Horn playing, breathing, and…cancer?

Good Morning America (GMA) had an interesting topic about energy this morning. They had an interview with fitness expert Jim Karas who was touting his new book “The 7 Day Energy Surge” wherein he exposes the bad habits that sabotage energy.

One of the bad habits he talks about is breathing incorrectly. He says that we need to breath deeply all the time or we are simply recycling the old air. Karas says, “70% of our toxins are released through our breath.” Then he goes on to say that, “One of the biggest ways you can help survive cancer is through breathing because cancer cells cannot properly multiply in a well oxygenated environment.” You can see the entire segment here: http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7447414.

So how does this relate to the horn? (Here comes the obvious part.) We all breathe deeply when we play. But I only breathe deeply when I play or sometimes when I exercise. Even though I’ve frequently heard doctors, fitness experts and other ‘experts’ talk about breathing properly as part of improving our health, I pay attention for a few minutes and then go about my business breathing the way I always do. I bet I’m not the only one. I would never had guessed that breathing deeply has anything to do with keeping cancer cells from multiplying (or – my thought alone – occurring in the first place.)

This segment on GMA has me wondering if there is a reduced incidence of cancer in brass players compared to the general population. Some doctoral candidate may want to look into that. But more importantly, I’m going to try to remember to breathe better when I’m not playing my horn. There is no downside and if Jim Karras is right in his theory about breathing and cancer, wow.

Band rehearsal does not equal practice –>

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