Breathwork and blood sugar levels… what’s the connection and why is this important? Well, first of all, as coaches, healers, and facilitators, it’s important for us to understand the various ways in which our clients’ health and well-being can be impacted by different practices. And second, regulating our blood sugar is super important! You just might not know why, so let’s dive into that first…
Understanding Blood Sugar Levels
Before we dive into how breathwork specifically can help regulate blood sugar levels, let’s first break down what blood sugar actually is and why it’s important to maintain a healthy balance.
In a nutshell: our bodies rely on glucose, a type of sugar, for energy. Glucose is found in the food we eat and is also produced by our liver. (1)
When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose and released into our bloodstream. This causes a rise in blood sugar levels. The pancreas releases insulin, which helps transport glucose from the blood into cells for energy. Fun, hey!?
But, if our blood sugar levels are consistently too high, it can lead to a condition called hyperglycemia. This can cause symptoms such as:
- increased thirst and a dry mouth.
- needing to pee frequently.
- blurred vision.
- unintentional weight loss.
- recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis), and skin infections. (2)
On the other hand, if our blood sugar levels are too low, it can lead to hypoglycemia. This can cause symptoms such as:
- Fast heartbeat.
- Nervousness or anxiety.
- Irritability or confusion.
- shakiness, confusion, and anxiety. (3)
If severe enough, hypoglycemia can even result in loss of consciousness (fainting/passing out). Yikes!
Some things that are known to affect blood sugar levels are:
- Physical activity.
- Stress levels.
- Medications or medical conditions that affect hormone levels, such as diabetes.
As you can see, maintaining a healthy balance of blood sugar is crucial for our overall well-being. That’s where breathwork comes in!
How Breathwork Works to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Now that we understand the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, how exactly can breathwork help with this?
Well, studies show that stress and anxiety can play a major role in disrupting blood sugar levels. In fact, “Diabetes is classified as a metabolic disease and has been associated with stress.” (4) When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can increase glucose production and lead to higher blood sugar levels.
Breathwork, on the other hand, can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the “rest and digest” response. This helps to reduce stress hormones, relax the body, and keep our blood sugar levels in check.
Breathwork to Reduce Sugar Cravings & Regulate Blood Sugar
Aside from managing stress levels, breathwork can also help to reduce sugar cravings and regulate blood sugar levels through mindful eating.
When we are stressed or anxious, we tend to turn to comfort foods high in sugar for a quick boost of energy. (5) However, this can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and add unnecessary strain on our bodies (and the all too common “sugar crash” I think most of us have experienced at some point!)
By incorporating breathwork into our daily routine, we can become more connected to our bodies and in tune with our body’s natural hunger signals. This can help us make more mindful choices when it comes to our food intake, leading to better blood sugar regulation and reduced cravings for sugary foods.
Breathwork to Support Healthy Lifestyle Changes
In addition to its direct impact on blood sugar levels, breathwork can also support overall healthy lifestyle changes.
When we are stressed or overwhelmed, it can be difficult to make positive choices for our health and well-being. But by reducing stress and calming the mind, breathwork creates space for clients to make informed and healthy lifestyle choices like better dietary habits, exercise, and regular sleep patterns — which all in turn impact our blood sugar levels.
With breathwork, clients are better equipped to break the cycle of sugar cravings and develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.
(Not to mention breathwork is AMAZING at helping with sleep too!)
Integrating Breathwork Into Your Health & Wellness Coaching Toolkit
As coaches, healers, and facilitators, we’re always looking for effective and natural ways to support our client’s health and well-being. Breathwork is an excellent complement to other holistic practices like meditation, intuitive eating, and somatic healing.
By offering breathwork as part of your health and wellness coaching toolkit, you’re giving your clients a powerful tool that’s backed by science to improve their health while also addressing any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to their blood sugar levels.
Breathwork may not be a cure-all for diabetes or other chronic diseases, but it is certainly a powerful tool in promoting overall health and well-being. By reducing stress levels, regulating blood sugar, and promoting mindful eating, breathwork can play a major role in managing and preventing chronic diseases associated with stress.
As coaches, we have the power to offer our clients a holistic approach to healing, and incorporating breathwork into our practice is just one more way we can support their journey to optimal health.
So why not invite your clients to take a deep breath with you? I just KNOW it has the power to be life-changing and they’ll thank you later for it.
So don’t wait to get on the breathwork train. — it’s time to add it to your coaching toolkit if you’re ready to see your clients thrive both physically and emotionally. Remember, sometimes the simplest solutions right in front of our eyes (or below them *wink wink*) can have the biggest impact. You are the drug.
Happy breathwork-ing! Until next time.
Samantha Skelly + The Pause Breathwork Team
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