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Air is the second most important element of the 5 major elements- Space (Akash), Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jal), Air (Vaayu) and Fire (Agni). Air Therapy is referred to as naturopathic cure where fresh air is used for treatment. We cannot live without air for long as we feel suffocated or say just 1 minute without air and we start feeling breathless. Our daily air intake is 7 times the food we eat or the water we drink. Breathing fresh air is highly important as it relates to more than 100 muscles and essential for good health.c
Benefits of Air Therapy
- Shows positive effects on heart health as more oxygen is pumped to heart muscles.
- Deep breaths could prolong life-span.
- Enhances the health of other body organs such as lungs, abdomen, diaphragm, kidneys also pancreas.
- Improves the digestive system and keeps laziness at bay.
- Aids in taking toxins out of the body thus improving immunity.
Air Therapy Techniques
Nature has a lot in store for all. It not only nourishes but even cures. Airbath is of the most basic health-giving gifts provided by Nature. Airbath, commonly known as ‘Morning walk’ is one of the basic therapies of traditional naturopathy that is highly beneficial if one connects with nature as well as breathes deeply while walking in the fresh air.
Objective of Airbath
Airbath involves the exposure of the body to the swirling currents of moving air which enables cool air currents to stimulate the skin capillaries by constricting and extending them. As the skin cools, pores and surface capillaries first contract, following which, warm blood rushes to the surface causing dilation of pores and capillaries, thus generating warming of the skin. The mechanism not only exercises skin pores, blood vessels as well as glands but at the same time strengthens enhanced skin circulation, oxidation & removal at the same time. Importantly, an air bath that produces chill without reactive warming is weakening rather than strengthening.
Benefits of Airbath
- Cleanses deeply.
- Tones skin plays a vital role in respiration, blood circulation as well as excretion.
- Promotes positive thoughts thus improving mental health.
- Strengthens muscles.
- Increased intake of fresh air (O2) improves blood purification & proper blood supply to the heart.
- Hardly pressurizes the heart and healthy for all.
- Walking on dew-drenched grass improves eyesight.
Note: The two major factors to always be aware of in this concern are air temperature and the person’s level of vitality. Less is often more in the case of weak, ill, elderly or very young individuals.
Breathing is not just a process of intake or out throw of air by the body but a systematic approach to keep fit & healthy thus breathing needs to be focused.
Types of breathing
1. Abdominal breathing
Involves deep breathing through the abdomen. For this firstly sit in meditative position completely relaxing the body. Now place the right hand on the abdomen, inhale such that right-hand moves out & finally exhale such that the right-hand moves in. Avoid expanding chest or moving shoulders.
2. Thoracic breathing
Involves deep breathing through the chest. For this firstly sit in meditative posture relaxing the entire body & breathing normally. Now focusing on chest motion inhale slowly expanding the rib cage & feeling the movement of each rib. Expand the chest as much as possible & finally exhale relaxing the chest muscles also feels the rib cage contract forcing air out of the lungs.
3. Clavicular breathing
Is an advanced step of thoracic breathing. For this firstly sit in meditative posture relaxing the entire body. Starting with thoracic breathing, inhale expanding the ribs. Once fully expanded, inhale a little more allowing the shoulders & collar bone to move up slightly. Now exhale slowly first releasing lower neck & upper chest and then the rest of ribcage.
4. Thoraco-Abdominal breathing (Yogic)
Is a combination of all 3(Abdominal, Thoracic & Clavicular) & used in most pranayamas. As you inhale, firstly the abdomen expands, then ribcage/chest and finally collar bone & shoulders move up. Now exhale relaxing lower neck & upper chest first, followed by contracting the rest of the ribcage & finally contracting the abdomen. Benefits of Thoraco-Abdominal breathing:
- Gains control on the breath.
- Rectifies faulty breathing habits.
- Increases oxygen intake.
- Relaxes the nerves during stress & anger.
Proper breathing Technique
- One must inhale through the nose as small hairs & mucous membranes present in the nose filter air before it enters the body.
- Both chest & abdomen ought to move in sequence. Movement of chest alone indicates shallow breathing & improper use of the lower part of the lungs
Benefits of 10 minute breathing exercise:
- It promotes natural breathing.
- Stimulates energetic powers.
- Enhances immunity.
- Beneficial for Asthmatic, Diabetic as well as Obsessed people.
- Fights against gastric problems, indigestion, constipation etc.
- Pregnant women & people with high BP/Hypertension, hyperacidity, gastric ulcers & hernia should not go in for these exercises.
- People who undergo surgery too should avoid these exercises for at least 6 months.
Air Therapy is advantageous when practiced with morning cold rub and exercises. To benefit from air therapy, you’ll likely need more than one session based on your medical condition. Reach out to the naturopath air therapist for better guidance.