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Buteyko Method and Buteyko Table of Health Zones

Dr Buteyko, MD, PhDDr Buteyko, before inventing the Buteyko method, suggested that sick people have too heavy breathing at rest and this causes low body oxygenation. Yes, there are hundreds of Western medical studies that confirmed that overbreathing (or hyperventilation) reduces oxygen delivery to cells (you can find many of these studies on pages of this website), but do people with chronic diseases breathe more than the medical norms? Do healthy people breathe less air?

Consider these results of nearly 100 medical studies.

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 (+-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

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

Sick people with chronic diseasesWe can see that sick people breathe about 2-3 times more than the norm. Their breathing is usually faster (about 20-26 breaths per minute instead of 12 breaths/min) and deeper (up to 600-800 ml for tidal volume instead of 500 ml). Furthermore, there are numerous studies quoted on this site that showed that terminally sick people breathe even faster: up to 30-40 breaths per minute for terminal stages of cancer, HIV-AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other conditions.

Dr. Buteyko collected such respiratory information from thousands of sick and healthy people. He applied for a patent which claims that respiratory parameters of people predict their health states. In fact, Soviet and Russian Buteyko doctors generally prescribe medications based on respiratory parameters of their patients. In order to evaluate health of their patients, they use the Buteyko Table of Health Zones.

Buteyko Table of Health Zones (average parameters at rest)

Health
state
Type of
breathing
Degree Pulse,
beats/min
Breathing
frequency/min
CO2 in
alveoli, %
AP, s CP, s MP, s
Super-health Shallow 5 48 3 7.5 16 180 210
4 50 4 7.4 12 150 190
3 52 5 7.3 9 120 170
2 55 6 7.1 7 100 150
1 57 7 6.8 5 80 120
Normal Normal - 60 8 6.5 4 60 90
Disease Deep -1 65 10 6.0 3 50 75
-2 70 12 5.5 2 40 60
-3 75 15 5.0 - 30 50
-4 80 20 4.5 - 20 40
-5 90 26 4.0 - 10 20
-6 100 30 3.5 - 5 10

Stone in fieldComments on Buteyko Table of Health Zones. Pulse – heart rate or pulse rate in 1 minute;  Breathing or Respiratory frequency in one minute (number of inhalations or exhalations); % CO2 - %CO2 in alveoli of the lungs (*or arterial blood if there is no mismatch); AP - the Automatic Pause or natural delay in breathing after exhalation (*during unconscious breathing); CP - the Control Pause (body-oxygen test, breath holding time after usual exhalation and until first distress only); MP (the Maximum Pause, breath holding time after usual exhalation and as long as possible).

This discovery is patented (see the bottom of this page) and the table is based on Buteyko KP, The method of volitional elimination of deep breathing [Translation of the Small Buteyko Manual], Voskresensk, 1994.

* Note about pulse. Not all people with low CPs (less than 20 s) have a greatly increased heart rate, as is given by this table. Some categories of people with less than 20 s CP can have a resting pulse of around 60 – 70 beats per minute. However, increased heart rate for lower CPs is the feature of, for example, heart patients and patients with severe asthma. During the 1960's, when conducting his research, and later, Buteyko and his colleagues applied the Buteyko breathing retraining program mainly for heart and asthma patients, who were mostly hospitalized with frequent deficiencies in blood cortisol levels. This explains the increased heart rates provided by the Table.

Origins of this Table

Dr. Buteyko laboratory in 1960sDr. Buteyko developed this table during 1960s, after he developed the Buteyko breathing method and analyzed hundreds of sick and healthy people in his respiratory laboratory. He presented this Table during his Lecture for the leading scientists at the Moscow State University in 1969. The Table reflects the health of his numerous hospitalized and severely sick patients, who started their journey for health at the very bottom of the table and climbed up, sometimes to the very top of the table.

Structure and description

The middle row of the table corresponds to normal health. Below this row are 7 zones corresponding to disease. The borders for these zones are given by 7 rows (from normal down to "minus 6-th" degree). Five zones of super-health are above the middle row. Let us start from the very bottom of this table and then climb up.

