EPISODE 170: Breathing Instead of Medicating

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Yoga is unique and powerful as a mind-body fitness modality in that it can restore balance to the body’s electrical system (aka your nervous system) – and breathing is the secret key that makes it all possible. In the same way that our breath changes very predictably during times of fear, sorrow, love, or rest, we can flip that equation around and change our breathing patterns in order to change our mood.

Why then do psychiatrists prescribe drugs before using this age-old practice of balancing breath to treat mental health issues? To answer that question, Lucas is joined by Patricia Gerbarg MD who shares her years of research and on-the-ground training using breathing as therapy.

Dr. Gerbarg reveals some of the current challenges in our modern world and in psychiatric medicine – and she’ll share with you how she uses breath in her practice, often in lieu of traditional treatments like prescription drugs – and it’s working!

Dr. Patricia Gerbarg is a Harvard Medical School trained psychiatrist who practices Integrative Psychiatry, combining standard and complementary treatments. Her research focuses on mind-body practices for reducing the effects of stress and trauma, particularly in survivors of mass disasters.

Along with Dr. Richard P. Brown, she has co-authored over 40 scientific articles, book chapters, and health books on complementary and integrative treatments.

Her books include: The Rhodiola Revolution, How to use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care, Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD, and The Healing Power of the Breath.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why some breathing might cause manic reactions
  • How the body-mind is more accurate than mind-body since 80% of the vagus nerve fibers are carrying signals from the body to brain, and just 20% brain to body
  • Why most people breathe at 12-15 breaths/min but should aim for “coherent breath” at around 5 per min
  • Why some breathing can make you zoned-out and spacey while others can amp you up
  • How balance is usually the most useful aim and type of response to strive for

Nutritional Tip of the Week:

  • Chickpeas: friend or foe?

Links & References from the Show:

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