Breathing

Question of The Day for August 25, 2012 ~ Relationship To Breathing

Talk about your own life and body in relationship to breathing.
(To whatever extent you feel comfortable sharing about it.)

I’m rather fond of breathing, would like to keep on doing it.

It keeps on bringing in new oxygen for my metabolic systems to use to burn sugars in a process that releases energy, and sustains me.

It also releases the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is the waste product (along with water) of that burning process.

I’ve done quite a bit with my breath over the years.

In my late teens and early twenties I got quite into diving, and learning how to hold my breath for extended periods.

The first trick is learning how to overcome the CO2 breathing reflex, that tries to force us to breath as the CO2 levels build up.

The next trick is recognising the signs of reduced consciousness, as the levels of oxygen fall to a level too low to sustain conscious thought.

The first sign is a narrowing of the field of vision, and a loss of peripheral vision. After the vision narrows to like looking down a couple of drinking straws, vision fails. After that, there is about 15 to 20 seconds of consciousness remaining, but few senses remain. The only really useful one is temperature senses on the skin.

One experience I had was of siphoning petrol out of a boat to put in the car, and getting a lung full. Despite hyperventilating for 5 minutes I was unable to get much oxygen, and was slowly losing consciousness. By keeping on hyperventilating I eventually got to the point that consciousness was increasing rather than decreasing, and it was at least half an hour before I felt able to stop hyperventilating.

A few years later I was working on deep levels of conscious control of heartbeat and respiration, and managed to get breathing down to once every minute and a half for an hour at a time.

So I have studied the evolutionary history of breathing, the biochemistry of it, the anatomy and physiology of it, and have practised many disciplines related to it.

It is a rather fundamental part of being a mammal, and as a sentient mammal, I intend to keep on breathing as long as possible, billions of years if possible (and it seems likely that is might just be possible).

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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