SIMPLE breathing techniques can help reduce your risk of coronavirus, experts have revealed.

Social distancing and washing your hands are the two most important ways of stopping the bug, but there are other things that can help, experts told The Sun.

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Breathing techniques can help in two ways, osteopath Tom Parry, owner of LiveLong Ltd in Suffolk, revealed.

He said simply breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth when you are out in public can help reduce your risk.

Not only does the nose filter the air you breathe in, to stop germs getting into your lungs, it can also boost oxygen levels in the blood by as much as 15 per cent.

Increasing your oxygen levels can reduce stress and anxiety and build a stronger immune system, studies have shown.

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Tom, who is also a qualified Wim Hof instructor, told The Sun: "Oxygen is a source of energy for respiration in our cells.

"Breathing through your nose acts as a natural filter, helping to clear out pollutants and germs before they reach your lungs.

"So, by breathing through your nose when you're out shopping for essentials, and keeping your mouth shut, you can reduce your risk of catching coronavirus."

The other important way nasal breathing can help is by increasing oxygen levels.

That's because breathing through the nose releases nitric oxide, which is necessary to increase carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn is what releases oxygen.

Nitric oxide is a colourless gas produced in the sinuses that helps blood vessels dilate – making them wider and larger.

The bigger blood vessels are, the more oxygen they can carry in the bloodstream to the body's vital organs.

Clinical trials

As well as being naturally produced, nitric oxide has been used for years in medicine.

It's typically blended with oxygen to treat patients in critical care, often to treat babies with birth defects.

Tom said nitric oxide is also known to have the power to help kill off viruses.

It was tested on patients during the 2002-2003 pandemic caused by Sars – the close cousin of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Now, a new trial has been launched in the US to test nitric oxide's benefits in patients struck down with Covid-19.

Overseen by Massachusetts General Hospital, part of Harvard University, patients with mild to moderate cases are being given nitric oxide through a CPAP machine for 20 to 30 minutes a day, twice a day for two weeks.

Scientists hope the gas will help "kill" the virus deep in the lungs, as well as reduce lung damage and the need for patients to go on a ventilator.

Meanwhile, a separate team at Louisana State University are set to trial nitric oxide in healthcare workers.

Dr Keith Scott, prof of paediatrics, surgery and medicine, said: "We have tremendous confidence this therapy will alter the devastating effects of Covid-19, but we must test it.

"If results show promise, and since this gas is already FDA approved, widespread use could begin immediately."

Deep breaths

Not only does breathing through the nose increase nitric oxide levels, it also slows your breathing rate down.

This has the benefit of helping you take longer, deeper breaths, and in turn you can get more oxygen to your lungs, Tom explained.

While every living person knows how to breathe, Tom said there are ways to train yourself to breathe better.

"We all know how to breathe, we do it all day, every day," Tom said.

"But to really breathe deeply you need to learn to do it. I tell my patients, it's like going to the gym. You won't get fit after one session, you have to train your body.

"And you can train your body to breathe better."

Tom said you have to start by placing your hands on the side of your lower ribcage.

As you take a deep breath, focus on breathing into your hands and feel your ribcage expand.

"This helps activate the diaphragm and means you can take a full breath helping you to fill the lungs," Tom said.

"Repeat this regularly throughout the day.

"It's about doing little and often – the compound effect on your health is the key."

Increasing oxygen levels, by breathing deeply and through your nose, can help those suffering symptoms of Covid-19.

But, it is also something that can help in daily life, reducing anxiety and helping

"Breathing is the one thing we all do, and so learning to do it better can improve your overall health," Tom added.

"We can't go out at the moment, but we can focus on our health, so this is a great chance to reconnect to your body."

Doc's orders

Doctors also recommend using breathing techniques to help alleviate coronavirus symptoms.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of, told The Sun Online: “First and foremost, coronavirus affects your airways.

“In mild cases you may just have a dry cough or fever, possible with tiredness or aching muscles.

“However, in more serious cases it is common to develop shortness of breath as the infection settles deeper in your lungs.

“In addition, it’s natural to feel anxious when you have symptoms of coronavirus, and that can make you feel breathless.

“Taking slow deep breaths can help calm you down and improve your breathing."

It comes as JK Rowling revealed she used breathing exercises to help relieve coronavirus symptoms.

The Harry Potter author shared a video on Twitter showing an NHS doctor demonstrating the method for relieving symptoms.

In the clip, Dr Sarfaraz Munshi, who works at Queen's Hospital in Romford, east London, said that the practice is used on intensive care patients.


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