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The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You Become Healthier, Slimmer, Faster, and Fitter Paperback – November 29, 2016
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“I’m an NFL wide receiver and my Bolt Score was 13. Three weeks later it’s 30 and improving; running has gotten so much easier. I’m in better shape for another opportunity because I’m so much better at the simple act of breathing. It really does add up!” (Jay Wisner, NFL Free Agent)
“Patrick McKeown, breathing trainer and author of The Oxygen Advantage, recommends breathing through your nose…It’ll feel weird, but within a few weeks, you’ll notice you can exercise longer and don’t tire as quickly.” (Dr. Oz The Good Life)
From the Back Cover
THE SECRET TO HEALTH, FITNESS, AND WEIGHT LOSS LIES IN HOW YOU BREATHE.
One of the biggest obstacles to your health and fitness is a rarely identified problem—and one that is unknown outside of medical journals: chronic overbreathing. We can breathe two to three times more air than required without even knowing it, and chronic overbreathing leads to loss of health and poor fitness and contributes to problems such as anxiety, asthma, fatigue, insomnia, heart problems, and even obesity.
Within minutes you can improve the amount of oxygen delivered to active muscles and organs by changing how you breathe, using the simple and easy-to-apply techniques in this book. Whether you’re an elite athlete looking to simulate high-altitude training or an everyday person looking for more daily stamina and health benefits, these revolutionary, scientifically validated breathing exercises have the potential to maximize and drastically improve your current performance level.
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However, it seems that the author has fallen into the trap that “for a hammer everything looks like a nail” and the word cherry picking comes to mind when the author argues on basis of studies.
When I started following the training and recommendations in the book I experienced a stressful situation at my job. My blood pressure was in this period dangerously elevated (above 160/100). Following the training, avoiding taking deep breaths, apnea walks etc. it got to a point where I had to stop doing it because I could feel my tension and headaches increase. Author strongly discourages deep breaths, sighs etc, but after looking into the literature, I discovered that there is quite a lot of evidence for lowering BP with deep breaths. I managed to get my stress in check and my blood pressure in tolerance by conducting 3x5 min slow deep breaths sessions per day. There is no support in literature for benefits of avoiding taking slow deep breaths and sighs - on the contrary there is evidence that deep breaths can lower blood pressure (there is an FDA approved device that facilitate this). It is after all a common technique among free divers to lower heart rate before a dive with slow deep breaths (not hyper ventilation).
My biggest complaint about this book is that it is full of cherry-picking studies and dubious claims and correlations. For example, that over breathing is the main cause of cancer is implied. The documentation? Some African rats live in a CO2 high environment and they rarely get cancer. Not considering that there are other much more plausible explanations for this (genes for example.)
The book also makes a bold claim that because of Nitrogen Oxide produced in the nasal cavities, nose breathing leads to harder erections and better sex life. The study mentioned is a study where patients with polyps removed improved their erectile dysfunction. Why not conduct a study were mouth breathers with Erectile dysfunction is instructed to breathe through the nose and compare this to a control group? I do not see strong enough evidence for this bold claim… at least not yet.
Also, the author refers to a New York study of elite sportspeople, who supposedly dies younger than the general population. Without a screed of proof that there is a connection, the claim is made that it is because they breathe too much. Again, there could be 1000 other explanations for this. And by the way, there are other studies showing that Olympic athletes, live on average 2,8 years longer than public in eight of nine countries.
If you look into freediving and CO2 training, it is important to give the body restitution after CO2 Training. Preferably a day after each training. Looking at the proposed training schedule for my BOLT score, the training load is just way to high compered to the recommendations from experienced free divers. The body needs restitution.
The good part of this book is that it learned and convinced me to breathe through the nose, and yes, I sleep now with tape covering my mouth. Running, kayaking, kitesurfing, walking is done with breathing through my nose, great.. I do my apnea walks and CO2 tables based on my previous freediving experience in one session, but only every second day. An yes, I lost 1 kg of very stubborn fat, not much but I am fairly slim allready. I just wish that the author would stop being a hammer and look at everything like nails.
