Last weekend I was in Dublin, at the National Training Center where I periodically teach on an advanced Neuromuscular Therapy training course.
I love Dublin for many reasons, and Guiness is one of them. No matter what anyone says, the local brew, in its’ native land, is nectar, and tastes nothing like the same drink anywhere else.
At the lunch break of the course, on Saturday, the local pub was swarming with rugby supporters – Wales was in the city to play (and as it turned out, beat) Ireland, so green and red/white attired fans were everywhere, many with tribally painted faces, with dragons and shamrocks abounding.

Travelling back to the UK on Sunday night was tiring and stressful, and by the time I reached Heathrow, and found a taxi, I was exhausted. The journey to central London was slow, with traffic crawling. The air pollution was stronger than usual and my throat felt ‘scratchy’ and tight.
A thought came to me relating to something I’d been discussing earlier that day with one of the students at the NTC…… about the effects of nitric oxide (NO) on the upper respiratory airways.
Nitric oxide is produced in the nasal and sinus spaces when you breathe through the nose (not when you mouth breathe).
And nitric oxide has remarkably useful effects on the efficiency and health of the whole breathing apparatus……. and what I was reminded of as I felt the effects of breathing traffic fumes, is that you can stimulate a dramatic increase in NO when you hum! (hence the humming bird picture)

So from Heathrow to Baker Street I hummed.
Not a pretty sound, but with the traffic noise I didn’t think it would bother the driver…. and it was only a few minutes into the process that I noticed a very definite easing in the feeling of constriction and congestion.

So, next time you feel stuffy, congested, start humming, and keep humming.
Experiment with different ranges, try a high soprano-like hum, a middle of the range hum, and for me – best of all – a low basso profundo hum that vibrates righ up into the sinuses – to help produce a veritable industrial flow of nitric oxide.
So when you need to, find what works for you in the humming department to stimulate your nitric oxide production.

…and as a post-script to the rugby reference, yesterday’s match between Wales and France was one of the finest, most enthralling, games ever.
Wales won the game convincingly, to deservedly become the Six Nations champions – well done!

1 Corbelli R Hammer J 2007 Measurement of nasal nitric oxide Paediatric Respiratory Reviews 8(3):269-272
2. Imada M Nonaka S Ota R 2006 Nasal Nitric Oxide Greatly Increases in Humming Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 135(2 suppl. 1):P134
3. Sackner M Gummels E Adams J 2004 Say NO to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome: an alternative and complementary therapy to aerobic exercise. Medical Hypotheses (2004) 63:118–123