Deep Breaths: How Breathing Affects Sleep, Anxiety & Resilience
From whyy in Philadelphia. I'm terry gross with fresh air today. How can train ourselves to breathe? In ways that may improve our health the quality of our sleep and decrease anxiety and why mouth breathing is related to snoring sleep apnea and other problems. We'll talk with journalist. James Nestor author of the new book. Breath the new science of a lost art. It's about what we can learn about breathing from ancient meditation. Techniques recent scientific research and deep sea divers. Nestor tried a lot of the techniques he writes about. He started researching the subject because of his own. Respiratory problems later. Kevin Whitehead reviews new jazz recording of Transylvanian folk songs that were collected and transcribed by Bela Bartok. It features pollution Bon John. Surman and Mary. Breathing is something we take for granted unless we have respiratory problems or are sick or worried about the corona virus which attacks the lungs in the new book. Breath may guest journalist James. Nestor writes about many aspects of how we breathe and how we can train ourselves to breathe and ways that may improve our health and the quality of our sleep and decrease anxiety. He reports on my mouth. Breathing is related to snoring. Sleep APNEA and other problems with the nose has that the mouth doesn't different breathing techniques to distress reduce blood pressure and balanced the nervous system and how free divers trained to expand their lung capacity so that they can dive deep and stay underwater for up to twelve minutes on one breath when possible just tried what he's written about including participating in an experiment at Stanford which his nose was completely plugged for days to test the impact of breathing solely through the mouth the results for fascinating but the experience of total mouth breathing was unpleasant and disrupted his sleep. Nestor is also the author. A previous book called deep free diving renegade science and what the oceans tell us about ourselves any help founder research initiative to investigate how sperm whales communicate with each other through Clicks James Nestor. Welcome to fresh air. How are you doing very well? Thanks so much for having me has your research into breathing taking on a different meaning because of Covid nineteen because of its respiratory systems and the anxiety that it's creating i. The awareness of breathing has definitely increased when I first started this research several years ago. A lot of my friends were saying you're renting a book about breathing in breathing my whole life. Why would you want to write a book about that? But now these are the same friends who are seen how essential respiratory health is in helping us both prevent the onset of many illnesses and to help us get through. Illnesses like cove it to help us. Better get through them. So you had been a mouth breather and You did some snoring You had a deviated Septum which was effect affecting your ability to breathe through your nose because that kind of clogs part of their nose or blocks part of the nasal passage. I should say so to understand whether mouth breathing was really a problem. You participated in a study at Stanford University that forced you to re through your mouth. Describe what the setup was. Yeah so I had been in contact with the chief of Rhino Research or NYACK. For months and months we had several interviews. We've been talking a lot and he was telling me all the wonders of nasal breathing and how bad mouth breathing was and none of that was controversial. That's that's very well established now but nobody really knew how all the problems of mouth breathing. No one knew how soon those came on so I asked him. I said well. Why don't you test it? You're not position to test. How am I going to test? It would be unethical to ask someone to plug their nose for a certain amount of time and measure what happens. I said well I'll do it so it was never like a super size me study. That wasn't our intention. If twenty five to fifty percent of the population is breathing through their mouth so I was just lowly myself into a condition I already knew and that so many other people already knew so. The plan was for ten days. I would have silicone plugs of my knows me and one other subject breathing therapists from Sweden. I convinced him to do the study as well. And for the other ten days we would change the pathway of how we breathed and breathe through our noses instead of our mouths so that was it. That was the setup and You know we thought that mouth breathing for ten days was going to be bad but we had no idea it was gonna be so damaging. How bad was it? Well I went from storing a couple minutes a night to within three days. I was snowing four hours a night. I developed sleep apnea my stress levels. Were off the charts. My nervous system was a mess. We had a whole home lab here at my house so we were testing each other three times a day every day and writing out all of these metrics we even had were. Were looking at blood glucose how that was affected so I felt awful I felt fatigued storing sleep apnea all the rest and even performance. Athletic performance really really decreased as well and the good thing about this. I was able to take these godawful plugs out of my nose and breathe nasal e again and once I did that. Snoring disappeared sleep apnea disappeared. Nervous system came back into balance. I mean completely transformed by just changing the pathway through which we breathed. So what's in the knows that makes nose breathing better than mouth reading because mouths? Don't have that stuff so the nose filters heats and treats raw air. Most of us know that but so many of us don't realize at least. I didn't