• Karen Sribney

Breathe! But keep your trap shut.

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

Happy 2016! So, I am not one to make New Year’s resolutions – I feel that we should work on our self-awareness and making changes all year long.

Remember, my first education was as a psychologist! But, I am resolving to take care of my blog this year.

For Christmas, my father gave me a book called “The Oxygen Advantage” by Patrick McKeown. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me because, as a child, my dentist father would make us children chew our gum with the wrapper between our lips to get us to breathe through our nose. More recently, he has encouraged a lot of us in the family to tape our mouths closed at night to ensure that we nose breathe all night long and to help with the snorers (I don’t snore, do I?!)

In November of 2015, a colleague of mine was doing an intro to the Buteyko Method breathing course that I could not attend so I suggested that my dad attend and report back to me. Once my dad gets onto a subject he finds interesting, there’s no stopping him. Thus, many a discussion of the importance of closing our maws and breathing through our nose ensued, and ultimately, my Christmas gift.

This book is a great read for anything from improving your daily functioning, to losing weight, and improving your athletic performance. It speaks to the importance of teaching our children to breathe through their noses as it actually changes the structure of their faces as they develop. As McKeown points out, there is a reason that Hollywood depicts people who aren’t especially bright as being “mouth breathers.” You CAN actually see the difference in their facial appearance.

Since I started reading this book, I started REALLY paying attention to my breathing and was surprised how often I found my mouth open to breathe. I have started practicing some of the exercises McKeown offers in this book and can now do a half hour cycling session with harder intervals all breathing through my nose. The changes happen quickly.

Patrick McKeown has taken what he has learned from Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, which consists of a series of breathing exercises and guidelines to reduce what is called “over-breathing.” These exercises and guidelines have been suggested to “resolve and relieve symptoms of breathing problems such as:

  • Asthma

  • AD/HD

  • Rhinitis/Hay fever

  • Anxiety

  • Dental Health

  • Stress

  • Snoring

  • Sleep apnea"

If you are interested in this topic, go the McKeown’s website to see all the books he has written and to get more information.


If you would like to get some one-on-one training or have a group of people who are interested, contact my colleague Lorraine Clifford, who has been trained in this method. A client of mine did this training and has seen significant improvements in her asthma symptoms.




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