Do breathing techniques matter? Isn’t it simply a matter of breathing in and out somehow? It’s actually a little more complicated than that. Breathing can have an extremely beneficial effect on us or create damage in our organs and tissues as well as create disease.

Breathing is major.

How Breathing Makes A Difference

Breathing matters because it affects how much oxygen is in the body.

Too little oxygen in the body can create all sorts of complications. Holistic Online cites a 1947 German study which showed that when the body was deprived of oxygen, healthy cells became cancerous. Oxygen insufficiency can cause many illnesses in particular heart disease, circulatory problems, and stroke.

Many people do not realize that oxygen plays several roles in our bodies.

Betty Hart discusses the changes that take place in the body when oxygen is inadequate in her excellent article. She demonstrates the powerful and comprehensive role that oxygen plays in the healthy functioning of our bodies:

  • oxygen plays a rejuvenating and regenerative function in our cells.
  • oxygen is also needed to help remove wastes in the body. With inadequate oxygen, toxins can build up in the body; we are, in effect, smothering our cells with toxins.
  • inadequate oxygen is often considered a cause or a leading factor in metabolic disorders. Diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are considered metabolically based conditions.

Oxygen And Stress

Stress affects oxygen in the body.

Under stress, the body will

  • mobilize oxygen and whatever else it needs to the cells,
  • call up emergency supplies (nutritional stores) to support handling the physical emergency
  • shut down digestive processes because they are not critical when the human system is under threat
  • breathe in a shallow manner which reduces the amount of oxygen coming into the body.

So we are using more and taking less in, which results in oxygen depletion. We are also interrupting many bodily functions including digestion. So stress is disruptive to the body on many levels. If the stress is constant, an individual can easily become sick.

Oxygen, Breathing, and HSPs

So how does this relate to highly sensitive people?

Since HSPs are very susceptible to stress, and because their sensitivities can result in chronic stress, they are vulnerable to oxygen depletion and its effects. As a result, HSPs can not only suffer from cell depletion since they are not receiving the regenerative effects of oxygen but also a buildup of toxins in the body because oxygen is not available to remove toxins.

Highly sensitive people have a higher need than average to develop strategies to minimize toxicity and maximize health-giving oxygen and nutrients in their bodies.  Strategies that reduce stress, deep breathing techniques that increase oxygen in the body and good health habits can turn around a potentially deadly situation of chronic stress for HSPs.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program of "sensory processing yoga" using frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers the Emerging Sensitive Movie Club focused on movies and discussions about living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. Mary McDonald` on August 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I teach laughter yoga. The classes last about an hour. All of the laughter and chanting/singing/clapping exercises are designed to rid the lungs of stale air and replace it with new air, full of oxygen. Sustained laughter also changes your brain chemistry by increasing endorphin levels. There are numerous health benefits associated with laughter yoga, the most important one being instant stress relief. People report feeling calm, serene and highly energized after a class. Please check out my website for more information and find a laughter club near you and try it out!

    • Maria on August 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Mary, thanks for this great information. I have heard that laughter is great for stress but I had not considered that it rids the lungs of stale air and replaces it with fresh air. Wonderful to know.

    • Mary McDonald` on August 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Maria,
      Yes, because of the oxygen surging to all parts of the body via laughter yoga, productivity and creativity are promoted. Lots of research going on as we speak about all of the health benefits. Also, I have personally experienced so much joyful change in my own life!

      So glad to have found your blog. Keep up the great work!

    • Maria on August 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, Mary. I checked out your article and am passing it on.