realize how it can trigger different hormones to flood into our bodies how it can lower our blood pressure. How the stages of a menstrual cycle or correlated to different areas of the knows how it monitors heart rate on and on and on even help store memories. So it's this incredible organ that is not represented in any of the departments of the National Institutes of health. And this is something that is you know just just hammered down over and over again like. Why are we studying this more? And why don't people more people realize how important nasal breathing is so? It's IT ORCHESTRATES. Innumerable functions in our body to keep balanced. When I found most surprising was that the nose actually has erectile tissue. Like men's and women's genitals so the nose is more closely connected to her genitals than any other Oregon so it is covered in that same tissue so win one area gets stimulated. The nose will become stimulated as well. Some people have to close of a connection where they get stimulated in the southerly regions. They'll start uncontrollably. Sneezing and this condition is common enough that it was given a name. Called Honeymoon Rhinitis. So that the yeah this. This is the weird stuff. You never thought you discover when you start writing a book about breathing but another thing that that is really fascinating is that erectile tissue will pulse on its own so it will close one nostril and allow breath in through the other nostril than that other nostril close allow breath in your our bodies do this on their own and this this switching happens between thirty minutes and every three hours and a lot of people. Think a lot of people who have studied this. Believe that this is the way that our bodies maintain balance because when we breathe through a right nostril circulation speeds up body GETS HOTTER CORTISOL LEVELS INCREASE. Blood pressure increases so breeding through. The left will relax more. So blood pressure will decrease lower temperature cools. The body reduces anxiety as well so our bodies are are naturally doing this and when we breathe through our mouths were denying our bodies the ability to do this and to keep us in balance. But what about if you can't breathe through your nose because either you have a cold or respiratory illness or you have a bad deviated. Septum sure around. Seventy percent of the population has a deviated Septum. That's clearly visible to the naked eye. So this is just rampant and I certainly do when I got a cat scan of of my head. It was an absolute mess but some conditions are so severe that you'll need surgical intervention for sure but the vast majority are not and something naive kept telling me is he said you know a sink is clogged in your house. You'RE GONNA find a way of unclogging. The nose should be considered in the same way for nose is clogged. You need to find a way of unclogging. You can do that by breathing. More through your nose because it's really a use it or lose it Oregon. The more you breathe through it the more you're going to be able to breathe through it. I was just talking to a clinician. Who's trained something? Like seven thousand people to nasal breathe and only four of them could not breathe through their noses after about three weeks of training. So it's it's really something the we focus on it the more we really concentrate the more were able to open it up and to get all those benefits of nasal breathing so after you did this experiment about reading exclusively for your through your mouth. You decided at night to try taping your mouth so that you couldn't breathe through mouth and you'd have to read through your nose. How did that go? Yeah so this is something a hack that I'd heard about an was extremely skeptical about. It sounded very dangerous to me until I talked to a breeding therapist at Stanford who said that. She had cured her own mouth breathing by taping her mouth at night and until I talked to a dentist who been in the field for twenty thirty years who prescribes this to his patients. Now I'm not talking about getting a fat piece of duct tape and taping that over your mouth. That's a really bad idea. I'm talking about a teeny piece of surgical tape about the size of a stamp imagined like a Charlie Chaplin Moustache. Move down an inch and my personal experience with this is it has allowed me to sleep so much. Better wake up so much more rested and to not have that dry mouth every morning so with a tape. You're talking about if your mouth really needed to open it. Could because that's not like like you said it's not like really strong tape it's just like surgical tape and a little piece of it to yourself. I'm not prescribing prescribing. It neither not prescribing anything. No no no. I'm saying this personally worked for me but don't go on Youtube. Don't go on the Internet and see these people nine pieces of tape over their lower jaws like bad idea. I've found all you need is a very small piece of tape and there's even a product out right now that is being sold as a remedy for snoring. And what is it? It's a piece of tape that you put on your lips at night so other people and they've conducted studies to show how effective it is so this this worked well for me. It's worked well for many other people but I'm not prescribing. Anything and I should mention that my guess James. Nestor is also not a doctor. He's a in his reporting on what he's learned by talking to many researchers and doctors and people who practice breathing techniques and teach breathing techniques breathing automatic. But we can control when we consciously try the quality of the breath the length of inhales and exhales and how deeply or shallowly we breathe. Can you explain why breath would for instance affect anxiety and how breathing in certain