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Process of Breathing

Process of Breathing

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Published by ssmaddi
breathing process
breathing process

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Published by: ssmaddi on Aug 01, 2013
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Processes in BreathingRespiration
 An average adult at rest inhales and exhales about sixteen times per minute. Each time, half a liter (about a pint) of air is drawn in and expelled. At the end of a normal expiration, one may force out an additional liter anda half of air, leaving about an additional liter in the lungs which cannot beforced out. Also, after normal inspiration, one may inspire an additional oneand a half liters. So it is possible to increase the amount of air inspired andexpired during each breath from half a liter to three and a half liters.Not all of the air breathed can be used by the body because some mustremain to fill the nose or mouth, sinuses, larynx, trachea, bronchi and their larger branches. This is the "dead air" in contrast with "alveolar air" whichparticipates in gas exchange. The shallower the breathing, the larger becomes the percentage of dead air in each breath. But also, in shallowbreathing, more impurities are retained.Most breathing exercises in yoga have the effect of increasing both theamount and percentage of air which enters actively into the purifyinggaseous exchange processes.The air inhaled normally consists of about 79% nitrogen, about 20% to 21%oxygen, about 0.04% carbon dioxide, with traces of other gases and water vapor. Exhaled air often consists of about 79% nitrogen, about 16%oxygen, about 4% carbon dioxide, with traces of other gases and water vapor. Since the nitrogen content remains approximately the same themost significant change during the breathing process is an exchange of about 4% oxygen for about 4% carbon dioxide.
When the percentage of oxygen exchanged for carbon dioxide remains thesame, the total amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanged per minute tends to increase as a greater air volume is breathed. One may, bystrenuous exercise, increase the volume of ventilation to ten times theresting level. Or one may deliberately force increased ventilation withoutexercise. When muscular exercise increases, the body needs moreoxygen. When ventilation is forced intentionally, some increase in oxygencontent and decrease in carbon dioxide content of the alveoli and bloodmay be expected. Part of the aim of both deep breathing exercises andposture movements and rests is to "purify" (increase the ratio of oxygen tocarbon dioxide) the blood and the various parts of the body through which
blood circulates.The interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is possible because of thestructure of the cells joining the alveoli and the capillaries and the laws andprocesses of gas exchange. The movement of carbon dioxide from theblood to the alveoli takes place by diffusion. In diffusion, the carbon dioxidemoves from the rich side to the lean side. When the blood contains morecarbon dioxide than the air, the carbon dioxide will diffuse from the blood tothe air. If, on the other hand, the air is rich in carbon dioxide, the diffusion of carbon dioxide from the blood to the air is inhibited. In extreme cases thecarbon dioxide may even diffuse or flow from the air into the blood. Thusour breathing habits are very important.
 A group of nerve cells in the medulla, the respiratory center of the brain,controls the contractions of muscles used in breathing. Inspiration takesplace when the nerve cells of this group send impulses through motor nerves to respiratory muscles. When something, we do not know what,prevents these cells from sending impulses, inspiration ceases andexpiration occurs. Apparently we do not use muscular energy and force toexpel air but merely stop inhaling; then exhaling takes place automatically,without muscular effort. Since all respiratory muscles contract in aharmonious way, some organizing process in the brain marvelouslycoordinates their movements. Apparently the respiratory center cellsfunction much like the pacemaker tissue of the heart, since they seem toinduce rhythmical patterns of respiration without outside help, even thoughthey are sensitive to various influences which modify their action.In addition to the involuntary regulation and regularization of breathingpatterns, many involuntary reflexes also exist, such as those noticeable inchoking, sneezing, coughing, and swallowing. It is almost impossible tobreathe while swallowing food. Other reflexes may be noted, such assudden holding of breath when you sniff ammonia and similar chemicals. If your air supply has been cut off, you automatically gasp for breath.Emotional excitement, fear, anger, enthusiasm all stimulate breathing, asmay sudden increase in either heat or cold.There are voluntary control of breathing. For example, you can deliberatelytake a deeper breath or stop breathing momentarily. Such direct controlmay be supplemented by indirect intentional control, as when we dance or kiss or drink or smoke or sing. We may deliberately run for such a distancethat we get our "second wind," after which we breathe more easily eventhough exercising strenuously.

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