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“Breath: Your Life Depends on It” by Karen Saillant

by Karen Saillant

As printed in the January 2004 issue of Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Journal

IagoEveryone knows that we need breath in order to live. But did you know that there is a right and wrong way to breathe? Today, thanks to the clinical research of Carl Stough, we know how the mechanics of the respiratory system are actually meant to work.

Carl’s research started back in the late 1950’s, when as a gifted choral director, he took up the call of Dr.Maurice Small, Chief of Tuberculosis Management at East Orange New Jersey Veteran’s Hospital. Dr.Small’s hospital wards were overflowing with a new disease: EMPHYSEMA. He hoped that Carl, with his accomplished background in vocal training, might be able to help just one of his post World War II patients find relief. Carl considered the fact that he had no medical background and thought there was little he could do to help these patients; but upon meeting them and seeing them locked into an eternal state of gasping, Carl found his hands going instinctively to their rigid chests. By the simple act of touching them there, he was able to release some of their tension. When the patients tried to speak, to thank him, however, the tension returned. Carl thought that if he could teach just one of these patients to make one clear vowel sound (they all had raspy, hoarse and breathy voices) without the chest locking, perhaps he could help make a permanent change in their condition.