ways certain breathing techniques can decrease anxiety and being a very important subject right now so for so many of us? We think that it's important that we're breathing because if we're breathing that's good. That means we're live if we're not breathing. Bat could be dead. But it's how we take those breasts. Twenty five thousand breaths a day and thirty pounds of air enters and exits are lungs every day. So it's how we take those breaths and the nuances of those breaths that I've found play such an important role in health. Happiness and longevity so specifically with anxiety talked to our neuro psychologist went out to was lab at the Laureate Institute a brain research and he explained to me that people with anxieties or they're fear based conditions typically will breathe way too much. So what happens when you breathe? That much is you're constantly putting yourself into a state of stress so you're stimulating that sympathetic side of the nervous system and the way to change. That is to breathe deeply. Because if you think about it if you're stressed out tigers gonNA come get you. You know you're going to get hit by a car. You're to breathe. Breathe breathe as much as you can but by breathing slowly that is associated with a relaxation response so the diaphragm lowers your allowing more air into your lungs in your body immediately. Switches to a relaxed state so we may not be able to control the function of our hearts other organs in our body but we can control our breathing and when we control our breathing we can influence so much of how our bodies operate and that includes as a treatment or or at least a practice for people with these depression just changing their breathing. Psychiatrists have found can have very transformational effect. It seems so simple to be true but some of these people have been studying the subject for decades. And that's what they've found. There are many different breathing techniques. There are many different breathing meditation styles. What do they all have in common? Is there something they all have in common in terms of inhale and exhale and The basic principles underneath SA- breathing's been studied for thousands and thousands of years. There are seven books of the Chinese. Dow that deal only with breathing. What happens when we do it? Improperly and all of the benefits we can get by doing it properly so all of those ways. All of the different practices do have one thing in common. And that's because they allow you to slow down and consciously listened to yourself and feel breath is affecting you so there's many different tools in this toolbox if you want to slow down and become more relaxed you can exhale longer than you inhale so that will have a very powerful effect on you for relaxation. If you want to stimulate yourself and get going you can breathe much faster. What I've found is throughout time throughout Millennia these different cultures at different times. Different peoples. Were discovering the same exact thing over and over. So it's very interesting that right now we have the science and the techniques and measurements to really prove what these people have been saying for so long. Why does the X. Hail quiet this system because the exile is a para sympathetic response rate? Now you can put your hand over your heart if you take a very slow. Inhale in you're gonNA feel your heart speed up as you exhale you should be feeling your heart slowdown so exhaling relaxes the body. And something else happens when we take a very deep breath like this so the diaphragm when we take a breath in and that sucks bunch of blood huge perfusion of blood into the thoracic cavity as we exhale that blood shoots back out through the body so the diaphragm is considered the second heart because it plays such a huge role in circulation and it lowers the burden of the heart if we breathe properly and if we really engaged the diaphragm so these slow and low breaths. People should be practicing these as much as possible. This is the way your body wants to take an air if you want us or breathing to calm yourself down. Do you have any suggestions for the length of the inhale and the length of the exhale? Sure and this was a study I'd stumbled upon. That's about twenty years old now that some Italian researchers gathered a group of subjects and they had them recite the Ave Maria so the catholic prayer cycle and then they had them recite all money. Pardon me Which is a Buddhist prayer? But they found is that took about five and a half seconds to recite each of these these prayers and then about five and a half seconds to then inhale and so by breathing about five and a half seconds out five and a half seconds in. They found that blood to the brain increased. The body entered this state of Balance. In which all of the organs all of the system worked in harmony with one another and they covered these people with sensors. And we're able to see all of this All on data sheets and the study is is widely available so they later found that you don't need to really pray to get these benefits even though you can do that if you'd like but just by breathing at this rate about five and a half seconds and five and a half seconds out. Don't worry if you're second off you know. The point is to relax yourself. You were able to get the perfect amount of air into your body and out of your body and really allow your body to do what it's naturally designed to do which is function with the least amount of effort and they've they've taught this breathing psychiatrists have taught this breathing pattern to people with anxiety. Depression even nine eleven survivors. Who had this ghastly condition called ground class lungs and it had significant effects on them but just breathing. This way. If said if