Buteyko Table of Health Zones: Key Element of the Buteyko Method
Buteyko, before inventing the Buteyko method, suggested that sick people have too heavy breathing at rest and
this causes low body oxygenation. Yes, there are hundreds of Western medical
studies that confirmed that overbreathing (or hyperventilation) reduces oxygen
delivery to cells (you can find many of these studies on pages of this website), but do
people with chronic diseases breathe more than the medical norms? Do healthy people
breathe less air?
Consider these results of nearly 100 medical studies.
We can see
that sick people breathe about 2-3 times more than the norm. Their breathing is
usually faster (about 20-26 breaths per minute instead of 12 breaths/min) and
deeper (up to 600-800 ml for tidal volume instead of 500 ml).
Furthermore, there are numerous studies quoted on this site that showed that
terminally sick people breathe even faster: up to 30-40 breaths per minute for
terminal stages of cancer, HIV-AIDS, cystic fibrosis and other conditions.
Dr. Buteyko collected such respiratory information from thousands of sick
and healthy people. He applied for a patent which claims that respiratory
parameters of people predict their health states. In fact, Soviet and
Russian Buteyko doctors generally prescribe medications based on respiratory
parameters of their patients. In order to evaluate health of their patients,
they use the Buteyko Table of Health Zones.
Buteyko Table of Health Zones (average parameters at rest)
Comments on Buteyko Table of Health Zones.
Pulse – heart rate or pulse rate in 1 minute; Breathing or
Respiratory frequency in one minute (number of inhalations or
exhalations); % CO2 - %CO2 in alveoli of the lungs (*or arterial blood
if there is no mismatch); AP - the Automatic Pause or natural delay in
breathing after exhalation (*during unconscious breathing); CP - the
Control Pause (body-oxygen test, breath holding time after usual exhalation and until
first distress only); MP (the Maximum Pause, breath holding time after
usual exhalation and as long as possible).
This discovery is patented (see the bottom of this page) and the Health Table is based on Buteyko KP, The method of
volitional elimination of deep breathing [Translation of the Small
Buteyko Manual], Voskresensk, 1994.
* Note about pulse. Not all people with low CPs (less than 20
s) have a greatly increased heart rate, as is given by this Table. Some
categories of people with less than 20 s CP can have a resting pulse of
around 60 – 70 beats per minute and sometimes even much less (often due to years of physical training). However, increased average heart rate numbers for
lower CPs is the feature of, for example, heart patients, patients
with severe asthma, cancer, and many other conditions. During the 1960's, when conducting his research,
and later, Buteyko and his colleagues applied the Buteyko breathing
retraining program mainly on severely sick people for whom high pulse, for 2 lowest zones of health, is very common. Thus, the numbers of heart rate given above should be viewed as a general statistical observation.
Dr. Buteyko developed this Table during 1960s, after he
developed the Buteyko breathing method and analyzed hundreds of sick
and healthy people in his respiratory laboratory. He presented this
Health Table during his Lecture for the leading scientists at the Moscow State
University in 1969. The Table reflects the health of his numerous
hospitalized and severely sick patients, who started their journey for
health at the very bottom of the Table and climbed up, sometimes to the
very top of the Health Table.
Structure and description
The middle row of the Table corresponds to normal health.
Below this row are 7 zones corresponding to disease. The borders for
these zones are given by 7 rows (from normal down to "minus 6-th"
degree). Five zones of super-health are above the middle row. Let us
start from the very bottom of this Table and then climb up.
Terminally sick and critically ill patients during acute
The lowest row of this Health Table corresponds to severely sick and
terminally ill patients in critical conditions. When people are at the
risk of dying, the Table predicts over 100 beats per minute for their
heart rate, over 30 breaths per minute for respiratory frequency, less
than 3.5% CO2 in the alveoli of the lungs. The CP (Control Pause or
stress-free breath holding time after usual exhalation) is less than 5
Terminally sick and critically ill patients in more stable
The next row from the bottom corresponds to severely sick and
terminally ill patients in stable conditions. Typical heart rates or
pulse of such people are above 90 beats per minute (sitting at rest).
Respiratory rate (or breathing frequency) is above 26 breaths per
minute at rest. A CO2 concentration in alveoli of the lungs is no more
than 4%. There is no automatic pause (period of no breathing after
exhalation). The Control Pause is less than 10 s, while the Maximum
Pause is less than 20 s. (Numerous medical studies confirmed that over
90% patients with chronic diseases indeed die in conditions of severe
hyperventilation, while their heart rate and respiratory frequency
become much higher than the norms. Quotes and exact numbers from such
studies can be found on my website in relation to heart disease,
asthma, cancer, and many other conditions.)
