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Body Oxygen Test or Buteyko CP (Control Pause) Test

Avatar of Dr Artour Rakhimov, Buteyko Breathing Practitioner and Master TrainerBy Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
- Last updated on August 9, 2018

The body oxygen test or CP (control pause) test measures body oxygen levels and evaluates minute ventilation or breathing rates using special breathing holding testing. This DIY test has been used by about 200 Soviet and Russian medical doctors and other health professionals. They checked over 250,000 patients with various health problems and ordinary people. Several hundreds of Western Buteyko teachers applied this test on more than 200,000 people.

Breath holding womanThe body oxygen CP test is done with no solid food in the stomach (water is OK). Sit down and rest for 5-7 minutes. Completely relax all your muscles, including the breathing muscles. This relaxation produces natural spontaneous exhalation (breathing out). Pinch your nose closed at the end of this exhalation and count your BHT (breath holding time) in seconds. Keep the nose pinched until you experience the first desire to breathe.

Practice shows that this first desire appears together with an involuntary push of the diaphragm or swallowing movement in the throat. If you release the nose and start breathing at this time, you can resume your usual breathing pattern (in the same way as you were breathing prior to the test).

Do not extend breath holding too long, trying to increase the result. You should not gasp for air or open your mouth when you release your nose. The test should be easy and not cause you any stress. This stress-free breath holding time test should not interfere with your breathing, as shown here:

Breath holding or Control Pause Test: Correct and Incorrect

Warning signWarning. Some, not all, people with heart disease, migraine headaches, and panic attacks may experience negative symptoms minutes later after this light version of the test. If this happens, they should avoid this body oxygen test.

Some people can have abnormally large numbers for this test. This happens in cases of carotid body resections, denervation of respiratory muscles, and near death experiences. People with sleep apnea and lost or blunted CO2 sensitivity can also have exaggerated test results.

Cases of people having a good or normal breathing (with normal body O2 content) while having poor results for this test are virtually unknown.

What about usual body-oxygen test numbers, CP norms and CP of sick and healthy people?

“If a person breath-holds after a normal exhalation,
it takes about 40 seconds before breathing commences”
From the textbook “Essentials of exercise physiology”
McArdle W.D., Katch F.I., Katch V.L. (2nd edition);
Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, London 2000, p.252.

Control Pause 
(oxygenation index or stress-free breath hoolding time) in sick people - 9 medical studies

Results of Western medical and physiological research studies are summarized in these 2 Tables:
- Body-oxygen test in sick people (13 medical studies; less than 20 seconds)
- Body-oxygen test in healthy people (24 references; about 20-30 seconds now; about 40-50 seconds 80-100 years ago)

Medical people smilingDoctor Buteyko and his medical colleagues tested more than 250,000 Soviet and Russian patients and found that the following relationships generally hold true for the body-oxygen test in their patients:
1-10 s - severely sick, critically and terminally ill patients, usually hospitalized
10-20 s - sick patients with health complaints and, often, on daily medication
20-30 s - people with average health and usually without serious chronic health problems
40-60 s - very good health
Over 60 s - ideal health, when many chronic diseases are virtually impossible.

However, sometimes people have poor results (less than 20 s), but they do not suffer from chronic diseases. This happens when these people do not have a genetic predisposition to chronic diseases (good genes), while low body O2 surely compromises their health, fitness, and quality of life.

How does the body-oxygen test relate to your automatic breathing?

Breathing rates in healthy, normal people vs diseases

Sick people and a doctorMedical evidence suggests that sick people are heavy breathers. The bigger your breathing, the smaller your body-oxygen levels.
- If you have about 40 seconds for the body-oxygen test, you have normal breathing (with about 5-7 L/min for minute ventilation).
- If your time is 20 s, you breathe for 2 people or twice more than the medical norm.
- If you have 10 s of oxygen in the body or less, you breathe for at least 4 people.

After testing 1,000s of their patients, Soviet MDs found that this CP test accurately predicts numerous lifestyle choices, symptoms, and habits of people. This includes their energy levels, fatigue, desire to exercise, mind states, stress levels, addictions, cravings, desire to eat raw foods, usual postures, and even sleep quality and its duration. I found this true for 100s of my breathing students. This information is present in the Table hidden right below here as your bonus content.

Tweet or Share this page to reveal the bonus content.

Hence, if you breathe less, you naturally increase your body oxygen levels.

While this CP test is the main health parameter, it is not the only one. See factors that affect health for more detail.

This video clip explains in detail how to do the Buteyko CP (Control Pause) test or body oxygen test:


  1. How to Measure Blood Oxygen (From
  2. Is My Blood Oxygen Level Normal? (From
  3. How to measure one's own breathing? (From Nirvana.Fitness)

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

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