you exhale longer than you inhale that that can be very calming so if both the inhale and the exhale are five and a half seconds. You're not doing longer. Exiles is that does that matter so so. The body wants to be balanced right. We want sympathetic balance. We want para sympathetic balance so just in regular day to day activity. You want to have that balance before you go to sleep. You can extend that exile and become more relaxed but I would not be extending that exile before meeting or before an important phone call so you can use these different tools to do different things. You can also inhale longer in exile shorter if you want a little boost of energy so the even Steven like the most balanced way of breathing that I've found after studying the stuff and talking to the leaders in the field was that five to six seconds in five to six seconds out. My guest is journalists jams. Nestor author of the new book breath. The new science of a lost art. We'll talk more after we take a short break. I'm Terry Gross in this. Is Fresh air support for this podcast? And the following message come from L. A. Times studios funded by Amazon studios for the podcast paper clip inspired by its Emmy Eligible Drama Series Hunters starring. Alpa Chino and Logan Lerman join host Michael Ian Black as he teams up with a Cold War historian to explore Operation Paper Clip a top secret program that brought Nazi scientists to America. It's a story of principles compromised and war-crimes overlooked available now on apple podcasts and all other platforms. Let's get back to my interview with Journalists James Nestor author of the new book breath the new science of a lost art. It's about the impact of how we breathe on our health. Our sleep and our anxiety level. He investigates different ancient and new breathing techniques that can improve our health and expand our lung capacity. Nastiest previous book deep was about free diving in which divers go deep under water for up to twelve minutes on one breath. James you know in talking about Breath and its impact on our health and our anxiety you referred to the sympathetic and the Paris empathetic nervous system without going into too much detail. Can you just explain briefly? Would would each of them are why they why they're relevant to breath? Sure the sympathetic nervous system is the system that triggers a fight or flight reaction so when we sense danger the sympathetic nervous system switches on floods. Our bodies with stress hormones and allows US become meaner and leaner into fight harder or to run really fast. That's what that does so. The Paris pathetic is the opposite. This is the side of the nervous system that triggers a rest and relax response and we want to be in this state. When we're eating food mostly throughout the entire day we wanna be in a Paris sympathetic state. The problem is that nowadays all of us are kind of half stressed. We're not really running away from tiger or lion or fighting for our lives but we're not really relaxing either so we're staying in this grey zone where during the night or half away during our days. We're half asleep. So that's what I found was so interesting about. Breeding is by just breathing. You can elicit these different nervous system so you can take command of something that was supposed to be autonomic. That's what it's called the automatic nervous system but you can control it and you can stress yourself out if you want or you can relax yourself just by breathing. One of the things that we typically do wrong when we breathe like speaking for myself. I think I'm a very shallow breather when I'm not paying attention to my breathing. I think my my kind of state is just shallow breaths. So what's wrong with that? Well you can think about breathing as being in a boat right so you can take a bunch of very short stilted strokes and you're going to get to where you WANNA go. It's GonNa take a while but you'll get there or you can take a few very fluid and long strokes and get there so much more efficiently so your body doesn't want to be overworked all the time because if it is then things start to break down so you want to make it very easy for your body to get air especially if this is an act that we're doing twenty five thousand times a day so by just extending those inhales exhales by moving that diaphragm up and down a little more. You can have a profound effect on your blood pressure on your mental state on even on longevity because so much of longevity is correlated with respiratory health and long size one of the trips each took us. Part of your research was Philadelphia to go to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and anthropology and look at their skull collection with Dr Marianna Evans. And she told you some fascinating things about how the skull has changed through human history. I mean through through the evolution of of human history and how the nose has changed so tell us some of the most interesting things you learn about how our nose evolved so sure You know when I was first starting out researching this book. I thought I had a pretty good idea of where all of the research was was gonNA lead me. I'd identified the leaders in the field different areas. I was going to go into but about six months into it. A realize that so much of what I had planned had to be thrown out because there was a much stranger story several layers deep and it was the fact that so many of us are breathing poorly not because some sort of psychological problem. Not because we're anxious but because we can't because our skulls have changed so much especially in the last four hundred years that it's blocked or sinuses and it's made us breathe more through our mouths and the beginning when I heard this. I didn't believe it but I