Terminally sick and critically ill patients during acute stages

The lowest row of this table corresponds to severely sick and terminally ill patients in critical conditions. When people are at the risk of dying, the table predicts over 100 beats per minute for their heart rate, over 30 breaths per minute for respiratory frequency, less than 3.5% CO2 in the alveoli of the lungs. The CP (Control Pause or stress-free breath holding time after usual exhalation) is less than 5 s.

Terminally sick and critically ill patients in more stable conditions

Old man gets medicationThe next row from the bottom corresponds to severely sick and terminally ill patients in stable conditions. Typical heart rates or pulse of such people are above 90 beats per minute (sitting at rest). Respiratory rate (or breathing frequency) is above 26 breaths per minute at rest. A CO2 concentration in alveoli of the lungs is no more than 4%. There is no automatic pause (period of no breathing after exhalation). The Control Pause is less than 10 s, while the Maximum Pause is less than 20 s. (Numerous medical studies confirmed that over 90% patients with chronic diseases indeed die in conditions of severe hyperventilation, while their heart rate and respiratory frequency become much higher than the norms. Quotes and exact numbers from such studies can be found on my website in relation to heart disease, asthma, cancer, and many other conditions.)

These patients usually require numerous types of medication to prevent their multiple symptoms and complaints. Walking is hard and climbing stairs, due to heavy labored breathing, dyspnea, and low body oxygenation, is often impossible. Most of the time is spent in bed, since even sitting requires effort.

Sleep is dreadful since breathing and symptoms get much worse after transition into a horizontal position. Early morning hours (4-7 am) is the time when these patients are most likely to die from heart attack, stoke, asthma attack, or complications from cancer, diabetes, and many other pathologies.

Patients with moderate degree of their disease

Sick people and doctorsThe next row (“minus 4-th” degree of health) corresponds to patients whose life is not threatened at the moment, but their main concern are symptoms. People with mild asthma, heart disease, diabetes, 1 and 2 stages of cancer, and many other chronic disorders are all in this zone. Taking medication is the normal feature for most of these people.

As we see from the table, pulse or heart rate for these patients varies from 80 to 90 beats per minute. Breathing frequency is between 20 and 26 breaths per minute (the medical norm is 12, while doctor Buteyko’s norm is 8 breaths per minute at rest). CO2 concentration in alveoli of the lungs is between 4.0 and 4.5%. The CP is between 10 and 20 s (indeed, see the CP Table with results from 10 research articles). The minute ventilation in the moderately (or most) sick people is about 2-3 times more than the norm, as this Table with 34 medical studies testifies

Physical exercise is very hard, since even fast walking results in very heavy breathing through the mouth, exhaustion, and worsening of symptoms. Complains about fatigue are normal. All these symptoms are often so debilitating that they interfere with normal life and ability to work, analyze information, care about others, etc. Living in the chronic state of stress and being preoccupied with own miserable health are normal, while efficiency and performance in various areas (science, arts, sports, etc.) are compromised. Sitting in armchairs or soft couches is the most favorite posture.

Parameters of these people get worse during early morning hours with corresponding worsening of symptoms. Many sufferers get less than 10 s for morning CP with all effects accompanying the last stage of the disease.

Most modern people

Most modern healthy people have between 20 and 30 s CP. Hence, they are going to be in the third row from the bottom (“minus 3-rd” degree of health). While there is no need for taking medication in this zone, numerous health pathologies are frequent. This relates to gastrointestinal disorders (gastritis, IBS, IBD, etc.), musculoskeletal problems (arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.), hormonal and metabolic problems (mild obesity, light diabetes), initial stages of cancer, and many others.

Standing for many hours is hard and they prefer to sit for most part of the day. Physical performance after meals is very poor since respiratory and cardiovascular parameters can shift to the lower zone. Level of energy and physical desire to work are low. The over-excited brain easily invents excuses for laziness.

Morning parameters are much worse (less than 20 s CP) with all effects that present for this zone.

