Breathing Principles

Through science articles, books, classes, and my own personal experience, I have discovered three guiding principles for how to use the breath to control diabetes. These principles form the foundation of breathing protocols used in the scientific literature and also underlie many popular breathing techniques. However, I prefer “principles” over “techniques” because there are many different methods that fall within each principle. You choose which is right for you.

These principles are meant to complement your current diabetes care plan. If you just got diabetes or have not had luck with management in the past, breathing is a great place to start. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes what he calls “Keystone Habits”: habits that facilitate other good habits. I believe correct breathing is a keystone habit that forms the foundation of good health.

Correct breathing is a keystone habit that forms the foundation of good health.

Once you start noticing improvements in your blood sugars, you’ll be motivated to keep going. Of course, breathing alone will not fix everything, but it will make everything else easier!


1. Breathe lightly & slowly, through your nose, using your diaphragm

Diabetics have an overactive sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and an under-active parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). This makes sense given that our bodies are under the constant stress of fluctuating blood sugars. And, you have probably seen that when…


2. Breathe through your nose at night—> tape your mouth

This is by far the easiest principle to implement and might also be the most important. As described in Principle 1, there are many benefits of breathing through your nose. Nose breathing warms and humidifies the incoming air, improves gas exchange in the lungs, naturally activates…


3. Hold your breath

When I began practicing the Oxygen Advantage®, I was performing breath holds as a way to boost performance. I was not training for anything in particular, but doing breath holds increased my energy and gave me more confidence when I went surfing. I now know that breath holds played…