I’m reading the book Heart Breath Mind: Train Your Heart to Conquer Stress and Achieve Success by Leah Lagos and I came across an interesting paragraph. It said, “Research out of the Medical University of South Carolina revealed that just a single 20-minute session of a specific type of deep breathing was enough to increase saliva production. That might not sound exciting in and of itself, but saliva contains all sorts of microscopic goodies, from proteins that bind to and disable viruses and bacteria to tumour-suppressing genes that help prevent normal cells from turning cancerous. Study participants who performed the deep breathing exercises also had significantly lower levels of inflammatory markers in their saliva, as well as increased amounts of nerve growth factor (NGF) in their saliva. Salivary NGF has potent healing capabilities — the reason that wounds in the mouth heal faster than on the body is thought to be because they’re coated in NGF. It also gets shuttled to the brain, where it may have powerful antiaging and possibly Alzheimer’s-protective effects.”
First, I had no idea saliva was such a treasure. Second, I never thought deep breathing might help produce more of it. Something simple and free to try may have countless positive outcomes.
Human bodies are truly miraculous. Carrying the souls of the human race for thousands of years and evolving and growing to promote the best possible outcomes. Sometimes we’re our bodies worst enemies as we don’t listen to the aches and pains, we don’t fill our cup, fuel our soul, or prioritize self-care. We only have one body to carry us around the sun on this journey. And we should listen to it.
As Annie Besant, British writer and women’s rights activist, said, “The human body is constantly undergoing a process of decay and of reconstruction. First builded into the astral form in the womb of the mother, it is built up continually by the insetting of fresh materials. With every moment tiny molecules are passing away from it; with every moment tiny molecules are streaming into it.”
What can we do to support our body during these uncertain times? Deep breaths, early sleep, less stress, more water, authentic connections, healthy meals, morning stretches, interesting reads. If we say no to the things that steal joy and yes to the things that build it, how might that increase our strength and our hope and our peace? What might it do to our heart, breath, and mind? We’ll never know unless we try.