Proper breathing is every bit as important to your health as is eating the right foods or drinking fresh, pure water. Yet, if you're like most people, you take your breathing for granted! What’s more, there is a good chance that the way you are breathing may be hurting you without you even realizing it. While breathing is a fundamentally natural function, it can be negatively influenced by many factors of modern living, such as stress, sitting at a desk all day and even excessive talking. In fact, about 80 percent of the Western population breathes incorrectly—typically by overbreathing.
Most of us are taught if we want to relax or prepare for an important event to take deep breaths. Paradoxically this can actually be one of your worst actions. Why? When you overbreathe, you deplete the carbon dioxide levels in your blood. That may seem desirable, since carbon dioxide is often considered a waste product, but your body actually needs healthy levels of carbon dioxide to release oxygen from the hemoglobin in your blood cells to your tissues. If the CO2 level is too low the oxygen will bind too strongly to hemoglobin and will not be released.
If you have low CO2 levels due to breathing too rapidly or heavily, the smooth muscles around your airways also constrict. This constriction creates a negative feedback loop that can lead to chronic hyperventilating and serious health challenges. It also impairs the production of nitric oxide which causes your blood vessels to tighten, reduces blood flow to your heart and could lead to a heart attack.
The most common form of overbreathing is breathing through your mouth. Remember your mouth was designed for eating, not breathing. When you breathe through your mouth, the air bypasses your nose, sinuses and nasal passages and enters your lungs directly without the benefit of filtration and temperature and moisture regulation that these tissues provide.
While it seems that taking deeper breaths through your mouth allows you to bring more oxygen into your body, , the opposite actually happens. This is because your blood is nearly already saturated with oxygen, typically around 97-99% and breathing more simply won’t add more oxygen to your tissues. The key is releasing the oxygen bound to your red blood cells to release the oxygen. This only occurs when your CO2 levels are high enough. So excessive breathing drives your CO2 levels lower making it harder to deliver oxygen to your tissues. To test this theory out, rapidly take five or six deep breaths in and out of your mouth and see how you feel. Most people will begin to experience some light-headedness or dizziness, which is related to low CO2 levels.
Sadly new research shows that mouth breathing is associated with many health problems, including common ones like asthma, anxiety and sleep apnea and most also likely plays a role in many chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. The first step to improving your breathing is simply to breathe through your nose, not through your mouth. Nasal breathing has a number of advantages for your health AND your fitness, because your nose and sinuses “pre-treat" air as it enters your body.
There are a number of ways to improve your breathing and re-train yourself to breathe through your nose. My clear favorite though is the Buteyko Method, named for the Russian physician who developed it in the 1950s. Dr. Buteyko discovered that the level of carbon dioxide in your lungs correlates to your ability to hold your breath after normal exhalation, and he developed a simple self-test to determine your CO2 levels that is taught in the book.
The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick Mckeown is currently the best reference work to teach Buteyko breathing exercises that are taught and demonstrated in this book are one of the best strategies to permanently resolve asthma without dangerous drugs and relieve anxiety and sleep apnea. Part of the Buteyko Method involves breath-hold exercises designed to simulate the effects of high-altitude training. This is another major benefit for those who compete in athletics. When your body is exposed reduced oxygen levels—such as the experience of high altitude, or by holding the breath—many metabolic adaptations take place. These adjustments improve the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood and widens your blood vessels.
Top international reviews
".....CO2 (Carbon dioxide)....is the key variable that allows the release of oxygen from the red blood cells to be metabolized by the body. This is called the Bohr Effect...........Discovered over a hundred years ago the Bohr Effect explains the release of oxygen to working muscles and organs.........the amount of CO2 present in our blood cells determines how much oxygen we can use.......How we breath determines the level of CO2 present in our blood."
