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
|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 &
|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,
|No trials, but some MDs' reports||Numerous,
|Numerous, Russia||10 western clinical trials|
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?
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)
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 (±4) L/min||22||Dimopoulou et al, 2001|
|Heart disease||16 (±2) L/min||11||Johnson et al, 2000|
|Heart disease||12 (±3) L/min||132||Fanfulla et al, 1998|
|Heart disease||15 (±4) L/min||55||Clark et al, 1997|
|Heart disease||13 (±4) L/min||15||Banning et al, 1995|
|Heart disease||15 (±4) L/min||88||Clark et al, 1995|
|Heart disease||14 (±2) L/min||30||Buller et al, 1990|
|Heart disease||16 (±6) L/min||20||Elborn et al, 1990|
|Pulm hypertension||12 (±2) L/min||11||D'Alonzo et al, 1987|
|Cancer||12 (±2) L/min||40||Travers et al, 2008|
|Diabetes||12-17 L/min||26||Bottini et al, 2003|
|Diabetes||15 (±2) L/min||45||Tantucci et al, 2001|
|Diabetes||12 (±2) L/min||8||Mancini et al, 1999|
|Diabetes||10-20 L/min||28||Tantucci et al, 1997|
|Diabetes||13 (±2) L/min||20||Tantucci et al, 1996|
|Asthma||13 (±2) L/min||16||Chalupa et al, 2004|
|Asthma||15 L/min||8||Johnson et al, 1995|
|Asthma||14 (±6) L/min||39||Bowler et al, 1998|
|Asthma||13 (±4) L/min||17||Kassabian et al, 1982|
|Asthma||12 L/min||101||McFadden & Lyons, 1968|
|COPD||14 (±2) L/min||12||Palange et al, 2001|
|COPD||12 (±2) L/min||10||Sinderby et al, 2001|
|COPD||14 L/min||3||Stulbarg et al, 2001|
|Sleep apnea||15 (±3) L/min||20||Radwan et al, 2001|
|Liver cirrhosis||11-18 L/min||24||Epstein et al, 1998|
|Hyperthyroidism||15 (±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 (±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 (±2) L/min||134||Han et al, 1997|
|Panic disorder||12 (±5) L/min||12||Pain et al, 1991|
|Bipolar disorder||11 (±2) L/min||16||MacKinnon et al, 2007|
|Dystrophia myotonica||16 (±4) L/min||12||Clague et al, 1994|
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 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|
|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 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.
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.w
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. 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 medical facts:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- 6 breathing myths: Myths and superstitions about breathing and body oxygenation (prevalence: over 90%)
- Hyperventilation: Definitions of hyperventilation: their advantages and weak points
- Hyperventilation syndrome: Western scientific evidence about prevalence of chronic hyperventilation in patients with chronic conditions (37 medical studies)
- Normal minute ventilation: Small and slow breathing at rest is enjoyed by healthy subjects (14 studies)
- Hyperventilation prevalence: Present in over 90% of normal people (24 medical studies)
- HV and hypoxia: How and why deep breathing reduces oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
- Body oxygen in healthy: Results for the body-oxygen test for healthy people (27 medical studies)
- Body oxygen in sick : Results for the body-oxygen test for sick people (14 medical studies)
- Buteyko Table of Health Zones: Clinical description and ranges for breathing zones: from the critically ill (severely sick) up to super healthy people with maximum possible body oxygenation
- Morning hyperventilation: Why people feel worse and critically ill people are most likely to die during early morning hours
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 tissues
- Cell oxygen levels: How alveolar CO2 influences oxygen transport
- Oxygen transport: O2 transport is controlled by vasoconstriction-vasodilation and the Bohr effects, both of which rely on CO2
- Free radical generation: Reactive oxygen species are produced within cells due to anaerobic cell respiration caused by cell hypoxia
- Inflammatory response: Chronic inflammation in fueled by the hypoxia-inducible factor 1, while normal breathing reduces and eliminates inflammation
- Nerve stabilization: People remain calm due to calmative or sedative effects of carbon dioxide in neurons or nerve cells
- Muscle relaxation: Relaxation of muscle cells is normal at high CO2, while hypocapnia causes muscular tension, poor posture and, sometimes, aggression and violence
- Bronchodilation: Dilation of airways (bronchi and bronchioles) is caused by carbon dioxide, and their constriction by hypocapnia (low CO2)
- Blood pH: Regulation of blood pH due to breathing and regulation of other bodily fluids
- CO2: lung damage: Elevated carbon dioxide prevents lung injury and promotes healing of lung tissues
- CO2: Topical carbon dioxide can heal skin and tissues
- Synthesis of glutamine in the brain, CO2 fixation, and other chemical reactions
- Deep breathing myth: Ignorant and naive people promote the idea that deep breathing and breathing more air at rest is beneficial for health
- Breathing control: How is our breathing regulated? Why hypocapnia makes breathing uneven, irregular and erratic.
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