“Close your mouth,” my husband whispered to me as I sat in the passenger seat at the Dairy Queen drive-through window. The man taking our order stood patiently waiting. As I watched the chocolate sauce ooze down onto a vanilla cone, I got caught open-mouthed and nearly drooling. I was debating over a chocolate fudge sundae with peanuts or a waffle cone, which I hadn’t had since I was a child, and I couldn’t get past mmmm, chocolate. But chocolate’s not the topic of this post, sadly. Oh, how I miss creamy, dreamy, smooth milk chocolate . . . I’ll have to fill you in on that another day.
No, today’s topic is that little line: Close your mouth. I’ve heard it a lot lately–mostly when it’s coming from my own mouth and intended for my child. I’ve said it under my breath because I was rambling, coming across rude or presumptuous, or digging a hole from which I could nary escape. I’ve also heard it during my childhood–from my mom–but not in the way some moms mean it.
Actually, I remember my mom talking to my orthodontist about us girls being mouth breathers, and he had told us then to breathe through our noses. I also distinctly remember him telling me that if I kept my tongue in the correct spot on the roof of my mouth, then my teeth would grow to form around it. Well, I must not have done so, because they grew every which way and I ended up with six years of orthodontic work, headgear, and braces. Yep, I closed my mouth a lot during that time period. Many days late and a several thousand dollars short.
These days when I’m talking to someone new, instead of rambling, I like to mix it up with my latest interest or hobby (politics and religion are off the table, and the weather is an over-used topic). Since my interests are usually “different,” I shouldn’t have been surprised at the laughter that ensued when I talked about the Buteyko breathing method. After making it clear that, no, this is not a joke; yes, it is backed by a large number of medical professionals and scientific studies; and, yes, I am totally teaching my kids this method (we started with a homeschool class on it). The main points I’m driving home with my kids: close your mouth, and breathe through your nose.
I first came across the Buteyko breathing method on a quit smoking forum. (By the way, this one’s good, too.) The post was about recovery and breathing issues getting worse before they got better, and the person was advocating Buteyko to help with that. I sort of shrugged it off then, until recently when my anxiety started to get the better of me. After my holistic/ integrative medical doctor suggested I Google “deep belly breathing,” (come on, Texas NDs!) I came across Buteyko again. This time, of course, I had to know more.
The Buteyko breathing method seems to have been made popular overseas, more recently in the U.K. It is a form of diaphragmatic breathing, similar to “yoga breathing” or “deep belly breathing” in that you get can similar results, at least when dealing with anxiety. It has been used to help with or completely eradicate the following (taken directly from the Buteyko Clinic website):
- Asthma, Rhinitis, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis
- Snoring and Sleep Apnea
- Stress, Anxiety, Panic Attacks & Depression
- Parents: How Buteyko can help your child’s development
With the United States’ medical complex focused on Big Pharma, I’m not surprised it’s not more popular here in the U.S. The Buteyko method is simple, free, sensible, and has no side effects. There are plenty of other sites that describe it in more detail, like this one or this one or this one, so I don’t have to. But, I do encourage you to learn more about the Buteyko method–and try it for yourself.
Ultimately, though, in case you were wondering, I decided on the waffle cone. It wasn’t as good as everyone said it was.