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Deep breathing: the greatest health superstition

Deep breathing exerciseAsk a hundred of people, “How should we breathe 24/7 for maximum body oxygenation?” or “Which unconscious breathing pattern provides us with best oxygenation?”, and most of them will tell you that big and/or deep breathing is best. "Breathe more for more oxygen". However, if you take 100 fast and deep breaths in succession, you can pass out or faint due to ... hypoxia of the brain. There are dozens of medical studies that confirmed this effect. Hyperventilation is a health hazard. Healthy people have light, slow, and shallow breathing pattern and excellent oxygenation. If you observe breathing of your healthy relatives and friends, you will see nothing and hear nothing. It is the job of the sick patients (with asthma, heart disease, bronchitis, cancer, diabetes, and many other problems) to breathe heavy and to have low tissue oxygenation, as a result. They are hyperventilating. (This should not be confused with correctly-done yoga deep breathing exercise called "pranayama" that increases CO2 in the lungs. For yoga pages, click the link in the top menu.)

The related psychological effect is that we can breathe 2-3 times more air than the medical norms, while being totally unaware that our breathing is too heavy. Why? Air is weightless, and our breathing muscles are powerful. During rigorous physical exercise we can breathe up to 100-150 l/min. Some athletes can breathe up to 200 l/min. So it is easy to breathe "only" 10-15 l/min at rest (only 10% of our maximum capacity), throughout the day and night and not be aware of this rate of breathing. However, in health, we should breathe only about 3-4% of our maximum breathing rate (6 l/min).

Effects of deep breathing

There are many biochemical effects of overbreathing on all vital organs of the human body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, small and large intestines, spleen, pancreas and other glands. First, CO2 (carbon dioxide), the gas we exhale, is crucial for dilation of blood vessels. 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 tissue hypoxia or low cellular oxygenation and low blood supply for the brain. There is another simple test to see the effects of breathing on blood flow. When you get a small accidental bleeding cut, hold your breath and accumulate CO2. Your blood losses can increase 2-5 times! But in real life, pain and sight of blood make breathing heavier preventing large blood losses and providing time for blood coagulation. It is a self-survival mechanism of natural selection.

The second main cause of tissue hypoxia, if our breathing is heavy, relates to the Bohr effect, a physiological law discovered about a century ago. This law explains how, why, and where our red blood cells release oxygen. The release takes place in those tissues that have higher CO2 content. Hence, those organs and muscles that produce more CO2 get more O2. But when we hyperventilate, low CO2 content in all tissues suppresses O2 release from hemoglobin cells and we suffer from hypoxia.

There are many other functions of CO2 in the human body, e.g., bronchodilation, stabilization of the nervous system, regulation of dozens chemical reactions involving proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, hormones, enzymes, messengers, factors, and co-factors.

Learn more about these effects, the Buteyko method, and other breathing retraining techniques that restore normal breathing and normal body oxygenation. Why does body oxygen level matter? Because hypoxia is the key feature of all chronic degenerative diseases, e.g., cancer, heart diseases, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, and many more.

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

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