Most men and women of today know but little about breathing. The breathe in an automatic and indifferent manner, just as they perform many other of life’s duties.
There is a joy, an exhilaration in breathing unlike any other of the joys of life. To learn how to breathe, is to get the best that there is in life. A happy man or woman always breathes naturally.
Full, deep breaths and happiness are closely connected. The blood must be purified of all those foreign elements which dull and deaden the body, if one expects to enjoy that degree of health which is essential to happiness.
Deep breathing means that every part of the lungs is brought into active use, every air cell is assisting in the process of cleansing the blood of impurities.
Shallow breathing means that only the upper part of the lungs is being actively used. Those who breathe indifferently only half live. They cannot wholly live, for they only live in proportion to the air cells of the lungs that are being used by them..
Various devices have been invented for the purpose of measuring lung capacity, and for developing the strength of the organs. About the only advantage that they possess in common is, that one becomes more interested in adding to the capacity of the lungs. Apparatus of any kind serves but little purpose beyond enabling you to test your actual improvement day by day.
An abnormal lung capacity does not possess any advantages. In fact, you can over-exercise the lungs, just as you can over-exercise the muscles of the arms. I knew an athlete on one occasion, who made such extraordinary endeavors of this character that he seriously stretched or strained the tissue of the lungs. Years ago, when I first became interested in the study of breathing, I practised the exercises in such an enthusiastic mariner that I slightly injured the lung tissues, though an entire avoidance of the exercises for a time enabled me to completely re-cover.
It should be remembered that there is very little danger of results of this nature. One must indeed be abnormally enthusiastic to thus harm himself.
The best time to take breathing exercises is while walking in the open air. The active exercise naturally induces a certain amount of full, deep breathing and it is then much less difficult to draw in a copious natural breath.
Though the first device herein presented can be used for breathing exercises, it should always be used out-of-doors, or else in a very thoroughly ventilated room. It accomplishes its intended purpose when it induces you to practice deep breathing, and is used simply as a means of measuring your improvement from time to time.
The following articles are required to make the first device illustrated. If your lung’ capacity is large, secure two bottles of one and one-half or two gallons in size. If your lung capacity is very moderate, a gallon bottle will do. A piece of rubber tubing, five feet in length, with an opening of about one-quarter of an inch. A large rubber tube, about eighteen inches or two feet in length, capable of stretching over the necks of the bottles. A slip of white cloth or surgeon’s adhesive plaster for pasting on the outside of the upper bottle to provide a means of measurement.
After having secured the above articles, take one of the bottles to a glazier and have the bottom part of it cut off, or else cut a hole of sufficient size to admit the small tubing. Now take the two bottles and fasten them on the wall as shown in second illustration, tacking a strap around the neck, and around the upper part of each bottle. The bottle with the hole in the bottom should be placed at the top. Next place one end of a large piece of hose over the neck of the lower bottle. Now force the small hose in through the free end of the large hose until it reaches the upper end of the lower inverted b o t t l e. Then pass the small hose up through the neck of the upper bottle, and force the large hose over the neck. After pouring in water until it has reached the full swell of the upper bottle, you are ready to mark down the measurement in cubic inches. Be sure that the water reaches the bottom of the slip of cloth or paper which you have pasted on the bottle for marking.
If you have any way of weighing *the water, it is an easy matter to ascertain the number of pounds contained in the bottle and then placing the total number of cubic inches up at the top; after which, you can. divide it as often as you please. But if this method can not be used put down your figures as follows: A quart of water contains 57.6 cubic inches. Pour a quart of water in the bottle and mark down on your measure at the point which the water reaches 57.6. Put in another quart and mark 115.2; another quart, marking 172.8, and continue on in this manner. Of course, each quart can be divided into halves and quarters and tenths, if desired, that you may get the exact number of cubic inches you are able to blow.
After having completed your measurement data, remove from the bottle the exact amount of water poured in for measuring purposes. Now fully fill the lungs, and with One breath blow slowly all that you can into the small tubing. The water will he gradually forced upward into the upper bottle and the number of cubic inches noted on the measure will give you the amount of air that you can expel from your lungs.
In order to secure a perfect spirometer, all you need is to invent some method that will enable you to measure the quantity of air that you expel. In making the second device here illustrated, provide yourself with two large tin cans that will hold from a gallon and a half to two gallons. One should be less in diameter than the other, and the narrow can should fit snugly within the other. The narrow can should be open at one end and closed at the other. At the closed end should be a little opening with a thin spout, as shown in illustration No. 4. These cans or buckets can sometimes be bought at a hardware store, but any tinsmith will make them for a very small sum of money.
If your lung capacity is large, the cans should be made to hold from a gallon and a half to two gallons. If small, cans of a gallon or a little more will be sufficiently large.
Now, if you have no method of measuring the number of cubic inches contained in the inner can, you can arrange your measuring rule in the following manner: Place the taller can in which the nozzle or spout is fastened upside down on a table. Be careful to let the nozzle extend over the edge of the table, stop it up and pour in water to the depth of about half an inch. Secure a quart measure that is absolutely accurate. Now place a long slip of stiff paper on the inside of the can containing the water, ex-tending from the bottom to the top.
Just at the top limit of the water make a mark on this paper with a lead pencil. Next carefully pour a quart of water into the can. Then, with lead pencil, mark on the paper the exact point where the water comes after having poured in a full quart. There are, as said, 57.6 cubic inches in a quart of water. You will thus be able to place at this line the figures 57.6. Put in another quart and mark down twice 57.6, equalling .115.2, add still another and mark it three times 57.6, equalling 172.8. Continue until your can is very nearly full.
Next take out your paper and transfer this data to your measuring rule. For instance, turn the paper upside clown, placing the first mark you have made at the top of the larger can where we have zero in illustration No. 5. Your next line would record 57.6. Now, if you will pick up the rubber tube and blow into the can until it so raises that the line re-cording 57.6 has reached the top of the lower can, von will then have blown 57.6 cubic inches of air into the device.
Now you can take your rule and subdivide the spaces originally marked off as often as you choose. Between each line you can make from four to ten divisions if you desire. This is especially necessary as you reach the larger numbers, in order to accurately indicate the amount of air exhaled.