With application and understanding,in a few days,with very little effort,you to could begin to learn to reset your brains receptors to tolerate higher levels of CO2.Having a higher tolerance for CO2 will greatly benefit your mind,body and spirit.
"There is an intelligence that operates within our bodies,far greater than that within the mind.........The intelligence of the mind is but a mere fraction of the natural intelligence that resides within the body........by taking your attention from incessant thinking and directing your senses into the inner body,you will be able to draw from the stillness and intelligence residing there."
A worthwhile read.
Patrick explains, in depth, various types of breathing for various afflictions based on the Buteyko breathing methods developed to teach people how to breathe properly.
If you suffer from: Asthma, heart conditions, anxiety (just to name a few) Patrick explains how and why the various methods work and they work beautifully! They are very easy to understand and implement.
I am not being paid for my review in any way.
I just wanted to share my experience with the breathing techniques with you and my thoughts about the innovative insights for people like me who don’t yet have any specific health problems. And I’m looking forward to stay healthy with all the great information out there, including your knowledge and your shared experiences with thousands of people, working with them and changing their lives to the better.
For me the formula „Breathe Light to Breathe Right“ helped to get more focused in everyday live. I can concentrate better while working on my tasks on the computer. But more important, I first just had to stop breathing through my mouth while working on the computer. I would never have thought it myself that my mouth breathing while working impeded my concentration, my productivity and probably finally my career (or at least my wellbeing). I’m so glad that I discovered your book (thanks to Amazon recommendations).
Now to my insights with breathing reduction and my heart rate variability, which captured my attention 3 years ago and began to really change the view of my health and my autonomy in this area of my life. With the HRV analysis using the Autonom Health tool and using the Elite HRV App on my iPhone, I found out that the best way for me to heighten my heart rate variability is to do the exercise „Breathe Light to Breathe Right“. Compared to a guided breathing session (with Elite HRV) my HRV is even better doing reduced breathing (contrary to the notion that coherent breathing with 3–6 breaths per minute is the best way to train your nervous system and heighten the HRV). It gets higher when my SpO2 drops to 93% and lower. Maybe it is a stress response and the effect is not the same in the long run as with the coherent breathing technique without breathing reduction?
I’ve also been practicing the exercise „High Altitude Training“ since last Sommer and changed my BOLT Score from under 20 seconds to 30 until 40 seconds or more (additionally I keep this Score using a tape on my mouth while sleeping, as recommended by you). According to my HRV analysis with Autonom Heath, my health and my fitness is really good (unfortunately I just began to measure this seriously some weeks ago and not already last summer before I began to implement your exercises). However, I had some problems to heighten my BOLT Score sustainably and it dropped under 30 after having stopped the regular exercise of breathing light to breathe right (just keeping the mouth breathing day and night and High Altitude Simulation while walking at least 3–4 times per week). At the moment I do the exercise every morning and evening for 15 minutes and heightened the score to 40 seconds again, which corresponds with my feeling of being able to stay focused longer in my working day and to get things done better and with more energy and enthusiasm.
The book is worth reading as i discovered many interesting topics that’s always interested me:
- breathing and performance
- breathing and quality and duration of sleep
- breathing and morning freshness
I also was surprised to discover that author connects nasal breathing to developing facial features, shape of nose, jaw and teeth.
I’m currently incorporating breathing practices into my routines and excited to see how i’ll go.
While i was’t particularly fan of the writing style: 30% in and author is still selling his method via anecdotes, i did like the summaries at the end of the book.
1. interesting read worth the time.
2. will see how it’ll affect me: so far so goood.
Years ago I started practicing yoga and learned diaphragmatic breathing, and I thought that I was breathing correctly. I suffered with many respiratory symptoms, and never thought that my breathing may be the problem. After reading this book, and trying some of the exercises, I realize that I was breathing much more volume than I needed. In effect I was hyperventilating without knowing it, thinking that it was good for me.
For me this is a very helpful book!
I also purchased the DVD set and find that it complements this book.