Inherited Breathing for Performance (Nurture)

Our last post looked at how genetically inherited wider noses make it easier to nasal breathe while exercising. But the bigger question has nothing to do with winning a genetic lottery. The real question is what can I change to breathe more air through my nose? What is in my power to change and improve?

Well, once again I’m going to answer by discussing an area that you really have or had no control over. The answer has a lot to do with how you were raised. Much of the ability to nasal breathe great volumes of air doesn’t come from your genes, but from how your face and nose developed as an adolescent.

Here is an exemplary tale of someone who nose breathes poorly as an adult. When they were about 3 years old they got the common cold. Their nose became stuffy and this made breathing through their nose difficult. Unfortunately, they acclimated to mouth breathing during that time and after they beat the cold they simply kept breathing through their mouth.

As they continued mouth breathing their chin hung down and it simply began to sink back towards their neck. At the same time, with the mouth open, the child’s tongue no longer pressed against the roof of their mouth. Without the lateral pressure of the tongue, the roof of the mouth began to arch high into the nasal cavities. At this point, one or both nasal cavities grew crowded and began to close up.

These changes became permanent constricting their airways in two ways. Their chin easily sinks into their throat collapsing the airway there and their nasal cavities are much smaller than they were ever meant to be.

Check out these great videos visually comparing natural and poor growth patterns.

Normal Jaw/ Nasal Growth (Nose Breather)
Poor Jaw/ Nasal Growth (Mouth Breather)

So if you are a parent what are steps you can take to prevent poor fascial growth?

  1. Continue learning as much as you can.
  2. Simply talk about the importance of breathing through the nose with your kids.
  3. TELL them to close their mouths when you see them breathing with them.
  4. Close their mouths for them while they sleep if needed. Can use taping methods that do NOT cover their mouths.
  5. If you suspect poor growth patterns have already begun see your closest Myofunctional Therapist. If you are in the Knoxville area go see the team at Tennessee Orofacial Myology.

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