by NAOMI COLEMAN, femail.co.uk
Imagine a fitness programme where you don't work up a sweat, pay any money, step foot inside a gym or even pant.
Within a month you lose inches from your hips and waist, tone key muscle groups and end up feeling blissfully relaxed.
Better still, all it takes is 15 minutes a day, several simple exercises and the ability to breathe deeply.
It's called Oxycise and it's the latest weight loss programme to sweep America. Followers in over 750,000 households claim it transforms body shape, sheds pounds within weeks, improves muscle tone and boosts energy levels.
Follow the link at the bottom of the page to discover how you can take part in Oxycise.
Does this all too good to be true? Not according to its creator Jill Johnson who believes deep breathing is the key to losing weight.
Rather than changing your diet or rehashing existing fitness programmes, Johnson's theory is based on a simple physiological fact working on the principles of aerobics - raising oxygen intake through sport.
'Fat is made up of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen,' she explains. 'When the oxygen we breathe reaches these fat molecules, it breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.
'The blood then picks up the carbon dioxide - a waste product of our bodies - and returns it to the lungs to be exhaled. Therefore the more oxygen our bodies use, the more fat we will burn.'
And, rather than pounding oxygen into our bodies through high impact exercise such as cycling and running, Johnson says Oxycise is designed to be carried out in the office, while washing up or sitting in traffic jams.
The idea behind Oxycise is simple. Most people breathe using less than one-fifth of their lungs says Johnson.
This is because those who lead a busy lifestyle only draw breath from the upper and middle lobes of the lung - rather than using them all.
Breathing deeply - on the other hand - aids the uptake of oxygen and uses the diaphragm - the sheet-like muscle that lies at the bottom of our chest cavity that helps to pump air in and out of the lungs - to its full capacity.
According to the principles of Oxycise, when we inhale and exhale deeply, the muscles in our body tighten because powerful breathing forces us to use our diaphragm.
This action of deep breathing naturally makes our muscles contract. This, says Johnson, combined with some gentle exercises burns fat and tones muscles.
Dr Robert Girandola, professor of Exercise Science at the University of Southern California is convinced that Oxycise can burn up calories. In a recent study, he found women burned 140 per cent more calories with Oxycise than riding an exercise bike.
But many experts are sceptical of the evidence.
Richard Godfrey, chief physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Centre, says the effectiveness of the technique is highly doubtful.
'Medium to high intensity work out - such as rowing, brisk walking or running - over a long period is the only way to burn up fat and elevate metabolism.
'Deep breathing and gentle exercises for 15 minutes a day is not going to burn up enough calories to transform body shape.'
In fact, Professor Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at the School of Biomedical Sciences in Derbyshire, warns breathing too deeply can do more harm than good.
'Inhaling and exhaling too deeply can disturb the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body needed to neutralise the blood. This can cause light headedness and even make someone faint.'
And, he doubts simply breathing will turn fat into fuel.
'Contraction of muscles caused by exercise mobilises fat stores. But it is only vigorous aerobic sport that triggers enough energy to turn fat into fuel. Deep breathing alone will burn up fat by two per cent at best.'
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