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Health hazard: we do not notice when we
breathe 2-3 times more than the medical norm

The international physiological norm for breathing at rest is 6 l/min for a 70-kg man. People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and many other degenerative conditions chronically breathe about 2-3 times more air and suffer from … tissue hypoxia (low body oxygenation). Consider this table:

Table 1. Western scientific evidence about prevalence of CHV
(chronic hyperventilation) in patients with various chronic conditions

Condition Minute
Number of
of CHV
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 l/min - 0 % Medical textbooks
Heart disease 15 (4) l/min 22 100% Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (2) l/min 11 100% Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (3) l/min 132 100% Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (4) l/min 55 100% Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (4) l/min 15 100% Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (4) l/min 88 100% Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease  14 (2) l/min 30 100% Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (6) l/min 20 100% Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertens 12 (2) l/min 11 100% D'Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (2) l/min 40 100% Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 l/min 26 100% Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (2) l/min 45 100% Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (2) l/min 8 100% Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 l/min 28 100% Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (2) l/min 20 100% Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (2) l/min 16 100% Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 l/min 8 100% Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (6) l/min 39 100% Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (4) l/min 17 100% Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 l/min 101 100% McFadden & Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (2) l/min 12 100% Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (2) l/min 10 100% Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 l/min 3 100% Stulbarg et al, 2001
sleep apnea 15 (3) l/min 20 100% Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 l/min 24 100% Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (1) l/min 42 100% Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (2) l/min 10 100% Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 l/min 6 100% Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 l/min 12 100% Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (2) l/min 134 100% Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (5) l/min 12 100% Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (2) l/min 16 100% MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (4) l/min 12 100% Clague et al, 1994

+ many more published studies with the same result: Sick people breathe too much

Click here for a Table 2 with minute ventilation at rest in modern healthy subjects (14 medical studies)

Click here for another Table 3 with historical changes in minute ventilation (or minute breathing rates) at rest for normal subjects (24 medical studies). We can see that "normal" modern subjects breathe about 2 times more air than "normal" subjects 70-80 years ago, when the rates of chronic diseases were about 10 or more times less.

"Hence, normal breathing corresponds to a healthy organism." Dr. K. P. Buteyko, "Dr. Buteyko lecture in the Moscow State University on 9 December 1969"

There are many other studies that found "big" breathing in patients with arthritis, cancer, COPD, chronic fatigue, insomnia, etc. However, if you ask a typical asthmatic or heart patient about their breathing, they will tell you that their breathing is light and easy. It is only during heart or asthma attacks, when they breathe about 4-6 times more than the norm, they acknowledge their big breathing.

Why is “big” breathing dangerous? All available medical evidence (thousands of publications) tells us that the more we breathe, the less oxygenation of our tissues. This simple fact is easy to check. How? There are 2 methods.

First, check it yourself. Start to breathe very heavy in and out just for 1-2 minutes, and you can lose consciousness (faint or pass out) due to hypoxia and low blood supply for the brain. Physiological studies found that brain blood supply and oxygenation is reduced by about 40% after 1 minute of heavy breathing.

Second, you can observe breathing of people at rest. You will see that healthy people breathe very little (their breathing is invisible and inaudible) and they have normal body oxygenation. Breathing of the sick can be seen and often heard (sighing, coughing, sneezing, yawning, sniffing, etc.). Moreover, you can easily measure oxygenation levels in people using a simple test: stress-free breath holding time after exhalation. How is it done?

Check your breathing!

After your usual exhale, pinch your nose and count your BHT (breath holding time) in seconds. Keep 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. (Your body warns you, “Enough!”) 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. This is the most common mistake. 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. The BHT test does not interfere with your usual breathing.

[Warning. 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 test.]

Why does the test matter? The test reflects body oxygenation, the key factor in cancer, heart disease, asthma, fatigue, sleeping problems and many other conditions.

Thousands of studies found the following numbers:
- Severely sick, critically and terminally ill patients, usually hospitalized: 1-10 s.
- Sick patients with numerous complaints and, often, on daily medication: 10-20 s.
- People with poor health, but often without serious organic problems: 20-40 s.
- Good and excellent health: over 40 s.

Restoration of oxygenation and normal breathing parameters, including breath holding time, are the main goals of the Buteyko breathing method. The method was developed by Russian Doctor Konstantin Buteyko, who trained about 200 Russian medical professionals to apply this therapy for various health conditions. These doctors found that if the patient manages to normalize main parameters of breathing, no symptoms and no medication are required for asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, and many other conditions. 

There are 2 parts in his system: breathing exercises and common sense activities, which, as they found, influence breathing. For example, when we breathe through the mouth or sleep on the back at night, our oxygenation index can drop almost 2 times! In relation to other activities, Doctor Buteyko even suggested simple rules for better oxygenation: “Eat only when hungry and stop in time”, “Go to sleep when really sleepy and get out of the bed in the morning”, “Exercise with nasal breathing only”, etc. Many other factors are useful for better oxygenation, as Russian doctors found, for example, raw diets, good posture, normal thermoregulation, relaxation and meditation therapy, forgiveness, moderation, hatha yoga postures, cold shower for healthy people, etc.

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

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