Health
Causes of poor health (19)
Diseases (16)
Life quality (4)
CO2 effects (21)
Symptoms (3)
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Normal Breathing Defeats Chronic Diseases

Breathing Techniques and Proper Breathing Techniques for Body O2

Effects of overbreathing on brain oxygen levels 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

Hatha yoga Pursed lip breathing Strelnikova breathing gymnastic Buteyko breathing method Frolov breathing device RESPeRATE guided- breathing device
When created Prior to 16-th century Before 1910 Late 1930s-early 1970s 1960’s 1990’s 1990’s
Who created Yogi Swatmarama Patients Alexandra Nikolaevna Strelnikova Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko Vladimir Frolov &
Eugeniy Kustov
Benjamin Gavish
Major publications “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” by Yogi Swatmarama Many articles and trials “Strelnikova breathing gymnastic” by Michael Schetinin (in RUS) Many books, articles and trials “Endogenous breathing: medicine of the third millennium” by Vladimir Frolov (in RUS) -
Patents and applications None None USSR,1972 Applications and patents USSR,1991; Russia,1998 USA,1998 USA, 1998
Number of students Many tens of millions >100,000 (worldwide) >50,000 (mainly in Russia) >500,000 (half in Russia) >1,000,000 (over 95% in Russia) 100,000 (in western countries)
Which conditions Chronic diseases COPD, asthma, asthma in children, emphysema, stroke, autonomic failure, primary hypertension, major abdominal surgery, cystic fibrosis, myasthenia gravis, myotonic muscular dystrophy, autonomic failure Some chronic diseases Chronic diseases Chronic diseases Hypertension
Clinical trials Numerous, worldwide Numerous,
worldwide
No trials, but some MDs' reports Numerous,
worldwide
Numerous, Russia 10 western clinical trials

Medical people smiling 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.

Lifestyle factor: Body oxygen < 30 s Body oxygen > 50 s
Energy level Medium, low, or very low High
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 Present Absent
Addictions to smoking, alcohol, and drugs Possible Absent
Desire to eat raw foods Weak and rare Very common and natural
Correct posture Rare and requires efforts Natural and automatic
Sleep Often of poor quality; > 7 hours Excellent quality; < 5 hours naturally

How to choose proper breathing techniques?

Medical doctors and patientProper 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)

Condition Minute
ventilation
Number of
people
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min - Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Heart disease 15 (~+mn~4) L/min 22 Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (~+mn~2) L/min 11 Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (~+mn~3) L/min 132 Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (~+mn~4) L/min 55 Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (~+mn~4) L/min 15 Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (~+mn~4) L/min 88 Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease  14 (~+mn~2) L/min 30 Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (~+mn~6) L/min 20 Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertension 12 (~+mn~2) L/min 11 D'Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (~+mn~2) L/min 40 Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 L/min 26 Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (~+mn~2) L/min 45 Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (~+mn~2) L/min 8 Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 L/min 28 Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 20 Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (~+mn~6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (~+mn~4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden, Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (~+mn~2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (~+mn~2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Sleep apnea 15 (~+mn~3) L/min 20 Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 L/min 24 Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (~+mn~1) L/min 42 Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 L/min 12 Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (~+mn~2) L/min 134 Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (~+mn~5) L/min 12 Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (~+mn~2) L/min 16 MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (~+mn~4) L/min 12 Clague et al, 1994

Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch,
and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.

CO2 the key factor of best breathing techniques 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

Traditional Hatha yoga Pursed lip breathing Strelnikova paradoxical breathing gymnastic Buteyko breathing method Frolov breathing device RESPeRATE guided- breathing device
Diaphragmatic breathing during breathwork Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lifestyle factors addressed Yes No No Yes No* No
Learnt without an instructor No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Constant breath control No No No Yes No No
Strict criteria of progress/ success Yes No No Yes Yes Yes

* Out of several hundred Russian Frolov MDs, only a small group of these medical professionals consider the effects of lifestyle on breathing retraining.

Mouth breathing peopleThe 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

Landscape 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.

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 of CO2.

Pursed lip breathing web page provides an overview of this breathing technique, 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?

The Samozdrav 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...

Resperate 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 in 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.

Expand-A-Lung breathing resistance exerciser is a more recent breathing trainer used to strengthen respiratory muscles due to resistance, which can be regulated.

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PowerLung is a device that creates resistance during both inhalations and exhalations. PowerLung has some popularity, especially among athletes....

Ultrabreathe: Review of Ultrabreathe Breathing Device suggests that, as with other Western devices, there is one missing factor in training and analysis of effects.

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....

*** Under construction ***

Warning signWarning. 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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