300,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had bigger skulls. Cooked food meant our heads shrunk; alongside a growing brain, our airways got narrower. Urbanisation then led us to breathe less deeply and less healthily. And so today more than 90% of us breathe incorrectly. So we might have been breathing all our life, but we need to learn how to breathe properly!
In Breath, James Nestor meets cutting-edge scientists at Harvard and experiments on himself in labs at Stanford to see the impact of bad breathing. He revives the lost, and recently scientifically proven, wisdom of swim coaches, Indian mystics, stern-faced Russian cardiologists, Czechoslovakian Olympians and New Jersey choral conductors - the world's foremost 'pulmonauts' - to show how breathing in specific patterns can trigger our bodies to absorb more oxygen, and he explains the benefits for everyone that result, from staying healthy and warding off anxiety to improving focus and losing weight.
Breath is a fascinating ride through evolution, medicine and physiology - and extreme sports. But mostly it explores you. Structured as a journey with chapters from the mouth and nose through to the lungs and nervous system, it is non-fiction at its breath-taking best.
'An eye-opening, epic journey of human devolution that explains why so many of us are sick and tired. A must-read book that exposes what our health care system doesn't see' Dr. Steven Y. Park, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and author of Sleep, Interrupted 'Breath is an utterly fascinating journey into the ways we are wired. No matter who you are, you'll want to read this' Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do with My Life and Nutureshock A transformative book that changes how you think about your body and mind. Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Memory If you want to read a book about the power of the breath, this is it! Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage I would have thought that breathing was pretty simple and well understood. Then I read this book. Now I know it's a hugely complex and wondrous process which we need to understand much better. Fascinating and provocative stuff Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure
James Nestor has written for Scientific American, Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, National Public Radio, The New York Times, and more. His book, DEEP- Freediving, Renegade Science, and What The Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves, was a Finalist for the PEN American Center Best Sports Book of the Year and a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. In 2015 Nestor received a MacArthur Foundation grant to develop a short documentary, The Click Effect, for The New York Times.
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