started talking to biological anthropologist who kept telling me the same thing over and over they said if you take a skull that's thousand years old and compare it to a new school that skull that thousand years old. There's a very good chance its teeth are going to be perfectly straight whereas the modern school. There's a very good chance. Its teeth are going to be very crooked so those perfectly straight teeth and that thousand year olds skull. They would be the same teeth you'd find in ten thousand year old school hundred thousand year old school and on back so just in the past four hundred years humans now have but ninety percent of us have some some problems with their teeth that make them grow and crooked and the reason is our mouths have grown so small that our teeth have nowhere to go so they they come in crooked and another problem with having too small of a mouth is it also gives us to small airway to easily take air in and out so. This was a story about evolution. I never heard about in school that I didn't think it could be possibly true unless you start looking at skulls. So she welcomed me Marianna Evans to go to the museum. With the largest collection of pre industrial skulls and time and time out didn't matter if the skulls were coming from Asia Africa or South America. They all had straight teeth. And if you again if you look at a skull now very good chance it's going to have crooked teeth so the obvious question is why did skulls get smaller well? I think that you know I had learned in school. That evolution always met survival of the fittest. But but it doesn't. It means change and life forms can change for the better or worse and humans have certainly been changing in ways that are a detriment to our health and this change this catalyst. That caused our mouths to go. Smaller is tied to industrial food. It's not vitamins and minerals. Many people would suspect it's chewing. The fact is for the past three hundred years. Food has been so process so soft that we're not chewing anymore so our mouths never quite develop right which means our airways are clogged. Then Dr Evans. Also tell you that as the human brain expanded at left less room for the for the nose and the mouth. This was about a million years ago when we started processing foods bashing pray against rocks and we started cooking foods about eight hundred thousand years ago our brains started growing so rapidly and they needed real estate so they took it from the front of our faces and they took it from our mouths but these changes happened over tens of thousands of years these morphological changes so the changes. That happened to our mouths happened very quickly. And we haven't been able to adapt fast enough to really acclimate to it. So that is one of the reasons why we have so many chronic breathing problems. It's tied to the shrinking the front of our faces. Let me take a short break here. And then we'll talk some more if you're just joining us. My guest is journalist. James Nester all of the new book breath the new science of a lost art. We'll talk more after we take a short break. This is fresh air support for this podcast and the following message come from Purple Mattress. The secrets of Purple is the Purple Grid. It's a patented comfort technology designed to instantly adapt to your body's natural shape and sleep style with over twenty eight hundred open air channels and naturally temperature neutral jail. Every purple mattress comes with free shipping returns and a risk free one hundred night trial visit purple dot com slash fresh air and use Promo Code fresh air for a special offer terms apply. Let's all close our eyes. Take a deep breath. Let it out and listen to. Npr's all songs considered it's a music podcast but it's also a good friend and guide to find joy in troubled times here. All songs considered with new episodes every Tuesday and Friday. Wherever you listen to podcasts. This is fresh air. Let's get back to my interview with Journalists Jones. Nestor author of the new book breath. About what ancient forms of eastern. Meditation as well as New Science. Tell us about breathing. And how by controlling our breath through various techniques. We can improve our sleep our health and decrease our anxiety so you had respiratory problems. Ten years ago when you started others research into breathing techniques have you respiratory problems improved. I have not had pneumonia since of of been using these techniques. I haven't had bronchitis. I've been breeding clearly through my nose. I've had one stuff knows in the past year and a half when I came down with with flu. So I'm not using that as confirmed data. That says this stuff works. I'm saying that it worked for me. I just WanNa also made clear that I had no slant going into this world like my job as a journalist who writes about science a lot is to take all the data talk to as many people as I can and come out with a very objective view of what's going on here. That's what I really tried to do with this book. So I I don't WanNa be preaching slow-breathing or heavy breathing or whatever I wanted to present the facts and the studies and say this is what's worked for people. This is what the science says but on a personal point you know I will say you get pretty emotionally invested in the subject. Once you've been in it for years and years and once you've seen these people so profoundly transformed the more you dive into these worlds become consumed by it the more you want to feel these benefits and try to understand in a certain way so you can relay that back to the reader so many doctors now are trying to figure out how the corona virus works in the body and why it does the damage that it does and how they can help patients you know get over it and and