My Current cancer take on Breathing for Health and Well Being
Breathing hit me hard and in the right places about 4 and ½ years ago. What happened was that I was diagnosed with terminal stage IV prostate cancer that metastasized to the bones. The doctors told me that they couldn’t do surgery, chemo, or radiation. I’m thinking “toast”, of course, and didn’t know what to do other than cry. (the whole story is on www.phkillscancer.com). Long story short my son suggested I look into alkalizing my body, and I did – and that worked out well for me.
The adventure using baking soda to alkalize my body is what moved me to understand the role that breathing or oxygenation played in reclaiming my body’s health. The first indication happened during my baking soda protocol – there were a couple of times when I felt like every cell in my body had nostrils as large as wheel barrows. I was being flooded with oxygen and I liked it. I really liked it. It was a euphoric feeling and it was the first time that I felt that there was hope in recovering from that deadly bone cancer diagnosis.
The next time was just a few weeks later. I actually wrote about it in an answer to a lady inquiring about the process:
“Since you read my story on www.phkillscancer. com you know that the website story ended when I took my second ride through the bone scanner donut. Well, most of the doctors were not convinced that the bone cancer somehow disappeared from my pelvis. Some insisted it was hiding. One of the doctors even equated it to little dandelion seeds that will eventually push through the soil. It was just sitting there waiting to ‘sprout’ into what was there before.
So . . . the doctors took pictures of my liver, kidneys, and lungs. On each and every x ray, the doctors pointed out that there were very suspicious looking lesions, dark spots, and other things that I have no clue about. They ordered an intense look at each of these organs. The lungs were the most suspect because I guess prostate cancer likes to move into the lungs. Or at least that is what one of them told me.
Of course, I was not too excited about that situation. But my success with baking soda pumped up my confidence. I had 8 days to do something. I turned to PTR breathing. I put myself on a schedule of at least 3 hours a day of nose breathing for the next 8 days. I did not do 3 hours continuously. I totaled my sessions until I reached 3 hours.
Well, it sure felt good. And more importantly, when the lungs, kidneys, and liver were put under a bigger microscope, so to speak, the results were not what the doctors were expecting to find. They told me on each one that, “Well, I guess it wasn’t as bad as we first thought.””
That was my second mind opening positive breathing adventure. Coupled with the breathing adventure mentioned above was my idea of keeping notes of this deep comfortable relaxed focused/unfocused breathing process. The experience was beyond my expectations. Here are a few excepts of my notes from August 12, 2008 to August 20th 2008 :
48 min session – itch, mild scratching, massaged legs, face, ears, calves, ear drums, scalp, sometimes with feet, hands, and heels. Twisting and mild shaking.
07 min session – disjointed feeling; focused on nothing
57 min session – lightly shaking legs
40 min session – new feeling today; deeper/smoother; feeling in bladder muscles; big toe oxygenated; left shoulder too; feeling the pain point and breathe into it; started imagining breathing through others noses.
72 min session – deep breathing quickly relaxed; itching heels and feet; nice feeling
26 min session – breathing into heart
26 min session – breathing into the essence of lungwort. Oh, what a treat! Breathe it in. . . I am excited. Male/Female energy. Breathe in my youth = I cried. I relaxed and I cried more when I breathed for myself as an adolescent. It felt good & bad; mostly good; and then I reclaimed the power of that era of my life. . . oh, what a great 26 minutes.
Overall the sessions at times were dreamlike, except for the itching feelings. The squirming and twisting motion I believe was my body’s reaction to breaking away from tension. The itching to me is healing. What struck me the most was this fuzzy feeling of a movement into another aspect or dimension of the me of who I was or who I was becoming. It really didn’t strike home until several months later when I did another breathing session. This email to my family describes that adventure:
“As some of you know I have been actively involved in a Focused Breathing Process. The Process involves breathing through the nose – inhale & exhale – for extended periods of time. The most I have gone is 70 minutes. I have learned that there is no one way to attend to this Process. Sometimes I breathe with a goal in mind; sometimes nothing in mind. It does not matter anyway, because once I breathe for any amount of time, things change.
