Breathing Techniques and Proper Breathing Techniques for Body O2
One can spend months or years practicing some breathing techniques, but if his or her automatic (unconscious) breathing pattern (e.g., during sleep) remains the same, there are no improvements in health, symptoms, and quality of life. Hence, the goal of correct breathing techniques is to achieve very slow and easy breathing (to breathe less 24/7).
There are also some other less known or less common breathing techniques. They include breathing techniques for labor or childbirth (Lamaze breathing techniques), breathing techniques for running, singing, speaking, swimming, meditation, stress, and many others. There is even a breathing technique to help horses. In addition, there are web pages devoted to reviews of respiratory trainers (such as Powerbreathe, Expand-A-Lung, PowerLung and Ultrabreathe). These breathing techniques are used to train inspiratory muscles, but the effects of these devices depend on methods and instructions for their application.
Proper breathing techniques
Note that the "Russian dominance" in this Table reflects the current situation related to popularity of some proper breathing techniques in Russia. For example, over 2,000,000 Frolov breathing devices were sold there during the first decade of the 21st century in pharmacies. Furthermore, Russia is probably the only country in the world where the general population believes and knows that the slower and less you breathe, the better your health is. This is due to the public activities and clinical work of leading Soviet physiologist Konstantin Buteyko, MD, PhD and about 600 Russian medical doctors who teach breathing techniques. Russia has more doctors that teach breathing techniques than the number of such doctors in the rest of the world.
How to choose proper breathing techniques?
Proper breathing techniques should satisfy certain criteria in order to be useful for health of the breathing retraining student. One of the things to consider is that the general approach of any breathing technique should take our automatic or unconscious breathing pattern 24/7 into consideration, and not only suggest doing some breathing exercises.
In other words, what is the point of doing breathing exercises, if one sleeps with his mouth open and on his back every night? He can practice best breathing exercises for several hours every day, but he can still die from advance of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic disease due to the Sleep Heavy Breathing Effect, which is the main triggering factor leading to acute episodes (exacerbations) and deaths in the severely sick.
This Table explains why sick people have low body-oxygen levels.
Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)
Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch,
and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.
Therefore, proper breathing techniques should also have answers to the following questions:
- What is ideal breathing (or the ideal unconscious breathing pattern) for maximum body-oxygen content? Note that it is not enough to only think about the maximum oxygen content in the lungs or arterial blood. Oxygen is required in all body cells.
- Which breathing techniques improve or increase oxygen content in cells?
- What are the common breathing patterns and what are their effects on body-oxygen content?
- What is the exact direction of the breathing techniques?
- What are the effects of lifestyle factors?
Some features of proper breathing techniques
* Out of several hundred Russian Frolov MDs, only a small group of these medical professionals consider the effects of lifestyle on breathing retraining.
The understanding of breathing techniques comes from the knowledge of breathing parameters in both sick and healthy people as well as the effects of breathing patterns on cells' oxygen levels (see links to medical studies below).
Breathing techniques can improve one's health only if they make one's breathing pattern after the breathing session lighter and slower in terms of minute ventilation. In this case, the student also increases their body oxygen content, which is measured with the simple body-oxygen test. Hence, the personal goal is to achieve a slow and shallow (but diaphragmatic) unconscious breathing pattern manifested in better results for the body O2 test. In the long run, better morning results (for this test) reflect the efficiency of a proper breathing retraining technique.
Video: Breathing techniques and the morning body-O2 test
In relation to healthy lifestyle factors, the Buteyko breathing technique is the most advanced breathing technique, and only Hatha Yoga comes close. In relation to breathing exercises, the Buteyko method produces good results.
However, most students achieve a faster CP progress when using breathing devices, e.g., the Frolov breathing device or the DIY breathing device. While there are now hundreds of MDs in Russia who promote or endorse the Frolov device, very few of them understand and explain to their patients the importance of having correct life style factors.
The optimum breathing retraining program for a typical student with a chronic disease (hence, with less than 20 s for the body-oxygen test) includes breathwork with a breathing device (that traps a part of exhaled air) and an adherence to Buteyko lifestyle factors.
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Warning. Breathing exercises can cause powerful cleansing reactions and can be dangerous for pregnant women, people with organ transplants, GI problems, and panic attacks, as well as those who take medication for diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and other conditions. Consult your health care provider and follow special guidelines, which can be found in the Module Restrictions, limits, and temporary contraindications.
Reference pages: Breathing norms and the DIY body oxygen test:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in body tissues
- Nerve stabilization: Carbon dioxide has powerful calmative and sedative effects on brain neurons and nerve cells
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