Breathing for better health

Posted on: 17th January, 2017

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

In 2013, Brian Murphy, a primary school teacher from Glengarriff, was diagnosed with asthma after suffering from a severe chest infection and bronchitis. This led him to the Buteyko Breathing Breathing method. He has lived medication-free ever since. Brian went on to train with Buteyko Practitioners International and is now a qualified practitioner of the Buteyko Breathing Method.

The Buteyko Breathing Method was developed by Konstantin Buteyko, a Ukrainian doctor in the 1950s. Dr Buteyko discovered that over-breathing or hyperventilation was at the root of many diseases, especially diseases of the respiratory system, such as asthma.

Buteyko Practitioner Brian Murphy explains how, with perseverance, our breathing patterns can be re-trained, greatly improving our health and wellbeing.

How we breathe affects our health – asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, anxiety and exercise-induced asthma are all connected to how we breathe.

Breathing is the most vital act that our body automatically carries out, on average 20,000 times a day or 7.3 million times a year! It is so basic to our survival that most of us never consider that anything can be changed about the way we breathe.

If it feels like we don’t get enough air what can we do? If we are wheezing and coughing all the time isn’t that just the way we are? If we are tired in the morning and have been snoring all night surely we will just have to tolerate it, as will our partners?

Each person breathes on average 20,000 times a day but for many the act of breathing is filled with stress and anxiety. Many people complain that they are ‘shallow’ breathing, that they are not getting enough air, that they are constantly wheezing, that they snore or have sleep apnea and are exhausted when they wake up. For many, exercise, especially vigourous exercise like running or cycling can be stressful. Most runners complain that their breathing lets them down long before their legs give in when pushing themselves in a race. Poor breathing habits and anxiety go hand in hand.

The good news is that our breathing patterns can be re-trained. Although our breathing can feel like an automatic, unconscious drive that we have no control over, we can, with a bit of perseverance gain control and mastery over our breathing. The results are far-reaching for our health. Calmer, quieter breathing can replace anxious breathing. Genuinely deep, relaxed breathing can replace shallow, upper chest breathing. Wheezing can be controlled, sleep quality improved and exercising can be the enjoyable, relaxing activity it should be. All this affects our energy levels and sense of well-being.

BREATHING TIPS – How to help yourself right now

(a) Pay attention to how we are breathing during the day. Try to calm and reduce the volume of air that we breathe. If we are watching TV for example and we can hear our breathing, this is a sign that we are breathing too much. Healthy breathing is calm, quiet, effortless and relaxed. ALWAYS BREATHE THROUGH THE NOSE.

(b) Switch to breathing through our nose only during exercise. This may involve slowing down at first but exercise becomes much more enjoyable and in the long term we will be able to go faster. Let the nose be your guide when it comes to the speed of our run, cycle or workout. If we feel like we need to switch to mouth breathing we are going too fast! Maybe start with a daily walk with mouth closed then build it up to walk or jog.

Following the full breathing re-training programme can greatly improve health and well-being.

Your breath is within your control.

Brian runs classes in Bantry, Ballincollig and Cork City. One-on-one clinics and Skype lessons are also available.

Call Brian on 087 7738616 or email for more details or see

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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