I have experienced several layers while breathing. My first was a profound itching over my entire body. It was scratch scratch scratch! I thought it strange, but Ptr the gentleman who introduced me/us to this Process said that it was one of the levels. My goal at that particular time was to overcome some potential negative news the doctors discovered with some xrays. That is washed away now.
Other levels that I have experienced have been gyrations, relaxations, and breathing as though I was breathing through another’s nose. That is fun! It is one of most relaxing experiences I have ever experienced.
Now…what happened on one of my breathing episodes just a few days ago was an emotional turning point for me. A few days before this session happened, I had decided that I would breathe through my own nose, but with a twist. I would breathe inhaling and exhaling through myself as a child, adolescent, or baby. I figured with my heart appointment coming up that I wanted to step up the pressure on myself to whip my heart into shape. It has already improved, but why not some more. By tapping into myself at different ages I figured my heart’s memory in earlier ages would be healthier.
Because I had been diagnosed with heart murmurs in my childhood, I spent more time directing breathing through my nose when I was a baby, or even when I was in the womb. I was searching for a strong healthy heart Vernon time period. I knew I was on to something when after these sessions I noticed that my walking stamina improved. This is good! However, I was not prepared for what happened on my next breathing session.
I blissfully was breathing along feeling very very good about breathing again through me-as-a-baby’s-nose. I was only into it for about 10 minutes when my Dad showed up. He said, “Vernon, breathe through my now, I have a strong heart.” OMG – I was emotionally stunned. I did not know anything about Pop except that he basically ignored my as a child and as and adult. Granted, I knew a few things, but I have never felt his touch except in anger, and I have never felt his love.
I was stunned! I discovered right then and there that I had it wrong all these 64 years of my life. Even with all the presumed negative things I witnessed or heard about Pop, he did love me and still does. For the first time in my life I feel a Father’s Love. And believe me, it felt and still feels very good. More than that – it feels exquisite. My heart opened up!”
I spoke to my oldest sister a couple days later and she told me that she knew for a fact that Pop had a really strong heart.
I continued off on and over the next couple of years continuing with the breathing, but not in such depth or time as I did when I really needed it. Occasionally, like when I would feel a gout attack coming on, I would breathe into that troubled spot. More often than not that would do the trick. (gout is a another story which I have controlled with diet and breathing). I remember one time when I was awaken by this throbbing pain in my right big toe. “Crap, I am thinking, not another gout attack”. . . So, I breathed into that toe for about 1 hour – the swelling and the pain went away.
A Meditation Cd Booklet combination that I found very helpful is this one – Meditation Breathing Cd. This one was an excellent introduction into breathing along with words. I found it very relaxing and full of in depth information about health and well-being. It also kept me breathing. And BTW. . . it had been a requirement on my driver’s license for decades to wear corrective lenses, that was until this February when I passed my eye exam. – No glasses required and I did not have laser surgery. I attribute a lot of that to doing the breathing.
Recently, I have been introduced to a method which retrains my breathing by going from being a shallow breather into a deep breather by focusing not only on improving the inhale, but really focusing on maximizing the exhale – nice and slow exhale. Mark Sircus, Ac, OMD, Director of IMVA is the author of the powerful book “Sodium Bicarbonate: Rich Man’s Poor Man’s Cancer Treatment” and the one who introduced me to this new method that I am more than willing to experience. It is by using an inexpensive breathing machine as the trainer. It was designed for weight loss, but Mark saw through that and was excited about trying it and then letting me know about it. Once I get the machine and start working with it, I will post my thoughts and experiences. My initial thoughts are that it is an ideal way for a person to move from being a shallow breather to being a healthy full breath breather. Here is link to that book by Dr Sircus:
For those who can’t wait for my results, here is how to order it. It is called the ‘The BreathSlim’ and more information can be found by reading Dr. Sircus’s newsletter on his IMVA blog – http://blog.imva.info/medicine/slow-steady-easy-breathing/. Besides the very informative information about the power of breathing and how it affects cancer, there is also a 10% discount and a discount code. One can also get it through Amazon.com via BreathSlim .
