Lillian Wilson

The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

Discover how breathing can improve your physical performance and quality of life with 'The Oxygen Advantage' by Patrick McKeown.

The Oxygen Advantage Patrick McKeown Book Review

The book has gotten 4.03 ⭐️ on GoodReads.

"A simple yet revolutionary approach to improving your body’s oxygen use, increasing your health, weight loss, and sports performance – whether you’re a recovering couch potato or an Ironman triathlon champion. With a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Dr. Joseph Mercola."

The Oxygen Advantage‘ is a buzzbook in the world of breathwork literature. Written by renowned breathing coach – Patrick McKeown – ‘The Oxygen Advantage‘ presents a thorough and inclusive manual on the practice of breathwork, with a specific emphasis on the advantages of nasal breathing in relation to athletic performance, physical fitness, and general well-being.

Throughout this review, I will discuss the key insights, recommendations, topics covered and the author’s credibility.

Author’s background

Patrick McKeown is a highly regarded authority in the field of health and breathing, specifically in breathing and sleep. He gained expertise in breath training through personal experience, overcoming his own asthma using the Buteyko Breathing Method.

Seeking further knowledge, he travelled to Moscow to study under Dr. Konstantin Buteyko and became accredited to teach the method in 2002. Patrick’s accomplishments and reputation have made him an internationally recognized expert, holding prominent positions such as creator, CEO, and Director of Education and Training at Oxygen Advantage®.

The credibility of ‘The Oxygen Advantage’ is reinforced by the extensive list of sources and references cited throughout the book. McKeown provides a thorough overview of the research on the effects of nasal breathing on physiology, athletic performance, and overall health, and supports his claims with numerous references and citations. These sources include scientific studies, articles from reputable journals, and presentations by experts in the field.

What is the book about?

The book is structured into three sections and a summary section. The first part offers a comprehensive examination of the scientific and historic aspects of breath. McKeown explores the disparities between nasal and mouth breathing, highlighting the benefits of nasal breathing in optimizing the body’s oxygen intake and utilisation.

The second part of the book is focused on the way one can improve their fitness performance via practising breathing exercises. This section provides readers with a range of techniques and exercises aimed at cultivating nasal breathing habits and improving athletic performance. McKeown furnishes meticulous instructions and valuable guidance on incorporating nasal breathing into various contexts, including exercise routines, sleep patterns, and daily activities.

The third part is revolving around the importance of nose breathing for the reduction of fatigue, and injury risks. This part also gives useful insights into how breathwork can alleviate asthma symptoms and boost heart health.

It is worth mentioning that breathing exercises do not occupy a separate chapter or part in the book, they naturally accompany the theoretical material making it easier to use for practical purposes.

Table of contents

  • Dedication
  • Epigraph
  • Foreword by Dr. Joseph Mercola
  • Introduction: Do More with Less
  • Part I: The Secret of Breath
  • The Oxygen Paradox
  • How Fit Are You Really? The Body Oxygen Level Test (BOLT)
  • Noses Are for Breathing, Mouths Are for Eating
  • Breathe Light to Breathe Right
  • Secrets of Ancient Tribes
  • Part II: The Secret of Fitness
  • Gaining the Edge—Naturally
  • Bring the Mountain to You
  • Finding the Zone
  • Part III: The Secret of Health
  • Rapid Weight Loss Without Dieting
  • Reduce Physical Injury and Fatigue
  • Improve Oxygenation of Your Heart
  • Eliminate Exercise-Induced Asthma
  • Athletic Endeavor—Nature or Nurture?
  • Exercise as if Your Life Depends on It
  • Part IV: Your Oxygen Advantage Program
  • Summary and General Program Based on BOLT Score and Health
  • Quick Reference Summary of the Oxygen Advantage Program
  • Oxygen Advantage Exercise Summary
  • Breathe Light to Breathe Right (Advanced Method)
  • General Program Based on BOLT and Health
  • Program for BOLT Score of Less Than 10 Seconds (or an Unhealthy or Older Person)
  • Program for BOLT Score of 10 to 20 Seconds
  • Program for BOLT Score of 20 to 30 Seconds
  • Program for BOLT Score of 30 Seconds Plus
  • Program for Weight Loss or Obesity (suitable for all BOLT scores)
  • Program for Children and Teenagers
  • Appendix: Upper Limits and Safety of Breath Holding
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • About
  • Index
  • About the Author
  • Also by Patrick McKeown
  • Copyright
  • About the Publisher

