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How to Breathe (psyche.co)
41 points by freediver 62 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

Every time one of these articles come up it's always the same:

Article author: "Hey breathing like this can make you relax and focus"

Me: "Cool! Let me keep reading!"

Article author: "Also it cures Asthma and a bunch of other ailments. Don't listen to doctors that call it Alternative Medicine. Some doctor in Russia says it works."

Me: "God dammit"

My view is a bit more pragmatic....

I used to don ever thicker layers of neoprene to survive in the sea.... and still my hands would go pasty white and lose all feeling and function.

Then I read about this guy and thought, never mind the theories, he does actually swim in water with literal chunks of ice floating about in it, so ok, lets try it.

And yup, it works. I now swim in ordinary trunks and my hands go a beet red and carry on working.

So what's my theory?

Dead simple. I have a big log of fuel (overweight with a big tummy) I just need to get it burning well. ie. Get the bellows going and get it burning.

Toss in this bit of plain observational science... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_cycle

ie. Your nostrils can and do change size.

My guess is the "breathe lots and then hold your breathe" triggers the nostrils to expand so it's easier to breathe lots.

Is there any more to it? I don't know don't care. I just know I feel better after one of these cold swims.

Weird. But true.

In retrospect, I'm not surprised that such a facility exists within humans. After all, many other animals survive in cold conditions, early indigenous tribes did and still do.

Wim is different. He submits himself to researchers because he also wants to find out why it works (he doesn’t know, but wants to).

But usually your comment holds.

Well, what makes you so sure about your worldview?

How do you become so confident, I want to know?

The medical research community as a whole is vastly superior at understanding the human body than either you or I. I lean heavily on current medical research consensus to form my views. Those views aren't static. They change over time as we hypothesize, study, and improve our understanding of the human body.

What we can't do is make unfounded statements like the author of the article. That leads to people who don't trust medicine or whatever trying these kind of things instead of just getting their kid a fucking inhaler.

What makes you so confident that you know better than people who study, practice, and research medicine their whole lives?

Philosophy used to be the study of most things, including what cannot be understood. Nowadays philosophy is mostly musing about consciousness and science is about splitting things. There might be a benefit to reasoning that relies on a faith in something more we cannot fully comprehend, such as that arrived at by sitting meditation with focus on breath. Getting thinking mind out of the way of “natural mind” may not cure asthma, but it may allow our bodies to do what they do naturally to become healthier…and the mind may benefit as well during the process by allowing thoughts to settle and be noted for what they are.

Do you know what they call alternative medicine that works?


Yes, and the future is already here, it's just poorly distributed.

I think a lot of the folks on HN are here to stay ahead of the curve.

Sometimes there is alternative medicine that has not really been tested. But a lot of alternative therapies—acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic—have been tested exhaustively by the scientific community and found to be either completely ineffective, marginally effective in some cases when combined with standard treatment, or even dangerous in the case of chiropractic.

In your opinion, where can I find resources about solid medical research results on acupuncture and chiropractic? Thanks.

As someone who swims in the South Island seas of NZ Winter, Rain, Snow and Hail.... Wim Hof is on to something. It works.

This guy is not Wim Hof. He was 'inspired' by what he learned from Wim Hof and others to go teach his own kind of 'integrative breathwork'.

On the subject of breathing in general I highly recommend James Nestor’s Breath

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art https://www.amazon.com/dp/0735213615/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_...

And numerous podcast interviews by James.

These had life changing takeaways for me. Main one being - running with mouth closed, with exhales much longer than inhales.

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