Funny isn’t it. . . a simple breathing machine used for weight loss has the strong potential to move mountains.
The BreathSlim machine: ready to move forward and breathe more oxygen into my body
Day 1: It is a simple machine much like a small lidded plastic cup with holes in it, inside another stiff plastic cup with a breathing tube extending out the top. I read all the directions and will follow them (mostly). The idea is to breathe through the nose and then exhale slowly through the breathing tube which extends down into the smaller interior cup which is partially submerged in water. Of course, the exhale is via through the mouth which is gently gripping the mouthpiece.
The idea is to inhale through the nose, hold the breath, and then slowly exhale through the mouth. The machine does its job: it is training me to exhale slowly. This is the reason for the water. It took several breaths to get used to this method of exhaling. Just a little bit of panic on those initial exhales. Nothing big – just getting used to exhaling through water; or ‘blowing bubbles’ as Dr. Mark Sircus likes to say.
I like that the BreathSlim is training me to incorporate a slow steady exhale into my breathing habits. I am the type of guy who generally, except when doing a breathing meditation, just lets the air out quickly. Here is what I did the first day: Breathe in for about 5 seconds; hold for about 5 seconds; and then a slow gentle release for about 20 seconds. The pamphlet recommends starting with 5 seconds in; 5 seconds hold; and 10 seconds slow release. I have been a deep breather for a couple of years so my lung capacity is fairly large.
Dr. Sircus asked me to do this preliminary measurements before I start doing the BreathSlim:
“Please additionally have the following tests, with 5 minutes break between them; please use seconds to write down the results of the test.
Stange’s Test, or breath-holding at the stage of a calm inhalation. Breathe in and out normally, then take another inhale (about 80% of your maximum inhale) and hold your breath. Note the start time. You may shut your nostrils and close your eyes. Do not breathe as long as you can. When it gets too tough, this means the test is over. Open your nostrils and start breathing. Write down: “Stange’s Test: x seconds”.
Quiet your breath, keep reading, and take the last test in 5 minutes.
Hench’s Test, or breath-holding at the stage of a calm exhalation. After a calm exhalation hold your breath and note the start time. Keep holding your breath as long as you can. Again, you can sit with your eyes and nostrils shut, as if you were under water. As soon as you feel it becomes difficult to hold your breath, open your nose, start breathing, and notice the time. Write down: “Hench’s Test: x seconds”.
Strange’s Inhalation test – 49 seconds
Hench’s Exhalation test – 37 seconds
Not sure what I am going to do with these numbers yet. I suppose it is going to be some sort of “Before and After” thing. I can generally hold my breath a fair amount of seconds – probably due to my last 3 years or so of doing deep comfortable focused/unfocused breathing. Anyway, those were my current results. BTW, here is a link to an internet computer stopwatch – http://www.online-stopwatch.com/ – It comes in handy and is the one I use.
Like I said, the BreathSlim does its job when it comes to training the slow exhale. And it did indeed take me several breaths to get used to this method of exhale. I got a little nervous on those first exhales. Exhaling through the water with out over bubbling definitely slowed me down. I blew water out the cup a couple times before I established a sense of confidence that I was going to be alright (grin) with the machine and the slow exhale.
I went 20 minutes the first time. It is a bit tedious, but with more experience I believe that that will smooth out. I am hoping to meditate while doing this, but not sure that will happen – this appears that it is going to be a physical exercise.
Day 2: Missed this day. I did my regular meditative deep comfortable focused/unfocused breathing, but could not get it together enough to do the 20 minutes with the BreathSlim. Now, a lot of that may have to do with me being in the beginning stages of the flu and cold. I wasn’t quite sure what to do because my lungs were starting to fill up with congestion.
Something I learned from yesterday’s breathing was that I noticed that I was more cognizant of my normal breathing; and when I breathed I actually thought about breathing more deeply and exhaling more slowly. In some of my breaths I actually did just that.
