How Does the Frolov Breathing Device Work?

The main principle is relatively simple: when we breathe in and out through the device, we get a different air composition in our lungs. In normal conditions, when we breathe usual air, the air that we inhale has about 21% of oxygen and 0.03% of carbon dioxide. If we start to breathe through any device, in and out, the device traps a portion of the exhaled air. This exhaled air has less O2 and more CO2. For example, if we collect all exhaled air of the ordinary healthy man during normal breathing, it will contain about 15.3% O2 and 4.2% CO2 since the human body uses O2 and generates CO2.

When we breathe only through the device (inhalations and exhalations), there are changes in the air composition that enters our lungs depending on the parameters of our breathing and device. Indeed, during our exhalation, part of the exhaled air is trapped in the breathing device. Furthermore, the initial part of the exhaled gas has almost no extra CO2 and about 21% O2 since this air does not participate in gas exchange. (Ironically, it is called “dead volume”, but in reality it is a factor promoting health due to drastic changes in air compositions during Earth’s evolution). The last portion of the exhaled air has highest CO2 content and lowest O2 values. Hence, the device can trap this last portion of the exhaled air, which has high CO2 concentration (up to about 5-6% in healthy people) and much less oxygen (about 14-15%) than in normal air.

Hence, during our next inhalation, when we breathe only through the device, this trapped air mixes with fresh air. Hence, most people can more safely practice deep breathing (e.g., 3-5 large deep breathe in one minute) when using the device without problems with low CO2 in the lungs and other body cells. The approximate composition of the inhaled air during breathing sessions is provided in this Table:

Inhaled air during breathing sessions

Gas composition parameter Inhaled normal air Inhaled air during
breathing sessions
CO2 content 0.03% CO2 1-2% CO2
O2 content 20% O2 18-19% O2

The exact composition of the inhaled air is difficult to predict because it depends on many parameters:
1) volume of trapped air in the plastic bottle (the larger this volume, the higher the inhaled CO2 and the lower the exhaled O2);
2) amplitude of breathing (it is called tidal volume);
3) breathing frequency (it is considered in the next section);
4) metabolic rate (or CO2-generation rate).

Those people, who inhale through the nose and exhale through the device, do not use air that is trapped in the device for their breathing. However, since they try to make longer exhalations, their lungs naturally accumulate more CO2 and have less O2. Hence, they experience a similar physiological effect, but to a smaller degree.

Therefore, Frolov device breathing exercise is a type of intermittent hypercapnic hypoxic training: “intermittent” means that it is done only for about 15-20 minutes, but the effects are lasting for many following hours; “hypercapnic” indicates higher CO2 levels in the alveoli of the lungs during sessions (CO2 concentration in the arterial blood and body cells also gets higher if there is no ventilation-perfusion mismatch); and “hypoxic” implies temporary reduced oxygen content in the alveoli.

Similar effects (more CO2 and less O2 in the inhaled air) take place during other beneficial forms of breathing exercises: Buteyko breathing exercises and Pranayama (a slow deep breathing exercise from hatha yoga). However, the breathing device has some advantages: it allows active movements of the respiratory muscles (mainly the diaphragm) and, as a result, it is much easier to tolerate higher CO2 and lower O2 concentrations in the lungs and blood. Active muscular diaphragmatic movements, together with variations in internal pressure during inhalations and exhalations, gently stimulate all internal organs and lymph nodes located under the diaphragm as during intensive physical exercise. Furthermore, the device causes gentle or gradual CO2 increase, while Pranayama breath holds and Buteyko breath holds lead to sudden CO2 upsurge, which can cause problems to some groups of people. Hypoxic training (less O2 in the inhaled air) without hypercapnia takes place when athletes and other people breathe air and live at high altitude (1,500-3,000 m above the sea level).

Related links and web pages (Frolov breathing device):
- Frolov breathing device - Overview
- Frolov device history
- Frolov device: How does it work
- Frolov device effects
- Acute asthma exacerbations clinical trial
- COPD breathing exercises
- Buy Frolov breathing device with 30 min online support from Dr. Artour Rakhimov
- How to Use Frolov Device (Instructions)
- Breathslim and Samozdrav - Prototypes of the Frolov breathing device.

The main Frolov-device page provides interesting facts about the Frolov device and its popularity in Russia.

February 2017 update. New breathing students with terminal conditions (end-stage disease) are accepted on with Dr. Artour's Triple Money-Back Guarantee.

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