My Journey to the Breath
I am 31 years old at the time of this writing. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 11 years old. At age 25, I read Art DeVany’s book The New Evolution Diet, and for the first time in my life I started caring about my blood sugars. I focused on diet and exercise and immediately saw improvements in my energy levels and blood sugars. I became passionate about using food and exercise to control my diabetes. (From 11 to 25 years old, my HbA1c was typically in the low to mid 8s. After the food and exercise changes, I got it down to around the mid 6s.)
After tons of books and podcasts, I eventually tried meditation at age 28, and I have continued the practice ever since. Meditation was my first introduction to the breath. But, it didn’t get me “hooked.”
Then, like everyone else who listens to Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan, I became obsessed with Wim Hof. My wife bought me the 10-week online course and I practiced almost religiously. The breathing technique makes you feel great when you’re finished, and Wim’s charisma is energizing in itself. I practiced the Wim Hof Method every day for almost a year. I was a believer and didn’t think there was anything better.
Although I had heard of Patrick McKeown, I immediately dismissed his idea that we needed to “breathe less.” Reluctantly, I listened to a podcast he was on. As the saying goes, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Everything he said made sense to me. Rather than a “technique,” he was talking about breathing better 24/7. I went to the pharmacy, bought some paper tape, and slept with my mouth taped that night. The next day I was emailing my wife at work telling her that I could not believe how much energy I had. After one night of taping my mouth, I felt like a completely different person. Now, I was hooked.
After a few weeks of mouth taping, “breathing light to breathe right,” and practicing walking breath holds, I started noticing dramatic improvements with my diabetes. I was taking less insulin and my blood sugars were the best they had ever been. The best part for me was that I was waking up in great range almost every morning. I have always struggled with morning blood sugars…a bad dream can send your glucose skyrocketing…roll over onto your insulin pump site and you might not get insulin all night…the list goes on and on. But something about taping my mouth shut was allowing me to get the best sleep of my life, with the added bonus of waking up in great range (although the two obviously work together).
As a research scientist, I needed to understand how breathing correctly was having such a positive impact on my blood sugars. I started reading articles on breathing and diabetes and became fascinated with the science. I also signed up to become an instructor of Patrick McKeown’s Oxygen Advantage® breathing technique so I could understand it better and share the amazing benefits I had experienced with others. In March 2018, I traveled to Portland, OR to train under Patrick McKeown and became a certified instructor of the Oxygen Advantage®. Since then, I have continued to read scientific articles almost every day. I am always amazed to learn how much breathing can help control diabetes. Through my reading and experience, I have developed some guiding principles for how to use the breath to control diabetes. I practice these breathing principles every day and continue to see great results. My last A1c was 5.4, the best it’s been in my life!
December 2015 Ph.D. in Meteorology from Florida State University
March 2018 Certified instructor of the Oxygen Advantage®
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along my journey. Specifically, my amazing wife, my two dogs, my family, and all of my friends. Thank you to Patrick McKeown for introducing me to the power of light breathing and changing my life. Furthermore, they say that you are the average of your the 5 people you spend the most time with. Thanks to technology, I feel like these 5 people (besides my wife of course) are Brian Johnson, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, Chris Kresser, and Robb Wolf, even though none of them know who I am! I am truly grateful for all of the positive influences in my life.