recover and I know that some doctors now instead of using respirators are doing. What's called pruning in which the person who is having breathing problems because of the virus instead of lying on their back they lay on their side or I think on their chest and that that seems to somehow make it easier for them to breathe and I'm wondering if you have been reading about that and what your understanding of. It is so about four weeks ago. Five weeks ago when a patient would have very severe symptoms of covert. They would bring them in and lay them on their back and sometimes intimate them and the seem to work for a lot of the patients but would they found more recently with that by line them on their sides or on their stomachs. They could breathe so much better. I found this was so interesting because two thousand years ago Chinese doctors prescribed side sleeping as well and then you have a cardiologist. Eighty eight years ago. Seven years ago named Boo Tako that asked all patients with pneumonia or other respiratory problems to always sleep on their sides so he would even take balls to their backs so they could not sleep on their backs so it seems like this science that has been around for hundreds sometimes thousands of years just keeps popping up in these different ways and they've found that that prone breathing and they've even put some patients in a chair because they don't want them lying down is extremely effective and a lot of this has to do with how we breathe when you take a big breath your back is the more the lungs are are on your back. Your back is going to be expanding. Your chest expands a little bit but most of that is happening at the back so when you're lying on their backs they're not gonna be able to access their lungs as efficiently. So it's it's simple physics by flipping them around. There can be able to breathe better so this was just another example. I was sending this back and forth to my father-in-law who's a pulmonologist pulmonologist for for forty years and I was just like it's more of the new science of a loss. Start here we're just rediscovery and all of these hacks that have been around for so long. I didn't realize your father in law is a pulmonologist which means he works with patients who have lung issues. What does he make of the research that you present in? The book is consistent with what he's found as as a doctor and I'm wondering if he's Adding anything to his toolbox. I all I can say is we've had some very lively Thanksgiving dinners together talking the stuff of over the years but at the beginning he thought a lot of what I was in covering these like. I never heard of that. I don't know about this. He's he's a pretty conservative guy and his beliefs as far as medicine is concerned but over the years the most fascinating things for me has been presenting him with more of this research more of these studies more of these investigators and scientists who have been saying the same stuff and watching him really changed his mind. That's not what I set out to do. I want him to be critical in entrust me. He was when I was bringing up a lot of these issues but watching him. Come around and get very exciting about using these other hacks especially now especially with covert when so. Many of us aren't breathing. Well we've got mass on. We feel tightness in our chest to be able to focus on our breathing and really allow us to be healthier and to have more of a calmer state of mind. So it's it's been a fantastic conversation over several years. And he's very excited about some of this really weird stuff I've uncovered previous book was about Divers who dived deep with one breath and they can hold one breath for about twelve minutes. How do they train their lungs to expand enough to hold enough air to do all that on breath? So the world record is twelve and a half minutes breath hold. Most divers will hold their breath for eight minutes seven minutes. Which is still an incredible to me. When I first saw this. This was several years ago. It was sent out a reporting assignment to write about a free diving competition. You you watch this person. The surface take a single breath of they're completely disappear into the ocean back five or six minutes later so the way they were able to do this was by breathing. So we've been told that whatever we have whatever we're born with is what we're going to have for the rest of our lives especially as far as the organs are concerned but we can absolutely affect our lung capacity so in some of these divers have a lung capacity of fourteen leaders which is about double the size for a regular adult male. So they weren't born this way. This was something they did through. Will they train themselves debris than ways to profoundly affect their their physical bodies so of the things that you do? Is You work with a project to try to understand how whales communicate with each other through their cliques. And this is related to the book that you did on free divers because the book is also a about oceans and what we can learn from oceans so the The group is called City not like the extraterrestrial Seti group this is c. e. Ti. I'm afraid to say Saturday because I think people will think you're trying to communicate with extraterrestrials. We're trying to communicate with non human species so it's very similar in some ways know a number of years ago. I saw the real benefits of free diving and it wasn't too best. A competitor and dive down the deepest and and comeback. It was to really allow yourself to become a part of the underwater environment. Because when you're free diving in you're holding your breath at fifty hundred feet down you become a living non breeding part of everything around you so instead of animals swimming away from you