Breathing is crucial for both our physical and mental wellbeing, and the quality of the air you breathe is extremely important. Most of us carefully consider the quality of the food and water we put into our bodies, yet we rarely think about the quality of the air we inhale.
Benefits of deep breathing As well as taking in oxygen, breathing is the way the body expels carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste products – around 70% of body toxins are expelled through the lungs. Breathing deeply allows the diaphragm to drop downwards and the rib cage to expand, which creates space for the lungs to inflate.
Breathing is vital for both our physical function and our mental wellbeing. Mastering the art of deep breathing can help reduce the heart rate and bring feelings of calmness, peace and relaxation. It also strengthens the respiratory system which can improve physical performance (e.g. in sports) and be of great benefit to those suffering chronic lung conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Interstitial lung disease (ILD).
The British Lung Foundation organises singing for lung health groups across the UK, where participants can practise extending their lung capacity in an informal and fun setting, with gentle physical warm ups, vocal exercises and short songs. This has been found to be an especially good way of improving the quality of life for those living with a lung condition.
For more information see: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/singing-for-lung-health
Improving air quality
The average adult takes over 20,000 breaths per day. Did you know that indoor air can contain up to five times more pollutants than in outdoor air? From mould spores to pollen to Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) the air at home may not be quite as pure as we think! If you react to airborne allergens or simply want to breathe cleaner air, then you may want to look into air filters for home or work.
There are a number of different technologies used within air purification systems:
- Filters are used in many purifiers to remove airborne particles, and the effectiveness varies depending on the particle size being removed. HEPA filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) are very effective and trap over 99.9% of particles.
- Ionisers generate electrically charged ions which bond to airborne particles before being attracted to a collector plate. Ionizers may incorporate fans to increase efficiency. Note that this mechanism is controversial as it produces trace amounts of ozone and other undesirable oxidants, although these are stated to be within ‘safe’ limits.
- UVGI (Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) is the use of UV light within purification filters to eradicate micro-organisms from the atmosphere.
- Thermodynamic sterilization (TSS) is the use of heat to sterilize and remove microbes from the air, including bacteria, viruses, dust mites, moulds and fungus spores.
The size of a room will impact the effectiveness of the system, so if you are thinking of investing then make sure that the product you buy is appropriate for the space you wish to treat.