Author Archives: barry

Breathing

You think you’ve had a lot of boosters?!

In case you are wondering which illegal side-hustle I would steer you away from most aggressively, did you hear about the man, aged 60, arrested in Germany this week? He apparently repeatedly went for COVID shots so he could sell the vaccine cards to vaccine-hesitant citizens who were hoping carry on about town with the benefits usually reserved for the vaccinated population.

They estimate he took 90 shots! … say what?! What an intense scam! 

Mild uptick in New England

We are seeing a few cases and exposures every week in the practice. The positive case numbers for our county have turned upwards mildly these last two weeks. We are still at only 10% of the highest peak. It’s a notable increase, but the activity is still relatively low at this point. The majority of what we are seeing in America is the Omicron sub-variant now, which is thought to be more contagious than Omicron, but not more lethal. Don’t forget that Omicron proved milder than previous variants. 
It’s possible we see a small bump in cases for a few weeks from this variant before leveling out again, but it’s tough to say!

Ventilation

Which intervention is the best preventative technique, in my opinion? Ventilation. Air exchange. And I’m not alone. Experts agree that getting the air circulating is a wise priority. It’s more essential than hand-washing, masks, or maybe even distance. This COVID bugger is air borne and that’s where we should focus our mitigation!

Swapping out the air is a major key. Some pointers: 

  • meet outside.
  • open windows with company.
  • avoid stuffy, crowded places. 

 If you are of high risk, don’t stay in a stuffy location. Make sure your environment is breathing properly, which is cleansing.

Speaking of air exchange

What about your own breathing? It’s worth some consideration. Check out this list of tips from the Breathing Retraining Center. 

  1. Breathe through the nose all the time including while eating, speaking and exercising. Don’t do anything faster than you can do it breathing with your nose.
  2. Maintain an upright posture.  Keep the airway vertical and open
  3. Breathe into the diaphragm, not the chest.  Think of the breathing action as originating from the diaphragm muscle under the ribs, not the nose.
  4. Breathe with a regular, predictable pattern of steady, similar-sized breaths.  Minimize disruptions such as sighing, yawning, coughing, throat clearing or breath holding followed by a big breath. 
  5. Breathe like a baby breathes: silently, gently and invisibly. Strong gusts are abrasive to the airway.
  6. Breathe 8-12 breaths per minute. Unless it’s an emergency, slower light breathing is better than fast breathing.
  7. Match breathing to activity. When resting, breathe gently using all the principles listed above. During exercise, breathe heavier as needed, then cool down the breathing like you would cool down your muscles to transition back to the rest state.
  8. Allow breathing to happen without expending energy.  Exhale completely but not forcibly. Practice inhaling and exhaling without controlling it.
  9. Practice relaxation of muscles and thoughts.  Tension requires more air.  Stop negative thoughts.  Think thoughts that engender positive feelings. Embrace instead of defend. 

With good habits we can leave our breathing to a state just below our consciousness, where it belongs. Then our focus can be on our sensory life and developing a clear, keen mental capacity.

COVID numbers round up

News from the week:

  • In Mass the 7 day average for the entire state rose again slightly to around 1300 cases per day on average, up from 800 cases per day range last week (max peak was 20,000).
  • Berkshires cases are at 30 cases per 100,000 population per day (seven day average) over the last week up from 10 cases per day 2 weeks ago. Max was 300 cases per day. Columbia county remains low, but has increased as well — now 14 cases per 100,000 population seven day average, up from 8.
  • US as a whole is still in the 30,000 cases per day range.