as they would with scuba they swim toward you and they welcome you into their scholes or pods so after seeing free divers do this that that was the main impetus for for me wanting to focus my breathing and learn to free was to commune and get in touch with these these animals so we targeted sperm whales. Who are the largest tooth predators on the planet? They can grow as long as a school bus and it turns out that these animals share this very sophisticated form of communication through these clicks. It's almost like a Morse code type of communication so by free diving with them and not hanging around with a boat which they don't like or scuba which they don't like they welcomed you in started clicking at you and this was one of the most powerful experiences of ever had to be in the water animal size of a school bus that it anytime could kill me could chew me up with its eight inch long teeth or hit me with with fluke but chose not to but chose to to come in peace and send out these little cliques and it just got me thinking. How wonderful would it be? I understand these clicks and perhaps one day talk back with these animals so this was an experience I had so many years ago but it continues to stick with me and I was lucky enough to meet David Gruber. Who is a Marine biologist? And we've been working away for years to put a program together to use machine learning and AI to look into this communication and to try to perhaps one day cricket and learn more about these fantastic animals James. Nestor is the author of the new book. Breath the new science of a lost art after we take a short break. Kevin Whitehead will review a new jazz recording of Transylvanian folk songs that were collected and transcribed by Bela Bartok. This is fresh air support for NPR and the following message. Come from duck duck. Go Are you tired of being tracked online? Duck Duck. Go can help. They helped millions of people. Like you take control of their personal information online with one download. You can search and browse privately. Avoiding trackers duck duck. Go privacy simplified. There's no getting around it. The Corona virus pandemic has upended everything and daily decisions made by the White House and Congress will radically impact the human and economic toll to keep up with the latest join us on the NPR politics. Podcast will cut through the noise and let you know what decisions are being made and how they affect you. The twentieth century Hungarian composer. Bela Bartok loved the folk. Music of Transylvania in central Romania he transcribed thousands of songs from that region starting in nineteen. Oh nine now. A few tunes he collected get fresh treatment from a trio of improvisers jazz critic. Kevin Whitehead has more Transylvania in and around Eastern Europe's Carpathian mountains is traditionally a multi cultural region. It's music shows influences from east and West that can feed in air of wistful romanticism. Pianist Lucian Bond. Grew up in. Small Town Transylvania before he moved to the states and his longtime duo partner. Matt missionary can put a sod into his inflections veal Transylvanian also. Like they're round and around social tunes and for that. The duo call in English saxophonist and Bass clarinetist John. Surman his sound often smacks of Anglo folk music looping maypole dances and Pied Piper Calls to assembly Saxophonist John Surman. The balloon bond percussive. Piano and Matt Manera Boeing Viola from the album Transylvanian. Folksongs it's on the long standing indy label sunnyside. The players have the right chemistry. The material is closest to Lucien bonds heart and his piano can sing out but he often takes a selfless role. Nudging the other guys alone or he'll get out of their way when they blend fit counterpoint. The trio kicks out the jams a letter but this is music of stately restraint and slow buildups when John. Surman is Wailing Madman. Marysville may stay quietly busy tweaking the texture sermon loves to BLOW OF REPETITIVE BACKGROUND. Figures and Lucian Bond sets them right up his piano tolls like church bells on the Dowry Song k. is that Dowry Song Mary or Mournful Emotional tone of folk material isn't always easy to decipher. Think of all those Jolly Appalachian murder ballots on the mighty sun. The three musicians play the same circular theme each at his own tempo and with his own feel fleet piano to slow motion. Baritone Sax There's mystery in that barebones music and in much else on the album Transylvanian folksongs. But there's clarity to it as well. Lucian Bon John. Surman and Matt Monari listened to those vintage melodies as closely as they do to each other making those old bones dance one more time Kevin Whitehead is the author of the new book. Play the way you feel the essential guide to jazz stories on film. He reviewed translate folksongs by Lucian. Bon John. Surman and map missionary tomorrow. On fresh air our guests will be Time magazine reporter. Wj Hennigan who will talk about covering how New York dealt with the bodies of twenty thousand people who died of Covid nineteen over a two month period. He writes about the difficulties of handling that. Many bodies. In A and hygienic manner when funeral parlours mortuaries? And Morgues were overwhelmed. He also writes about the psychological issues for the people entrusted with handling so many bodies. A hope you'll join us. Fresh Air's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our Technical Director and engineer is Audrey Bentham our interviews and reviews produced and edited by Amy Salad. Phyllis Myers Roberta shorrock San Brugere Lauren Crandall Heidi Simone Thia Challenor Seth Kelly and Joel Wolfram our associate producer of digital media is molly seavy. Nesper Theresa Madden directed today show. I'm Terry Gross.