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Lillian Wilson

Top Five Books About Breathing

Whether you're looking for an entertaining or science-based read explaining why breathing is so essential, these best buys have got you covered.

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Have you ever noticed how your breath changes when you’re stressed or anxious? Or how taking a deep breath can instantly calm your mind and body? Breathing is something we do all day, every day, but how often do we think about how we’re doing it?

The act of breathing has long been recognised as a powerful tool for improving our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And lucky for us, there are plenty of books out there to help us explore the fascinating world of breathing.

Whether you’re just starting your breathwork journey or seeking to improve a particular aspect of your life, there are numerous excellent books available. In this article, we will highlight seven of Healthypedia’s team favourite books about breathing, which offer practical advice, fascinating insights, and inspiring stories to help you delve deeper into the power of breath.

1’The Oxygen Advantage’ by Patrick McKeown

‘The perfect person breathes as if they are not breathing.’
Patrick McKeown
’The Oxygen Advantage’

When talking about breathing it is impossible not to mention Patrick McKeown. He is one of the world’s leading trainers who promote the Buteyko breathing method and by their own example prove that restoring innate breathing patterns can really change your life.

The book The Oxygen Advantage is one of Patrick’s most recent works that is based on over 300 research papers and studies. Despite this, the read bears an adequate balance between the science of breathing and the real-life stories of Patrick and his clients who directly took advantage of the information the book contains.

The Oxygen Advantage disbands common misconceptions about breathing and gives easy and well-described breathing exercises that will appeal to those interested in the topic of breathing and especially athletes. In this book, you will find answers to questions about why breathing more is not always better, and how to increase the efficiency of your breathing process. A decent part of this read is dedicated to the topic of athletic performance and how it can be improved via breathwork. So, if you are an avid athlete, you will find it useful because who does not want to have a better physical performance by just breathing?

Oxygen Advantage Book Cover Patrick McKeown

Best for: people who are interested in the science of breathing and athletes looking to improve their physical performance through breathwork.

2’Breath’ by James Nestor

‘No matter what we eat, how much we exercise, how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are – none of it will matter unless we’re breathing correctly. That’s what these researchers discovered. The missing pillar in health is breath. It all starts there.’
James Nestor
‘Breath‘

Breath by James Nestor is a thought-provoking and well-written book that explores the potential benefits of conscious breathing.

The book tackles the scepticism surrounding the idea that conscious breathing can have significant effects on various aspects of health, including stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, respiratory ailments, and digestion.

It’s light on scientific evidence making it best suited for anyone who is new to this topic and is looking to delve into the world of conscious breathing.

The book recommends nose breathing and engaging in yoga-style breathing exercises, which are benign and may improve overall health.

A considerable flaw is that the book doesn’t offer many practical exercises, so you will need some additional sources in order to practise breathwork.

Breath book cover James Nestor

Best for: people who are new to the topic of conscious breathing and are interested in exploring its potential benefits.

3’The Breathing Cure’ by Patrick McKeown

‘Clear your blocked nose, stress and relax your nervous system, improve lung function, prepare for competition and more…’
Patrick McKeown
’The Breathing Cure’

If you’re looking for a comprehensive reference book on breathwork, The Breathing Cure by Dr. Patrick McKeown is an excellent resource.

In this book, you will find all the answers you might have about the biological, biochemical and psychological aspects of breathing. It is well-backed with scientific papers, so after reading this book you will never hesitate about the importance of breathing.

What features The Breathing Cure from other books that cover this topic, is that it explains how we can improve almost every single aspect of our lives through breathing. The book covers a range of topics, including stress, anxiety, panic disorders, focus and concentration, athletic performance, sleep disorders, diabetes, digestion, weight management, seizure control, and sexual function.

This read also offers a plethora of breathing techniques for managing chronic diseases, improving mood, mental focus, sleep quality and much more.

This book is ideal for those who are already familiar with the benefits of breathwork and are looking for a single, comprehensive resource. It’s a valuable contribution to the breathwork community as a whole.

The Breathing Cure Book Cover Patrick McKeown

Best for: people who want to dig deeper into the science of breathing and are into improving all aspects of health via proper breathing.

4’The Power of Breathwork: Simple Practices to Promote Wellbeing’ by Jennifer Patterson

‘Enhance connection, creativity, joy, and intuition. Reduce physical pain as well as tension, depression, anxiety, and trauma…’
‘The Power of Breathwork’

Jennifer Patterson’s The Power of Breathwork is an excellent resource for anyone looking to get started with breathwork or deepen their existing practice. Patterson draws on a variety of breathing practices from different spiritual and healing traditions to provide readers with 25 simple exercises that can be practised alone or with a partner. The book focuses on improving immune function and enhancing connection, creativity, joy, and intuition via the power of breath.

