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Ways to stay healthy during Covid-19 NZ lockdown

The power of breath and fresh air to boost immunity

The benefits of breathing in fresh air, particularly during the colder months, is one of the simplest, cheapest ways to strengthen the immune system. 

Breathing helps body, mind and soul, and there are powerful, simple breathwork techniques that are easy to learn that will create a healthier, happier life.

Health benefits of breathing

Breathing deeply fills our lungs with oxygen and empties them of carbon dioxide and toxins. This process strengthens the muscles of our diaphragm, and has been shown to calm our heart rate, and lower blood pressure.

Lungs dilate when we breathe in oxygen to cleanse them, while stimulating our white blood cells to fight and kill bacteria and germs. Deep breathing also improves brain function and focus, elevates energy and improves the digestive system.

Breath improves mood

Breathing deeply provides more oxygen flow into our blood reaching more organs including the brain, which releases the happy hormone, serotonin, which makes us more uplifted and positive.

Getting outside and stepping away from work or even being dormant on the couch will also help your body to produce vitamin D, which helps our bodies regulate moods and keep depression at bay.

Getting out in the fresh air for a walk to fill your lungs, or sitting on a balcony is ideal. But when you can’t leave home, get the windows open for some part of every day to let fresh air circulate. And ensure air conditioning filters are clean to reduce allergens and dust - ideally every 30 days. 

Breathwork techniques that work

The Wim Hof Method was created by a Dutch extreme athlete. It is a system that sets out to consciously control the immune system and autonomous systems of the body through a series of techniques that include breathwork and exposure to very cold temperatures. 

It works through creating rapid breathing hyperventilation to create an oxygen “high”. Part of the practice can involve submerging in ice cold water.

SOMA Therapeutic Breathwork is another powerful technique, created by Niraj Naik who healed himself from chronic illness. This breathwork is said to make normal breathing more efficient, heal issues of the central nervous system, and boost creativity and mental wellness. The method involves speeding up breathing over time then holding no breath for a sustained period. 

Both the Wim Hof and SOMA breathwork techniques are based on the holistic systems of meditation and Pranayama controlled breathing that works on a spiritual and cellular level to connect body and mind. Its practitioners experience a multitude of mind and body benefits.

In the body, they report increased sports performance with better stamina, endurance, fitness and recovery, as well as faster metabolism, and improved cardiovascular health. 

In the mind, they say they have seen reduced stress, enhanced sleep, and improved mental clarity and alertness. They find decision making easier, and report a heightened sense of wellbeing, reduced fear and panic, with improved confidence and self esteem.

Stay safe

While these methods won’t stop the virus, it will ensure the body stays alkaline, rather than acidic (where viruses thrive), and will boost immunity to improve health outcomes.

It’s important you keep isolated and away from others during this unprecedented time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of stepping outside to enjoy the fresh air, or trying out new breathing techniques to restore calm and peace within.

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