Buteyko Breathing Problems: Why Body O2 Remains Low
(Learning the Buteyko method by modules)
(Module 19. Common mistakes and problems)
When a breathing student gets stuck with his or her progress in body oxygenation, there are always reasons behind low body-O2 content and inability of the organism to adapt to slower breathing and higher body O2. This page is going to analyze these reasons.
While breathing students can apply different methods to increase body-O2 content (including uses of the Buteyko breathing exercises, Frolov device and other breathing devices, such as Samozdrav, Amazing DIY breathing device, etc.), all these challenges can be described as Buteyko breathing problems.
Indeed, in most cases, when analyzing the causes of low body O2 or CP, it is not important which particular breathing exercises one uses. Most likely, the reasons are due to other factors.
If one achieves 30 s for the morning CP, this is an excellent result. (More details about breaking through 40 s MCP can be found in the Big book or Oxygen Remedy online webinars.) However, many students get stuck with less than 30 s for their morning CP (often with less than 20 s), and we are going to consider such situations on this page.
Here are most common mistakes for those students who are stuck below 30 s morning CP and are “free learners” (or those people who dared to learn on their own or without a breathing teacher from pages of this site).
1. Boasting about the outcomes
Before starting their breathing retraining, the student boasts (or claims) to others (and often on pages of this site) that he or she is going to get high morning CP 30 or even CP 60. When someone says to others, "I am a good father", "I am good wife", "I am the best athlete in the team", "I am going to win this competition", the performance of this person in this particular area is going to be much worse just due to making such statements. In fact, if we consider breathing retraining, each and every person whom I knew and who claimed to get CP 60 never got even CP 30.
If you do not believe in existence of this psychological or motivational law, you can surely try it on yourself. Select your hobby or area you are good at, and start saying to people around you that you are great in this area. See the effects in some days or weeks (how your motivation disappear).
This motivational problem (lack of focus on practical challenges and desire to avoid real work) is easily solved by focusing on business rather than making unnecessary claims.
2. No daily log
The student does not fill the daily log thinking that keeping the diary with all details and numbers is unnecessary. Absence of records means poor self-control and absence of objective information to analyze later. In fact, I have not seen a student yet who got even 30 s MCP without having a daily log.
3. EFA deficiency
The student does not use fish oil (at all or not enough) claiming that, “It is written on the bottle to use 2 capsules per day”, “I take Udo oil”, “I use flaxseed oil”, etc. since he or she does not like smell of fish oil, or is trying to save money, or have some other causes. For many people, even taking 5 large capsules of fish oil per day would not produce a large difference due to inflammation and other abnormalities. This is the reason why 1 tablespoon or 10 ml per day is considered as the right dose for the 3-day trial. More information about EFAs is here: Fish oil benefits.
4. Lack of exercise
The student with low body O2 (usually 15-25 s) ignores importance of physical exercise thinking that he or she has a special body that does not need exercise or some other abilities. This often results in less than 20 seconds for the morning CP (body-O2 content). For minimum requirements in physical exercise, see the Table from the page devoted to benefits of exercise.
5. Attachment to junk
The student is attached to his or her usual eating habits (e.g., to have a lunch at noon and supper at 6 pm), warm blankets, dead teeth (root canals), mercury fillings, table salt (instead of sea salt), and so forth. For example, the student believes that he needs to have his usual lunch or supper regardless of his hunger, wellbeing, blood sugar levels and other factors. Another student may think that she must sleep under her favorite blanket. Some other students may believe that their mercury fillings do not cause any health problems (even though such students can have numerous health complaints).
Among all these factors, only root canals could be safe for some people without serious organic health problems. Here is an additional information about mercury fillings, root canals, and other focal infections.
6. Ignoring GI problems
The student experiences GI problems with numerous symptoms (such as soiling, gas, increased urination, etc.) that can be caused by intestinal parasites, inflammation, ulcers, IBS, IBD, Crohn disease, Candida yeast infection and many other causes. It is important and possible to achieve ideal digestive health even before one gets 25-30 s CP. Abnormal GI flora, in most cases, will keep the CP below 30 s, in some cases below 20 s, until its causes are addressed.
Body O2 is unchanged after breathing exercises
Apart from these cases, there are also situations when the person is unable to increase his or her CP after breathing sessions (the CP after breathing exercises is not better than the CP before breathing exercises). If it relates to the Buteyko breathing exercises, the most likely cause is the poor execution of the Buteyko breathing exercises (and this is one of the reasons why I encourage people with less than 20 s CP to use breathing devices that is much safer and easier to learn).
Another possibility is low levels of blood cortisol. This happens at about 10-15 s CP, when the pulse is over 70 beats per minute 24/7. Such students require cortisol supplementation and/or other measures related to excessive inflammation and adrenal exhaustion. More info about main signs and symptoms of cortisol deficiency will be provided later.
Several other types of Buteyko breathing problems relate to more specific cases when existing health problems and factors (hypertension, panic attacks, GI problems, pregnancy, allergies, and so on) lead to various negative bodily reactions and health problems. Most of these situations are discussed on several pages devoted to 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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