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Valentina Carlile Osteopata
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  • Writer's pictureValentina Carlile DO

The nasal cycle: this is why we breathe one nostril at a time

The nasal cycle: this is why we breathe one nostril at a time

You will have noticed that when you breathe through your nose, one of the two nostrils is always the one that is freer and is breathing better than the other.

This is explained by the fact that there is a nasal cycle, a process that occurs approximately every 2-4 hours and is regulated by the autonomic nervous system.

What exactly happens is that "in turn" one nostril becomes congested due to an increase in blood supply while the other becomes decongested.

This mechanism allows us to smell odors better, as some molecules are perceived more with a slower air flow, while others are perceived better with faster flows.

Some physiological moments such as pregnancy and/or ovulation, and other postural ones such as being in a supine or lateral decubitus position can alter this cyclicity, or even accentuate its disparity, such as septal deviations or nasal inflammatory conditions.


Valentina Carlile - Osteopath expert in Osteopathy applied to voice and speech disorders since 2002. For information and reservations visit the page Contacts

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