Normal health (official medical norms)

Business presentationAs we continue to climb up the table, the next row corresponds to the norms. The row “minus 2” reflects international norms for breathing: breathing frequency of 12 breaths per minute; 5.5 % for CO2 concentrations in the alveoli of the lungs (about 41 mm Hg); 40 s CP and 70 beats per minute for heart rate. People with normal health naturally have so called “automatic pause” or period of no breathing (total relaxation of all respiratory muscles after each exhalation) during their unconscious breathing. The duration of the automatic pause is 2 seconds. This web page provides the graph and description of the normal breathing pattern.

People with normal health and able to run with strictly nasal breathing, safely take a cold shower (if they follow certain other rules), have good quality of sleep, and are reasonably able to function on the social level (family, community, workplace, etc.).

Buteyko norms

Dr. Buteyko suggested his own standards for health so that one can be free from about 200 chronic conditions. As we see in the Buteyko Table of Health Zones (the middle or central row), healthy people should have breathing frequency no more than 8 breaths per minute at rest, more than 60 s CP, over 6.5% CO2, less than 60 beats per min for heart rate, and at least 4 s for automatic pause.

At this stage people enjoy and even crave physical activity. They are full of energy (when they have a normal blood glucose level). Standing throughout the day is easy and natural. Sleep is less than 5 hours and early morning parameters are not worse than evening ones.

All tissues of the body are histologically normal (or in accordance with medical books), while chronic disorders are impossible.

Stages that corresponds to super-health

Man after swimming in winterButeyko also identified 5 stages in the Buteyko Table of Health Zones that correspond to super-health or super-resilience. Transition to the next row above the norm triggers certain biochemical processes and many students report appearance of lost abilities of the human body, including:
- ability to survive for days without food, water and sleep, while still having high CP and energy to search for food and water and fight for life
- ability to digest wider varieties of fibres
- broken bones, deep cuts and severe wounds can be healed in a few days, instead of weeks or months
- painless childbirth for pregnant females
- production of antibodies in saliva that prevent cavities and the formation of plaque (no need to visit dentists 1-2 times every year)
- natural reduction of sleep down to 2-4 hours (only 2 hours of perfect sleep are sufficient for people who have about 2.5 – 3 minutes CP) - (I regularly observe this effect in my students: with 60 s CP all of them report that they require 4 hours of sleep and cannot sleep more.)
- extrasensory (aura skills or ability to see aura around other people), psychic and telepathic abilities for over 2 min CP and some other effects.

Buteyko patent application

Buteyko generalized the Buteyko Table of Health Zones to a wide variety of conditions (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, and many others) and used it as the guiding tool for his Buteyko breathing method (including medication dosing, use of physical exercise, cold shower, types of breathing exercises, and in any situations). He considered this table as an important discovery since he applied for a patent. His patent application is provided below.

RUSSIA - FEDERAL SERVICE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY,
Patents and Trademarks
IPC7 A61B5/00
(12) APPLICATION FOR INVENTION
(21), (22) Application:99114075/14, 23.06.1999
(43) Date of publication of application:27.04.2001
Address for correspondence:
121609, Moscow, Osennyi Boulevard, 11, (609 office), Company "CEP"
(71) Applicants:
Veltistova Elena,
Buteyko Konstantin Pavlovich (UA)
(72) Authors:
Veltistova Elena,
Buteyko Konstantin Pavlovich (UA)

(54)METHOD OF ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN HEALTH
(57) Abstract:
1. The method of assessing human health, including the definition of the parameters of functional systems and the calculation of health indicators based on the above parameters other than those that form the contingent of the surveyed people who determine the parameter information by measuring the breath holding time of the person after a usual exhalation before the first inhalation without following disturbances in breathing, and then determine and record the basic parameters of main functional systems, and each of them is compared with the informational parameter of the investigated person and obtain the parameter, which is a marker of major functional systems and / or indicator of human health, create a method to assess health through establishment of the scale, while comparing the actual values of each parameter of health survey with the normal value, and based on the received data, health groups can be formed.
2. The method, according to Paragraph 1, but is different in that the scale of health has five categories with a positive sign that characterize the health status of people with different levels of super-endurance and seven categories with a negative sign, which characterize the state of poor health and / or disease in humans with varying degrees of disease severity.

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