Page 10 - ScienceOfBreath
P. 10


Page: 10

A writer has stated that if the air cells of the lungs were spread out over an 

unbroken surface, they would cover an area of fourteen thousand feet.

The air is drawn into the lungs by the action of the diaphragm, a great, strong, flat, 

sheet-like muscle, stretched across the chest, separating the chest-box from the 

abdomen. The diaphragm's action is almost as automatic as that of the heart, 

although it may be transformed into a semi-voluntary muscle by an effort of the 

will. When it expands, it increases the size of the chest and lungs, and the air 

rushes into the vacuum thus created. When it relaxes the chest and lungs contract 

and the air is expelled from the lungs.

Now, before considering what happens to the air in the lungs, let us look a little 

into the matter of the circulation of the blood. The blood, as you know, is driven by 

the heart, through the arteries, into the capillaries, thus reaching every part of the 

body, which it vitalizes, nourishes and strengthens. It then returns by means of 

the capillaries by another route, the veins, to the heart, from whence it is drawn to 

the lungs.

The blood starts on its arterial journey, bright red and rich, laden with life-giving 

qualities and properties. It returns by the venous route, poor, blue and dull, being 

laden down with the waste matter of the system. It goes out like a fresh stream 

from the mountains; it returns as a stream of sewer water. This foul stream goes to 

the right auricle of the heart. When this auricle becomes filled, it contracts and 

forces the stream of blood through an opening in the right ventricle of the heart, 

which in turn sends it on to the lungs, where it is distributed by millions of 

hair-like blood vessels to the air cells of the lungs, of which we have spoken. Now, 

let us take up the story of the lungs at this point.

The foul stream of blood is now distributed among the millions of tiny air cells in 

the lungs. A breath of air is inhaled and the oxygen of the air comes in contact 

with the impure blood through the thin walls of the hair-like blood vessels of the 

lungs, which walls are thick enough to hold the blood, but thin enough to admit 

the oxygen to penetrate them.

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