Respiratory Techniques and Proper Breathing Exercises for Body O2
can spend months or years practicing some breathing exercises, 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 respiratory exercises is to achieve very slow and easy breathing
(to breathe less 24/7).
There are also some other less known or less common breathing
exercises. 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
respiratory exercises are used to train inspiratory muscles, but the effects of
these devices depend on methods and instructions for their application.
Note that the "Russian dominance" in this Table reflects the
current situation related to popularity of some proper breath 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 respiratory methods than the number of such doctors in the rest of the world.
Body oxygen < 30 s
Body oxygen > 50 s
Medium, low, or very low
Desire to exercise
Not strong, but possible
Craving and joy of exercise
Intensive exercise with nose breathing
Hard or impossible
Easy and effortless
Typical mind states
Confusion, anxiety, depression
Focus, concentration, clarity
Craving for coffee, sugar and junk foods
Addictions to smoking, alcohol, and drugs
Desire to eat raw foods
Weak and rare
Very common and natural
Rare and requires efforts
Natural and automatic
Often of poor quality; > 7 hours
Excellent quality; < 5 hours naturally
How to choose proper respiratory techniques?
Proper respiratory exercises 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 breath 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 respiratory exercises, if one sleeps with his mouth open and on his back
every night? He can practice best breathing exercises for several hours
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.
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
- 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 respiratory exercises 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 respiratory exercises?
- What are the effects of lifestyle factors?
Some features of proper respiratory techniques
Traditional Hatha yoga
Pursed lip breathing
Frolov breathing device
Diaphragmatic breathing during breathwork
Lifestyle factors addressed
Learnt without an instructor
Constant breath control
Strict criteria of progress/ success
* Out of several hundred Russian Frolov MDs, only a small group
of these medical professionals consider the effects of lifestyle on breathing
The understanding of respiratory exercises 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
Respiratory exercises 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.
In relation to healthy lifestyle factors, the Buteyko breathing technique is the most advanced breath 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.
Important note. 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.
Yoga Benefits: How to get best benefits from this amazing ancient practice? Traditional yoga has been teaching us to breathe less, while modern yoga
leaders confuse the public about correct breathing, ideal breathing, and the effects
breathing web page provides an overview of this breath method, the health
conditions it addressed (mostly COPD, but many others too), detailed
instructions on how to use it, its physiology, and effects.
Breathslim is a
breathing device that is featured on the Breathslim website. The Breathslim
device is an exact copy of the Frolov breathing device developed by Vladimir
Frolov. Can it help with weight loss?
breathing device is another patented Russian invention based on Dr. Buteyko's
discoveries and CO2 effects. Its creators also worked for Soviet Cosmos (Outer
Space Research), and they suggested 4 levels of learning...
is a FDA-approved portable device for slow-paced breathing sessions. It had 10
clinical trials on patients with hypertension and could lead to moderate reduction
blood pressure ...
Inspiratory Muscle Training (also known as IMT) can be done using various
respiratory trainers or breathing devices, such as Powerbreathe, Expand-A-Lung,
PowerLung and Ultrabreathe. They are all presented below.
Powerbreathe is a breathing device used,
as the authors and creators claim, to train inspiratory muscles only. It is mostly used for sport
performance, but there are medical applications as well.
breathing resistance exerciser is a more recent breathing trainer used to
strengthen respiratory muscles due to resistance, which can be regulated.
PowerLung is a device that creates resistance
during both inhalations and exhalations. PowerLung has some popularity,
especially among athletes....
Training Mask is currently the most
effective device for physical exercise. This is the only breathing device that
can be used during physical activity. It increases CO2 levels in the lungs,
increases body O2, VO2 max, endurance, ...
Is etCO2 (end-tidal CO2) or capnography
useful for breathing retraining? Can capnometers improve the effectiveness of
breathing exercises or could it worsen the outcomes?
Capnography and etCO2 web page....
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.
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