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Mouth OR Nose? Nasal Breathing Benefits 

By Kento Kamiyama PT, DPT 

Per the CDC, COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness that can be transmitted through respiratory droplets.  To help prevent infection, prevention measures such as masks, washing hands, social distancing, frequent sanitation and others are put into place.  

Due to the above, I want to discuss how nasal breathing can be helpful during these times.  When done well, nasal breathing can be useful not only to prevent infections but also to help with other musculoskeletal issues.

Here are 5 reasons why nasal breathing is beneficial:

1.  The nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs.  Mouth breathing bypass this.  Here is a great video below

2.  The mucous (white blood cells that kill germs) lining helps catch bacteria, which adds an extra line of defense to prevent infections.  As a secondary line of defense, the tonsils and adenoids help prevent infections.  However, with mouth breathing, the tonsils and adenoids will be the first line of defense to the harmful particles in the air.  With that, the adenoids have a higher possibility of inflaming.  When the adenoids inflame, the nasal passageway will become narrower which will make it more difficult to breathe through the nose.   When you can’t breathe through the nose, you keep breathing through your mouth and your adenoids has a higher risk of getting inflamed.   As a result, a vicious cycle can keep occurring.

See the video above for references.

3.  Nasal breathing helps produce Nitric Oxide.  Nitric oxide play a role in many parts of the body such as:

– Decreasing blood pressure and improves blood flow to the organs

– Anti-inflammatory action in the arteries

–  Prevent blood clots

–  Protects the skin from harmful ionizing radiation

  Plays a role in respiration

– Promotes healthy digestive tract by regulating the secretion of hormones from several glands

–  Many more.

[Lundberg JO, FarkasSzallasi T, Weitzberg E, Rinder J, Lidholm J, Anggaard A, Hokfelt T, Lundberg JM, Alving K. High nitric oxide production in human paranasal sinuses. Nat Med1995;1:370–373.]

4.  Nasal breathing helps form your teeth and jaw bones.  This will lead to airway, skull and neck health.  Arguably, if breathing improves, many other benefits will follow.

Example article here:

5.  Some research articles report mouth breathing has correlations with your overall posture.  Specifically, mouth breathing has correlations with forward head posture.

Research Link:

There you have it, here are the five but not limited to, benefits of nasal breathing.  

Although there are many benefits to nasal breathing, if you have not been nasal breathing, make sure to start slowly.  Suddenly changing to nasal breathing can be a shock to the system.

In a future blog post, we will share some simple things you can do to ease yourself into nasal breathing.

About Author

Kento Kamiyama

Physical Therapist

Kento helps people move and feel young again by reconnecting their mind and body even after years of aches and pains.

Passionate about treating the individual systematically, Kento studied countless hours understanding how the human body is an interaction between many systems and not just parts.  Kento taught and is currently teaching nationally for the industry to spread his passion about treating the individual as a whole.  Some courses he has taught include “Spinal and Breathing Assessment”, Smart Tools Level I, and Neurokinetic Therapy.  Kento is involved as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University for Human Anatomy and Kinesiology.  He is currently in the process of teaching overseas in Japan and acts as a medical consultant for Dr. Training in Tokyo, Japan.

The majority population Kento works with are people aged 30-60+ who wants to gain back their function to either go back to work, back to their physical activities or take care of their loved ones.

On his spare time, Kento loves to spend time with his wife and two kids Kei and Mia playing sports or cooking.

To read more visit About Page

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We make every effort to ensure that we accurately represent the injury advice and prognosis displayed throughout this Guide.
However, examples of injuries and their prognosis are based on typical representations of those injuries that we commonly see in our physical therapy clinics. The information given is not intended as representations of every individual’s potential injury. As with any injury, each person’s symptoms can vary widely and each person’s recovery from injury can also vary depending upon background, genetics, previous medical history, application of exercises, posture, motivation to follow physio advice and various other physical factors.
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