Episode 40

Breathwork for diabetes and health with Nick Heath

Published on: 23rd May, 2024

In this engaging episode, Nick Heath, known as "The Breathing Diabetic," shares his inspiring journey of how incorporating breathwork techniques transformed his experience with Type 1 diabetes and overall well-being. With a background in atmospheric science and a passion for understanding the breath, Nick delves into the scientific evidence behind the profound effects of breathwork on managing diabetes, reducing stress, inflammation, and oxidative stress, as well as improving cardiovascular health and emotional regulation.

Nick's personal story highlights the power of simple breathwork practices, such as nasal breathing, quiet breathing, and slow breathing at 4-6 breaths per minute, in synchronizing the body's systems and promoting a healing state known as the "relaxation response." He emphasizes the importance of using the breath as a barometer for one's emotional and physiological condition, allowing for greater self-awareness and regulation throughout the day.

In addition to managing diabetes, Nick explores how breathwork can be integrated with movement and physical activity, enhancing recovery and downregulation after exertion. The episode culminates with a guided practice of alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana), a powerful technique that promotes balance, cognitive focus, and a sense of calmness.

Overall, this insightful conversation with Nick Heath offers a wealth of practical strategies and scientific insights, encouraging listeners to embrace the transformative potential of breathwork for managing chronic conditions, reducing stress, and cultivating a deeper connection with themselves and their overall well-being.

Key Learnings:

  1. Breathwork is a simple and cost-effective tool to manage diabetes and improve overall health by influencing the nervous system, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation.
  2. Slow breathing, around 4-6 breaths per minute, can synchronize the body's systems and promote a healing state known as the 'relaxation response.'
  3. Nasal breathing and quiet breathing throughout the day can help maintain a calm and regulated state, serving as a barometer for one's emotional and physiological condition.
  4. Integrating breathwork with movement, such as walking or exercise, can enhance recovery and downregulation after physical exertion.
  5. Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) is a powerful practice that promotes balance, cognitive focus, and a sense of calmness.

Show Notes with Timestamps:

00:00 - Introduction and background on Nick Heath, 'The Breathing Diabetic.'

03:00 - Nick's journey with Type 1 diabetes and discovering breathwork.

07:00 - The science behind breathwork's effects on the nervous system and overall health.

12:00 - Nick's experience working with NASA (not related to breathwork).

15:00 - The importance of understanding the breath as a tool for self-awareness and regulation.

21:00 - The connection between breathwork and blood sugar management in diabetes.

29:00 - The impact of chronic conditions on baseline stress levels and the role of breathwork in promoting resilience.

34:45 - Dealing with distractions and resetting during the conversation.

38:00 - Strategies for incorporating breathwork throughout the day, such as nasal breathing and mindful breathing.

46:00 - Integrating breathwork with walking and physical activity.

50:00 - Guided alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana) practice.

56:00 - Nick's final thoughts on breathwork and its benefits for self-discovery and overall well-being.

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About the Podcast

Mindset, Mood & Movement: Performance, Purpose & Peace
Human performance podcast for life and business
Welcome to the Mindset, Mood & Movement Podcast. Your essential resource for founders, freelancers, and business owners looking to optimise their mindset, health, and business success.

Dive deep into the realm of human performance with us as we explore the systemic connections between psychology, emotions, and physical wellbeing, and their profound impact on achieving success and fulfilment in both personal and professional life.

Discover 3 key outcome areas: enhancing performance, redefining fulfilment, and cultivating peace of mind. Join me as I feature guest specialists in various fields, offering invaluable insights and expertise plus mini-episodes where I address specific challenge and provide actionable guidance on overcoming these obstacles.

Each episode is crafted to provide education, tools and strategies for you, whether you're navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship or seeking personal growth in your professional journey. My podcast serves as your ultimate guide to self-improvement and achieving excellence in your endeavours.

Expect to gain practical insights, delve into expert interviews, and receive actionable strategies tailored to the unique needs of small business owners and ambitious individuals striving to make a positive impact on the world.

About your host

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Sal Jefferies

I’m Sal - Human Performance Coach, Educator and Founder.

Everything I coach and teach is what I practice in my life. Mindset work including psychological and emotional development. And for my physical health, I do strength training, fitness and breathing practices. In all areas, I'm constantly learning and always growing.

At mid-life, I'm curious to how we can shape the second half of our life whilst using the latest science and learning's from psychology, emotional regulation and physical health. Over the last 25 years, I have immersed myself in many Eastern influences from philosophy, yoga and meditation. I find in our current world, there's much to learn by combining the latest science with ancient wisdom.

For me, working on the mind is paramount. Also, remaining fit, healthy and curious helps me increase performance, find fulfilment and create peace of mind. I believe this is important both a personal and professional life.

My professional endeavours, which inform my work, include:
Human Performance Coaching (for Founders), Contemporary Psychotherapist, Yoga Teacher, Strength & Conditioning Trainer and Breathwork Trainer. Before this latest chapter of my life, I've been a Photographer, Advertising Exec & Dancer.

When I'm not working, educating or learning, I'll be out with my dogs by the sea in Brighton, UK.