- Updated on July 31, 2019
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
Why is it not possible for a sick person to resume normal breathing immediately using willpower?
This is another difficult theoretical and physiological question that needs biochemical, neurological, physiological and psychological research. However, a simple explanation is possible. What happens in real life?
Imagine a sick person (e.g., with ventilation 15-20 l/min) who tries to breathe normally at a rate of 4 or 6 l/min. He/she would quickly accumulate more CO2 in all cells. That would create a very strong feeling of air hunger (suffocation).
Why? One of the known causes is that his/her breathing center is overly-sensitive to additional CO2. He/she may be able to endure that for a few minutes, but not more due to too much stress for the breathing center. After such a shock of voluntary self-suffocation his/her breathing could get even worse.
Breathing is closely connected with perfusion or blood flow to all vital organs, efficiency and sensitivity of the immune system, the permeability of cellular membranes, and many other functions. As soon as vital organs (the brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, liver, etc.) are under stress, or inflammation, or injury, breathing gets stronger. That helps to prevent:
– excessive bleeding (as in cases of open injuries, cuts, bruises, etc.),
– the quick spread of bacterial and viral infections,
– excessive amounts of toxic products in the blood from injured or polluted tissues,
– damage to vital cleansing organs (e.g., liver and kidneys),
– possible additional damage to the stomach and small intestine due to excessive wear of mucosal surfaces (peristalsis) when CO2 values get larger.
All these preventive effects, due to hyperventilation and hypocapnia, can save the life of the organism in the short run. At the same time, it is not normal to be in a state of stress (or fight-flight mode) all the time. Our breathing, if there is no emergency, should be normal.
In order to normalize breathing (or to retrain the breathing center), all organs and tissues should be repaired, restored and rebuilt at a certain rate. This is a practical conclusion reached by Russian medical professionals practicing the Buteyko method. The degree of chronic hyperventilation or the CP reflects the general pollution of the organism.