In addition to the exercises, the book also provides useful tips on building an altar, using scent, visualisations, and grounding, as well as somatic writing prompts to help support your practice. Patterson begins by explaining what breathwork is and why it can be used to heal the body and mind, then goes on to discuss what happens in the physical, energetic, and emotional body during practice.

The book’s solo breath patterns include the most popular and effective breath works like 4-7-8 Breath, Box Breathing, Pursed Lip Breath, Alternate Nostril Breath, and more. What sets it apart from other books in this niche is partner exercises designed to help individuals work with witnessing and being witnessed, giving and receiving touch, and navigating conflict.

The Power of Breathwork is an easy-to-read book that provides simple and approachable ways to intentionally and effectively breathe for healing and joy. Whether you are a beginner or have an existing practice, this book is an excellent resource that is sure to help you take your breathwork to the next level.

The Power of Breathwork Book Cover Jennifer Patterson (1)

Best for: people with any background knowledge in breathing who are seeking a way of improving mental health and creativity via breathwork.

5’The Healing Power of the Breath’ by Richard P. Brown  and Patricia L. Gerbarg

‘Firmly based in scientific and clinical observations, the simple techniques in The Healing Power of the Breath are a breakthrough for anyone wishing to lessen stress, balance emotions, and/or enhance concentration.’
Shad Meshad
President and founder of the National Veterans Foundation

The Healing Power of the Breath is an accessible and informative book written by Drs. Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg, are two psychiatrists who specialise in integrative treatments for mental health conditions. The book presents a range of simple breathing techniques that have been scientifically shown to be effective in alleviating common stress-related and mood problems, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and depression.

The authors explain how breathing practices positively impact the brain, the stress response, and the communication pathways between the mind and the body. They present fourteen breathing techniques drawn from yoga, neurofeedback, and qi gong, for addressing specific stress and mood challenges.

One of the strengths of The Healing Power of the Breath is the way the authors explain the science behind breathing practices, which can be helpful for readers who may be sceptical or unfamiliar with the benefits of breathwork. The book also provides practical tips for integrating breathing techniques into daily life, and the included audio program is a valuable resource for anyone looking to develop regular breathwork practice.

While the book does not lack scientific backing, the authors also include some anecdotal stories of people who have experienced profound changes through breathwork making the very book pleasant to read.

The Healing Power of the Breath is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their mental and emotional health through breathwork. The book’s clear explanations, practical tips, and included audio program make it an accessible and useful guide for beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

The Healing Power of the Breath Book Cover Richard Brown Patricia Gerbarg

Best for: this book will appeal to both beginners and experienced practitioners who want to integrate breathwork into their daily life and improve cognitive and mental wellness.

Open,Book,On,The,Table,In,Library

Let’s summarise

Breathing is a powerful tool for improving our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Whether you’re new to the world of breathwork or seeking to deepen your existing practice, there are numerous excellent books available to help you explore the fascinating world of breathing. The books highlighted in this article offer practical advice, fascinating insights, and inspiring stories to help you delve deeper into the power of breath. These books provide easy-to-follow techniques that will appeal to everyone. So why not take the time to explore the world of breathwork and discover the amazing benefits that it can bring to your life?

Not enough? Here are some more

If you got inspired to read something about breathing but haven’t ordered or bought a book yet, what about reading one of our articles? ‘10 Reasons Why Nose Breathing is Superior to Mouth Breathing and How to Restore Nasal Breathing’ is an excellent read to start with and get acquainted with all the ups of nasal breathing and downs of mouth breathing.


Healthypedia FAQ

Reading books about breathing can provide practical advice, fascinating insights, and inspiring stories to help you delve deeper into the power of breath. These books can offer guidance on specific breathing techniques, explain the science behind breathwork, and provide tips for integrating breathing exercises into your daily life.

Yes, The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown is an excellent book that focuses on how proper breathing techniques can improve athletic performance. The book disbands common misconceptions about breathing and gives well-described breathing exercises that will appeal to athletes.

The Breathing Cure by Dr. Patrick McKeown is an excellent resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive reference book on breathwork. This read explains how we can improve almost every single aspect of our lives through breathing, backed up by scientific papers. It covers a range of topics, including stress, anxiety, and panic disorders, athletic performance, sleep disorders, diabetes, digestion, weight management, seizure control, and sexual function.

Breath by James Nestor is a thought-provoking and well-written book that explores the potential benefits of conscious breathing, making it best suited for anyone who is new to this topic. The book recommends nose breathing and engaging in yoga-style breathing exercises, which are benign and may improve overall health. However, it doesn't offer many practical exercises, so additional sources may be needed to practice breathwork.

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