Day 3: I decided to continue with the BreathSlim regardless of some silly old flu/cold. Did my 20 minutes. I am so used to breathing in a prone or laying down position due to my several years of meditation breathing. That is why this method, which recommends sitting up in an upright position with your back straight, is very good for me. It is not only training my breathing, but my posture as well.
Day 4: Yes. . . I am doing my 20 minutes again. It seems that I have to make the special effort to hold my breath for the five seconds recommended by BreathSlim after the deep inhale. It just doesn’t seem right, but I am starting to get used to it. Apparently the idea of holding the breath is to allow the deep inhale of air to the lungs to utilize more of the oxygen that goes into the lungs. Same with the slow exhale – allows more time for the lungs to absorb the oxygen.
And one more thing – this time I “breathed into” the flu/cold, so to speak, much like the times I have breathed successfully into gout attacks. Not sure if it proves anything, but I did start feeling better.
Day 5: What is the serendipity of me doing this? First of all, I am doing it to help in the continual reclamation of my health. Besides the diagnosis of bone cancer almost 5 years ago, I was also hit with congestive heart failure 21 months ago. So for me the stakes are high. I want more oxygen. Now the serendipity of it is actually the purported and reported possible weight loss. So with that in mind I weighed myself today on my daughter’s new digital scale (I don’t own one, so had to go to her house).
I weighed in at 202.6 pounds. I would like to get to where I feel the most comfortable which is 185 pounds. Will this breathing really help in that direction. BTW, I am just ¼ inch shy of 6 feet tall. K
Day 6: Speaking of serendipity, the beneficial elements that I know I am receiving from breathing with the BreathSlim for 20 minutes a day are an improved posture and the little reminder voice I hear during the day to , “Breathe deeply and exhale slower.” The big one being, “Breath deeply” because if I breathe deeply I cannot help but to take more time exhaling. The other thing that I have noticed is that I have more energy. Dr Mark Sircus mentioned that he too was experiencing an increase in energy.
Day 7: I usually do the BreathSlim exercise late at night sometime before I go to bed, which is a lot of times ‘early morning’. Today I was feeling better (Flu) and just for the heck of it I did an extra session.
I figured something out. Since this is not really a meditative exercise and is mostly physical then why not do the BreathSlim breathing while doing something else – like watching a movie I am streaming from online, or a football game, or news, or reading, or walking, or anything. So. . . I did. And I like it. It sure helps! Make sure that if you do do it while doing another activity that you are alone. Blowing bubbles might be disturbing to others (grin). . .
Day 8: Enjoying my new BreathSlim freedom. I feel good being able to do the breathing while watching my latest movie. Of course, it helps to have a head set or ear phones so you can hear what is going on. Sometimes I just turn on the subtitles.
Day 9: By the way, I have not changed my diet. I have been enjoying a plant based for close to 8 months now. It is not unlike the diet promoted on the inspirational movie Forks Over Knives.
I weighed myself today. 201.1 pounds on my daughter’s new digital scale. That means a loss of 1.5 pounds. Don’t know if it means much, but it is something.
Day 10: Still doing 20 minutes a day, generally late at night or early morning. I close the door to the bedroom so as not to disturb Alice. I think about doing it more than 20 minutes a day, but I will stay with the once a day mode for 21 days.
Day 11: Did the breathing. . .
Day 12: I think I already mentioned it, but just to make sure I want it known that besides the BreathSlim exercise/experiment I am also doing what I have been doing for 4 years – namely doing some sort of deep comfortable focused/unfocused meditative breathing, not unlike PTR Breathing that I started shortly after the baking soda protocol. I really enjoy it. It relaxes me; brings more oxygen into my system, and most important it empowers me. I am doing it. . .