Three key takeaways from the book

1Breath-holding has a myriad of health and longevity benefits

The book introduces the immense benefits of breath-holding. By practising breath-holding exercises one can improve physical performance and immunity. People who practised it were reported to have higher levels of anti-inflammatory proteins. Breathing exercises, that have breath-holding in their basis, were also shown to increase longevity by preserving the health of stem cells.

The Oxygen Advantage‘ provides techniques and exercises for developing breath-holding skills, emphasising proper technique and safety precautions.

2You may use breath work as a way to improve your physical performance

If you are a sports enthusiast and want to boost your stamina and endurance, breathing exercises may help you with that. Through various examples from studies and his own practice, Patrick McKeown proves that one can improve their physical performance by boosting CO2 tolerance. Core stability and balance can be enhanced via diaphragmatic breathing and the emission of lactic acid can be decreased if you practise breath holding.

3Breathwork is one of the best cures for asthma

Using breathwork to alleviate asthma symptoms takes a prominent place in Patrick Mckeown’s books as the author suffered from it himself and practising breathing exercises was the only cure for him. On the contrary, after having an operation, his symptoms remained the same.

Interestingly, 50% of asthma symptoms were reduced after practising breathwork for two weeks.

Thus, reduced breathing exercises have the capacity of preventing hyperventilation and restoring normal breathing volume of asthma patients leading to partial or full recovery.

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Thorough overview of the science of breath.

  • A practical approach to nasal breathing techniques.

  • All breathing exercises are explained in detail and are accompanied by pictures and graphs.

  • Emphasis on the mind-body connection.


  • Repetitiveness in the book’s content: this feature might be attributed to the fact that The Oxygen Advantage is a manual on breathwork, however, the author does tend to rehash some already mentioned facts in previous chapters. This may make the reading process more redundant.

Best quotes from ‘The Oxygen Advantage’

"Efficient breathing means that fewer free radicals are produced, reducing the risk of inflammation, tissue damage, and injury."
"The earlier you begin to encourage your children to breathe through their nose and ensure the correct positioning of the tongue, the better. Not only might you help them avoid orthodontic treatment altogether, but the shape of their face, their general health, and their athleticism will be significantly influenced during these few short years. Even genetic predispositions can be minimized when the right action and behavior is enshrined."
"…coronary unit found that of 153 heart attack victims, 100% breathed predominantly using their upper chest, 75% were chronic mouth-breathers, and 70% demonstrated open-mouthed breathing during sleep."

Final takeaway

The Oxygen Advantage‘ by Patrick McKeown is a comprehensive and valuable resource for individuals interested in breathwork, athletes looking to enhance their performance, and those seeking to improve their overall health and well-being. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the science of breathing, nasal breathing techniques, athletic performance, weight loss, injury reduction, heart health, and more. McKeown’s expertise and credibility in the field are evident through his extensive research and references. While the scientific content may be challenging for some readers, the book’s practical approach and personal anecdotes make it engaging and relatable.

This book is best suited for people interested in breathing science and athletes seeking to improve their performance through breathwork.

Where to buy

You may purchase ‘The Oxygen Advantage on Amazon at the best price. It is available in Kindle, paperback, and audio versions, so you are free to choose the format that suits you best.

Healthypedia FAQ

Proper breathing is important for many reasons. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve athletic performance, reduce chronic pain, and enhance overall health and well-being.

Improper breathing can be caused by a breathing pattern disorder, physical injuries or abnormalities in the respiratory muscles, and mental or emotional stress.

There are several ways to improve your breathing, including practising belly breathing, using your nose to breathe, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, seeking medical treatment for respiratory issues, and staying aware of air quality.

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