The New Science of A Lost ArtBook - 2020
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2020
Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR
"A fascinating scientific, cultural, spiritual and evolutionary history of the way humans breathe--and how we've all been doing it wrong for a long, long time." --Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love
No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you're not breathing properly.
There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.
Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of São Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe.
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is.
Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.
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Once in a while, helping a library patron or on the trail of a certain book or author, some odd tidbit in the catalog will grab my attention. A recent example: I discovered that the new book by James Nestor had several dozen holds on it, and at that time we owned only one copy. "Wait," you say. "Who's James Nestor?" You're forgiven if you haven't read all of my blog posts. I mentioned him a… (more)
From Library Staff
LPL_HazlettH Mar 09, 2021
A light read thanks to its optimistic (if, perhaps, naive) premise -- if you can manage to breathe your nose most of the time, you'll see big gains in physiological and cognitive function! Books like this, where the answers come easily and intuitively, make me scared that we have it all wrong: wh... Read More »
Jake, Info Services
From the critics
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Nasal breathing. Page 45
“Working together, the different areas of the turbinates [six maze-like bones that begin at the opening of your nostrils and end below your eyes] will heat, clean, slow, and pressurize air so that the lungs can extract more oxygen with each breath. This is why nasal breathing is far more healthy and efficient than breathing through the mouth.”
Mouthbreathing and Sleep. Pages 29-30:
“Mouthbreathing causes the body to lose 40% more water. I felt this all night, every night, waking up constantly parched and dry. You’d think this moisture loss would decrease the need to urinate, but, oddly, the opposite was true.
During the deepest, most restful stages of sleep, the pituitary gland, a pea-size ball at the base of the brain, secretes... vasopressin, which communicates with cells to store more water. This is how animals can sleep through the night without feeling the need to relieve themselves.
But if the body has inadequate time in deep sleep, as it does when it experiences chronic sleep apnea, vasopressin won’t be secreted normally. The kidneys will release water, which triggers the need to urinate and signals our brains that we should consume more liquid.”
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