Breathing Upgrade: Get It Right & Catch Some Serious Air

Patrick McKeown & James Nestor

Learn how you can make even minor adjustments to undo the disruption, dysfunction and damage of modern breathing.
Patrick McKeown, above left. James Nestor, above right.

In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… you’ll learn why every breath you take makes a difference in how your entire body functions. The way you breathe affects the quality of your life and every one of your body systems. Full stop. This goes for adults and kids alike.

In this special edition, breathing experts Patrick McKeown (“THE BREATHING CURE: Develop New Habits for a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life”) and James Nestor (“Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art”) approach the topic from diverse perspectives, but agree on a lot. Especially the benefits of nose breathing and the detriment of mouth breathing. “[Mouth breathing has] a downstream effect on your ability to think, on your ability to exercise, on your ability to basically do anything,” James says.

They explain the biochemical, biomechanics and psychological components of how you breathe. They also present exciting new research in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry and human physiology that shows how making even slight adjustments to the way you inhale dramatically influences things like:

  • sleep and snoring
  • fitness and athletic performance
  • brain function
  • focus and concentration
  • oxygen intake
  • heart rate and blood pressure
  • blood sugar
  • internal organ function
  • nervous system
  • respiratory health
  • asthma and allergies
  • autoimmune disease
  • sex
  • female hormones
  • pain
  • stress and anxiety

That’s just the start of what you can change when you change your breathing. Big claims, yes. All true. And even bigger benefits for you.

“There's information about breathing that's been around for a hundred years, but it has been buried in PubMed. And it's really important to get this into the hands of the general public.”

Patrick McKeown

“We’re talking about basic physiology that can influence all of the major disciplines of medicine, dental health, movement, mental health, sleep, respiration,” Patrick says. “And these are significant. And I think there is a role for breathing and in time, breathing will be embraced in medicine.”

Breathing can nurture your body, center you, and rebalance you. When you start harnessing the power of your breath, you’re going to feel incredibly better than you do right now. 

Patrick McKeown, an author, educator and one of the world’s leading breathing re-education experts, has researched breathing for more than two decades. He brings the benefits of that research to people around the world—from professional to casual athletes to parents and kids. He wants everyone to improve the quality of their breath. He’s creator, CEO and Director of Education and Training at Oxygen Advantage®, Director of Education and Training at Buteyko Clinic International and President of Buteyko Professionals International. He’s written numerous books on how breathing function or dysfunction dramatically affects every body system.

James Nestor, a San Francisco-based science journalist, author, surfer, free diver, adventurer, and speaker, set out on a decade-long quest to find out where our breathing went wrong—and how to fix it. He uncovered the history of ancient breathing techniques and the science behind breathing. His book, “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art,” draws on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology. He takes an intense and interesting look at this most basic human biological function.

There’s more! If you liked this special episode with Patrick and James, you’ll love their full podcasts about breathing. And check the “Links & Resources” section below for other info on how to upgrade your breathing and improve your health.

Enjoy the show!

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  • They had used the power of breathing to hold their breath for 6, 7, 8 minutes at a time and dive down to 300, 350 feet with just a single breath of air. And this completely blew me away. – 1:46
  • As a kid growing up I’d asthma and a stuffy nose. And if you have a stuffy nose, your sleep is really impacted, so I had fatigue, poor concentration. – 3:21
  • We know that there’s so many problems associated with mouth breathing, and the science is very clear on that.  – 4:26
  • I taped my mouth that night and I used breathe right strips as well to keep my nose open.  – 6:37
  • I’m working now with elite police forces, SWAT, Navy SEALs, air forces, Olympians. And when you see high performance individuals taking it on board. – 8:02
  • The reason why humans have crooked teeth, this is something I had never thought about, everyone I knew had crooked teeth, had braces, extractions, all that crap, because our mouths have grown so small the teeth have nowhere to grow.  – 9:44
  • 90 to even 95% of people who attended were females. And I remember thinking, where an earth are all the men? Because it was the men who were dying most by suicide. – 11:14
  • So the idea that breathing more is going to bring more oxygen to your hungry cells is completely false. You need to breathe in line with your metabolic needs, which almost always means breathing less than you think you should and breathing slowly.  – 13:34
  • In your book you talk about reducing the rate of breathing to between 4.5 and 6.5 times a minute. – 15:36
  • Take 10 minutes twice a day or 20 minutes twice daily and pay attention to your breathing. You could choose a good average of six breaths per minute, breathing in for five seconds and breathing out for five seconds.  – 16:11
  • What I really want to do is improving functional breathing patterns. And this of course can be assessed by using a simple tool called the bolt score. – 21:57
  • So oxygen increased in their brains. Circulation increased. Their heart rates lowered. Blood pressure lowered.  – 25:41

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