Types of Breathing Patterns: Respiratory patterns with Charts
There are 2 most important regular types of breathing patterns:
- the normal breathing pattern (see links to medical textbooks below) that
is present in healthy people: about 12 breaths per minute, 500 mL for tidal
volume, 6 L/min for minute ventilation rates, and about 40 mm Hg for arterial
and alveolar CO2 partial pressure
- the ineffective breathing pattern (present in moderately sick people
with chronic diseases): with about 18-20 breaths/minute; 700-800 mL for tidal volume,
and about 15 L/min for MV, with less than 35 mm Hg for aCO2. Hence, the sick
breathe faster and deeper than the norms. These numbers in the sick are common
for many chronic conditions.
Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch, and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.
There are numerous studies that testify that severely and critically sick people commonly breathe up to 30 or more breaths per minute, indicating severe hyperventilation. This corresponds to the heavy breathing pattern. Ideal breathing, according to clinical experience of about 200 Russian medical doctors, due to CO2 effects, is very slow: only about 3-4 breaths/minute. Here is a list of all four types of regular automatic (or unconscious) breathing patterns on one chart.
4 Types of Breathing Patterns (Chart)
Fig. Four types of breathing, their minute ventilation, respiratory frequency, and body-oxygen test results.
Find your type of breathing pattern
It is easy to prove
that overbreathing (having larger tidal volume and higher respiratory frequency) leads to a reduced body oxygen level (measured with the body oxygen test
- stress-free breath holding time after usual exhalation) due to hypocapnia and other effects (e.g., chest
breathing). The detailed mechanism (why overbreathing lowers tissue-oxygen content) is discussed in the next Section:
Carbon dioxide effects.
Warning. Note that people cannot simply count their respiratory
rate (or respiratory frequency) since counting one's own respiratory rate can change
the automatic breathing pattern (tidal volume and Rf) up to 2-3 times, as soon
as the person pays attention to his or her own respiration.
There are, of course, many types of irregular
respiratory patterns and abnormal breathing patterns. Some
people sigh every 3-5 minutes. Others cough a lot, or sniff sporadically. Often,
breathing through the mouth is a part of the picture. All these irregularities
are signs of low oxygenation and low CP due to chronic hypocapnia (CO2
deficiency in the brain cells). Respiratory irregularities can also occur during
sleep and they can cause gradual development of sleep apnea.
Based on over 40 years of medical research conducted
by Russian Medical Doctor Konstantin Buteyko and over 200 of his medical colleagues, it was suggested that the normal breathing pattern is incompatible with chronic health problems. As a result, Buteyko suggested that 60 s for the body-oxygen test (Buteyko CP test) should be a standard of excellent health. These types of breathing have only about 8 breaths per minute at rest.
According to the clinical experience of these doctors, clinical remission of
severely sick people is usually accompanied by gradual transitions between these
3 or 4 types of breathing patterns: from heavy and deep breathing to very slow
and light (with reduction in tidal volume and a change in breathing rates).