The role of breathing for life

Our life begins and ends with a breath and there is never a time when we don’t breathe, if not for a few seconds. Breath is the rhythm that accompanies us throughout our days, so it is easy to take it for granted, or not to perceive its value.

I therefore feel the need to evoke once again its essential role in and for life. So that all of us are more and more aware of it and can easily increase the quality of our lives, preserve our good health and be more in control of our mental states. Breath is indeed a wonderful tool, always available and free of charge!

How is correct breathing?

Proper breathing must start from the abdomen and include every part of the lungs: abdominal, thoracic and clavicular. The lungs should fill from the bottom upwards in inhalation and empty from the top downwards in exhalation.


The respiratory rate is healthier when it is slow: under 13 breaths / minute, even better if it settles on 8-10 breaths per minute. You can measure it now by counting your breaths and setting the timer to one minute, but be careful to follow one natural breathing!

Even better if and when during the day we accompany our movements and actions with conscious breathing.

What happens when we breathe? Biochemistry of breathing

When we breathe, we maintain the sophisticated and subtle balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, which determines the level of oxygenation of the cells and brain and the production of energy.

In addition, through breathing we expel waste substances which, if not properly eliminated, become toxic. The lungs are in fact one of the main organs of the excretory system together with the kidneys, intestines and the skin.

Breathing also has a decisive role in maintaining mental balance, in managing stress and worries and keeping emotional balance, in preserving cognitive efficiency. This is because of its direct impact on specific networks of the brain and on the autonomic nervous system.

What happens when the respiratory balance is altered?

When this delicate balance is altered for various reasons, specific areas of the brain sound the alarm and this deprives us of energy (less energy is produced, ATP), generates emotional imbalance, excessive reactivity and can have different consequences on general health. Similarly, those with health problems such as diabetes, asthma or cardiovascular disease will have a natural tendency to implement an altered breathing rhythm and draw less oxygen from breathing.