Breathing is the source of life: if breathing stops, do does life. On average, an adult breathe 16-18 times per minutes, each time about 500ml of air exchanged in the lungs. When breathing in from the outside air, oxygen content is about 21% while carbon dioxide is 0.03%. On the other hand, breathing out produces about 16.5% oxygen and 4.5% carbon dioxide.
Based on the average of 16-18 breath per minutes, it can be estimated that the volume of air exchanged in the lungs is about 8000-9000ml. From this, the content of both oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanged can also be calculated.
In calculating the air exchanged, there's a factor that needs to be considered: there's about 150ml of air left in the Ineffective Retention.
What is Ineffective Retention?
Ineffective Retention refers to the space between the lungs and the nose, that is, the space in the nasal, throat, trachea, and bronchus which contains residual air of about 150ml. The residual air in Ineffective Retention has more carbon dioxide and lesser oxygen compared to the air outside.
Each inhale of 500ml of air from the outside will include this 150ml residual air in the Ineffective Retention. This means the effective oxygen content in each inhale is in fact lesser than 21%! This means, for every minute, you will be taking in about 2400-2700ml of residual air in the Ineffective Retention space!
Active air volume in the lungs is very important. Thus, through deep breathing, achieved through abdominal breathing ? the air exchange in the lungs can be increased to 2000-6000ml, and at times, exceeding 6000ml!
And with deep breathing, which takes longer time per breath. On average, if you do deep and slow breathing, you can reduce the rate of breathing to 9 times per minutes, taking more than 2000ml of air per inhale. This will in effect, reduce the number of times where the 150 ml of air in the Ineffective Retention going back into the lung. This means that only 1350ml of residual air going back into the lung exchange, but fresh air exchanged is more than 18000ml per minute!
This increases oxygen intake significantly. Blood circulation and metabolism rate will increase, and immune system will be enhanced through deep, abdominal breathing!
This is another proof to show that Tai Chi Breathing has its scientific logic and reason for improving your health conditions and mental well-being. However, the data above showed how health can be improved by deep abdominal breathing alone only.
My system involves 5 Steps of Tai Chi Breathing, and abdominal breathing is only Step 2 of the whole system, and on its on, has shown such tremendous effect on your body health. What about other steps? And if you are interested in learning how to do Tai Chi Breathing correctly, and to make it your habit, go to my website under my signature and find out how.
And may the Energy of Tai Chi be with you! :)
C. Guan Soo
Copyright (C) 2005 C. Guan Soo
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C. Guan Soo is a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner who has 23 years experience in various meditation forms, martial arts, healing, charka healing and meditation as well. He is a keen learner of eastern philosophies including I-Ching, Daoism, Buddhism, Veda's and Jainism. His main website is at: http://www.TaichiExerciseForHealth.com