Day 13: Yes. . . day thirteen and I am still doing 20 minutes. I experimented with slouching a bit while doing the breathing. Also, I will lean to the right or the left on a pillow or chair arm, but my thoughts are that for the first 21 days that I want to stay as ‘clean’ as possible for this experiment. I keep talking ’21 Days’. There is a reason for that; my ears have heard or eyes have read for many years that it takes 21 days of doing something for a habit to be changed or a new habit to become part of one’s life. I shall see, but early ‘returns’ are suggesting it is becoming a habit. Or. . . at the very least I think about it more as I go about my daily life. Of course when I think about it, I do it.
Day 14: Did it again. . . breathed 20 minutes with the machine.
Day 15: 20 more minutes today.
Day 16: Weighed myself today on my daughter’s new digital scale. I was taken back with the read out. I even called my daughter to see if I have been using the scale correctly, or whether she was having trouble with it. “No”, she said. “It is a new digital scale and works perfect”. My weight came in at 197.5 pounds. I weighed myself 4 times and it came up the same each time. 197.5 means that I have lost 5.1 pounds since Day 5. That could be significant. . .
BTW, I got mine from Amazon Breathslim BS-2008 Weight Loss Device or Dr Sircus has a blog going on breathing and he talks about the BreathSlim as well as offering a 10% discount. Here is that info: http://blog.imva.info/medicine/slow-steady-easy-breathing/
Day 17: It is tough to do – a full 20 minute shift, especially when striving for a full 20 minutes of deep breaths. I inhale between 5 and 10 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and then slowly release for about 30 seconds. After about 12 minutes of this workout that is when it starts getting tougher to keep that rhythm. As I get deeper into the minutes my tendency is to inhale a little less and hold less. After a couple minutes of this ‘relaxed’ mode, then I can do the deeper hold longer repetitions again.
Saliva is generated during this process, so there is a bit of swallowing going on – which is no big deal. It is just a matter of releasing the lip hold on the mouthpiece for a moment and do what has to be done.
If one is new to breathing then it is wise to stay within ones’ comfort zone. Some would probably start at a 3 second inhale, hold a bit, and then slowly exhale for 10 seconds.
The muscle that gets tired for me is the diaphragm. It is not the inhale – I am good at extending my stomach. It is the exhale where my strength needs to be built. That will come in time, and I look forward to it. I suspect that all this diaphragm work helps shape the abs area (grin).
One of the benefits claimed by many ‘breathers’ is that the internal organs get to be massaged. I in particular like the idea of my heart being massaged. Of course, my lungs are getting a good workout too.
Day 18: What a difference a day makes. I was breathing away on the Breathslim while watching some news of interest that I was streaming from the net when I noticed that I had been breathing for 30 minutes. Why is that? Is day 18 some sort of plateau breaking day; or is the fact that the cold/flu that I had been managing was on its last leg the answer. I don’t know, but regardless, I was pleased.
Someone turned me onto a similarity with the Frolov or Buteyko breathing method device and the BreathSlim. Here is a video of how to use the Frolov: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_fFkUq4jBw. The technique is a gentler than the breathing technique for the BreathSlim. BreathSlim likes to have the breath held for 5 seconds after the inhale, whereas Frolov doesn’t hold the breath.
My plan is to do the Frolov Buteyko method for 21 days after I complete the BreathSlim 21 days. I suspect that the breathing will end up being a blend between the two methods. However. . .I cannot complain about the results I am feeling with the BreathSlim. I feel more energetic and surprisingly it seems as though I am not eating as much prior to the breathing. The other thing is that according to the scales, I have lost weight. . .
Day 19: Did the BreathSlim for 27 minutes last night. I have noticed that from day 3 of this exercise that one of the side effects of the breathing was similar to one of the side effects of doing the baking soda protocol. That being (there is not a genteel way of saying this) yellow poop or at the very least – a lighter color. I don’t know what any of this means, but someone did write to me saying, “I’ve noticed a correlation between the breathing and the yellow poop too.” Is it because of more oxygen in the system? Is it a cleansing taking place? I don’t know. . .
