous system. Light breathing normalises the body’s chemistry by balancing carbon dioxide and oxygen and it improves sleep, making sure you get enough healing deep-stage rest. If someone comes to a spa to feel better, and they’re suffering the effects of Long COVID, it makes sense to offer breath coaching. As long as the methods and programmes are science-backed and taught by certified instructors, spas offer the perfect setting.

As long as methods are science-backed and taught by certified instructors, spas offer the perfect setting

Low blood oxygen saturation is typical of COVID. This can be corrected using breathing exercises. And research shows it’s common for people with Long COVID to lose their sense of identity. Breath awareness and conscious breathing provide a gentle but effective way to reconnect. Certification [of providers] is crucial because there’s so much

that can be misunderstood or misapplied. Particularly in the case of Long COVID. But also for people with anxiety and panic disorder, incorrect teaching can do more harm than good. The Oxygen Advantage® offers online and in-person instructor training courses. These cover the science and practice behind such breathing techniques. Over the last 19 years, I’ve seen many people with asthma experience a 50 per cent reduction in symptoms within a fortnight

of attending my workshops. Restorative breathwork is progressive, but practitioners enjoy long-term benefits. Breathing exercises are also incredibly portable. Once you’ve learned the techniques, you can practise anytime, anywhere – which is empowering for anyone who wants to take back control of their wellbeing. ■■Patrick McKeown is a world-renowned author and breathing practitioner and was clinically trained in the Buteyko Breathing Method in Russia. www.oxygenadvantage.com

Alex Tsuk founder, Breathing Cold

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eople go to spas because they want to be well and in the coming years we’ll see them wanting to be educated about their health. They’ll want to learn to breathe better and to understand how it can help all aspects of their life – from sleeping better and aiding digestion to releasing anxiety and stress and improving longevity and physical performance. Breathwork, as it’s usually offered, aims to help people access an altered state of consciousness to release and resolve trauma through open mouth, connected breathing. This is associated with upper chest, short and rapid breath. But for people suffering from Long COVID, nose breathing, which focuses on deep, slow inhalations and exhalations through the nostrils and breath retention, is the key. Nose breathing, encourages

Humming naturally triples the production of nitric oxide which doctors add artificially to oxygen to treat COVID and Long COVID

the release of nitric oxide (NO) to repair the nervous system. Oxygen with added NO is actually prescribed by doctors to treat COVID and its after effects. Humming is known to be particularly effective in increasing NO, it’s a natural way to triple the production of it. NO also dilates blood vessels, enabling more oxygen to be delivered throughout the body which ultimately improves lung capacity and boosts the immune system.

Breathwork is fairly simple and you don’t necessarily need a therapist or doctor to administer it. In my five-week online training course, practitioners cover all breathing techniques (not just my method) and potential risks so they can adjust their offering according to the needs of their clients. The key to any successful programme is consistency and repetition and preferably clients take home the learnings and practise breathing every day. Developing awareness of the breath is the most important part, along with mindset. My

method, for example, combines breathwork and ice-cold immersion. Cold exposure is an amazing tool as it activates the body’s natural healing powers, but, most importantly it’s not about embracing the cold, it’s about embracing the discomfort and ultimately supporting your physiological and mental state of being. This enables people to focus on a positive attitude. ■■Alex Tsuk offers online breathing courses for practitioners and runs specialist workshops, including some for Marc Cohen’s Extreme Wellness retreats. www.breathingcold.com

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