Just Breathe?

Is it just me, or is everyone suddenly into breathing exercises? Last thing I knew, yin yoga, float tanks and spiked acupressure mats were all the rage, but suddenly everyone’s all about holding their breath for two minutes and going on about how humans need to regain their natural aptitude for this. Apparently, it makes you feel amazing – like you can do anything – and is great for the internal organs.

I’m skeptical, but that could be mostly because I feel I’m late to the party. I’m usually so on the pulse when it comes to the latest wellness trends, and I can’t help but think it must be a scam if I wasn’t the first to know about it. On the other hand, I’m aware that breathing techniques of this nature have a long history spanning numerous societies and cultures, so there’s likely to be something to it.

As with most wellness trends, there’s a parallel development in the hospital sector, whether it’s a new pharmaceutical derived from a traditional healing herb or an approach to psychology informed by an ancient mind-body practice. I’m not sure what development corresponds to the breathing stuff, but I have heard that oxygen therapy is a hot topic in the medical equipment arena.

What’s it called again? I think it’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Melbourne hospitals – some of them, anyway – administer it as a treatment for conditions involving reduced oxygen to a part of the body. It’s far from common, but not unheard of. I wouldn’t be surprised if the interest in it keeps growing and spreads to these breathing fanatics, who then go on to make it into a thing for healthy people looking to become even healthier.

You see, there’s ancient breathing techniques, and there’s technology. In between, there’s a whole world of potential to come up with the hot new wellness trend. What will it be? A portable, backpack mounted oxygen tank with a stylishly streamlined mask apparatus, or even an implant that increases oxygen concentration? We’ll see.