Day 20: Before I get into this day I want to let you know about my double/triple check of my daughter’s scale. I weighed yesterday. The digital window jumped between 93.4 and 99.6. I figured it out – the scale was sitting on a flat surface all right, but the flat surface was covered with an indoor outdoor carpet. When I moved the scale to a ‘solid’ flat surface I got a steady reading. So. . . yesterday’s reading was 199.5, which means since day five when I started weighing myself, I lost 3.1 pounds – not the 5.1 I was jumping up and down about. Still. . . 3.1 is very good.
Because of the scale issue I have ordered a scale. The best one I found for the price and the reviews was this one EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale w/ Extra Large Backlit 3.5″ Display and “Step-On” Technology
, and I ordered it. It should be here Monday the 19th. I will then do another 21 days.
In the meantime, I did 20 BreathSlim minutes and of course about 20 minutes of meditative breathing for this day. See you tomorrow. . .
Day 21: This is suppose to be my last day, but since I missed Day 2 one more day will be added. Breathed the BreathSlim way for 24 minutes while watching some foreign move with subtitles. At weigh-in time my weight was 198.2 pounds. That is with the scale on a nice hard flat surface (haha). So. . . that means that my weight (Day 21) 198.2 subtracted from Day 5’s weight of 202.6 equals loss of 4.4 pounds. Tomorrow I will do my thoughts on these 21 (22) days.
Day 22: How does this breathing through a tube work and what does it have to do with health and weight loss? I am not a scientist; I am a person writing down his experiences with using the BreathSlim for 3 weeks at 20 plus minutes a day. In the beginning and a few times during the 21 days I was glad the 20 minutes came to an end. However, there were more times that I happily went over the 20 minutes.
I don’t know the science of this type of breathing. I do know that I felt more energy and that I felt like doing more – that includes going for walks even in the rain. Was it the oxygen? I don’t know.
I think that it actually curbed my appetite somewhat which may explain in part why I lost around 4 pounds. My mind seemed to become sharper.
I like that several times during the day I would find myself reminding myself to remember to breathe deeply, hold a little, and then release slowly. It was becoming a habit.
I am going to do another 21 days. There are things I want to work on. My body took a big hit 4 ½ to 5 years ago with that cancer thing – namely my prostate, my bones (pelvic), and threats to my lungs, kidneys, and liver. My heart was not so good then as well, and it really almost tanked on me in February 2011 (congestive heart failure). I am quite active (walking, some running, jump rope, and stretch bands), but there was damage done to those areas. Obviously, I have made great strides in reclaiming my health. I especially like that my eyesight improved after decades of having to wear glasses to drive. I give a lot of credit for that improvement to deep comfortable focused/unfocused breathing. I want more and I expect more.
BTW, my last weigh-in was 198.7 pounds. . . Vj
Day Post 22: I forgot to do the after part of the before-and-after concerning the Strange/Henches breathing test. These were the before results followed by the after results:
Stange Before – 49 seconds; Strange After – 66 seconds
Hench Before – 37 seconds; Hench After – 41 seconds
There certainly was improvement in my ability to hold my breath on the inhale, and a little improvement after the exhale. Not sure what all that means except that my capacity is improving.
I do want to mention that the last couple of days I have noticeably been aware of frequently breathing in deeper breaths during the day. Just out of the blue I will take a nice big breath followed by a slow exhale. It feels good. . . And feeling good means that my body is relaxing, and when my body relaxes that means that the cells in my body are getting “permission”, so to speak, from me for them to do what is natural for them – namely give me a healthy body. A person could say, “I am getting out of the way (leaving tension behind) so that my body and its organs can become what they are meant to be.”
Been doing the BreathSlim breathing for 20 minutes every day since I finished that first 21 days. I am glad I am doing it. At times my mind tells me, “Aw, forget it. Don’t do it today. There is always tomorrow.” However, my body says, “This is good for you Vernon. Oxygen is a precious key for you.” – and it is! I have found that I am more energized, I feel more like walking (which I do), I meditate more, and I find myself less hungry than I was before starting this particular breathing thing.
And BTW. . . I weighed 196.0 on my digital scale this morning. Considering I started at 202.6 pounds, I like this serendipity. . .