These patients usually require numerous types of medication to
prevent their multiple symptoms and complaints. Walking is hard and
climbing stairs, due to heavy labored breathing, dyspnea, and low body
oxygenation, is often impossible. Most of the time is spent in bed,
since even sitting requires effort.
Sleep is dreadful since breathing and symptoms get much worse
after transition into a horizontal position. Early morning hours (4-7
am) is the time when these patients are most likely to die from heart
attack, stoke, asthma attack, or complications from cancer, diabetes,
and many other pathologies.
Patients with moderate degree of their disease
The next row (“minus 4-th” degree of health) corresponds to
patients whose life is not threatened at the moment, but their main
concern are symptoms. People with mild asthma, heart disease, diabetes,
1 and 2 stages of cancer, and many other chronic disorders are all in
this zone. Taking medication is the normal feature for most of these
As we see from the Table, pulse or heart rate for these
patients varies from 80 to 90 beats per minute. Breathing frequency is
between 20 and 26 breaths per minute (the medical norm is 12, while
doctor Buteyko’s norm is 8 breaths per minute at rest). CO2
concentration in alveoli of the lungs is between 4.0 and 4.5%. The CP
is between 10 and 20 s (indeed, see the
CP Table with results from 10 research articles). The minute
ventilation in the moderately (or most) sick people is about 2-3 times
more than the norm, as
this Health Table with 34 medical studies testifies.
Physical exercise is very hard, since even fast walking
results in very heavy breathing through the mouth, exhaustion, and
worsening of symptoms. Complains about fatigue are normal. All these
symptoms are often so debilitating that they interfere with normal life
and ability to work, analyze information, care about others, etc.
Living in the chronic state of stress and being preoccupied with own
miserable health are normal, while efficiency and performance in
various areas (science, arts, sports, etc.) are compromised. Sitting in
armchairs or soft couches is the most favorite posture.
Parameters of these people get worse during early morning
hours with corresponding worsening of symptoms. Many sufferers get less
than 10 s for morning CP with all effects accompanying the last stage
of the disease.
Most modern people
Most modern healthy people have between 20 and 30 s CP. Hence,
they are going to be in the third row from the bottom (“minus 3-rd”
degree of health). While there is no need for taking medication in this
zone, numerous health pathologies are frequent. This relates to
gastrointestinal disorders (gastritis, IBS, IBD, etc.), musculoskeletal
problems (arthritis, osteoporosis, etc.), hormonal and metabolic
problems (mild obesity, light diabetes), initial stages of cancer, and
Standing for many hours is hard and they prefer to sit for
most part of the day. Physical performance after meals is very poor
since respiratory and cardiovascular parameters can shift to the lower
zone. Level of energy and physical desire to work are low. The
over-excited brain easily invents excuses for laziness.
Morning parameters are much worse (less than 20 s CP) with all
effects that present for this zone.
Normal health (official medical norms)
As we continue to climb up the Table, the next row corresponds
to the norms. The row “minus 2” reflects international norms for
breathing: breathing frequency of 12 breaths per minute; 5.5 % for CO2
concentrations in the alveoli of the lungs (about 41 mm Hg); 40 s CP
and 70 beats per minute for heart rate. People with normal health
naturally have so called “automatic pause” or period of no breathing
(total relaxation of all respiratory muscles after each exhalation)
during their unconscious breathing. The duration of the automatic pause
is 2 seconds. This web page provides the graph and
description of the normal breathing pattern.
People with normal health and able to run with strictly nasal
breathing, safely take a cold shower (if they follow certain other
rules), have good quality of sleep, and are reasonably able to function
on the social level (family, community, workplace, etc.).
Dr. Buteyko suggested his own standards for health so that one
can be free from about 200 chronic conditions. As we see in the Buteyko
Table of Health Zones (the middle or central row), healthy people
should have breathing frequency no more than 8 breaths per minute at
rest, more than 60 s CP, over 6.5% CO2, less than 60 beats per min for
heart rate, and at least 4 s for automatic pause.
At this stage people enjoy and even crave physical activity.
They are full of energy (when they have a normal blood glucose level).
Standing throughout the day is easy and natural. Sleep is less than 5
hours and early morning parameters are not worse than evening ones.
All tissues of the body are histologically normal (or in
accordance with medical books), while chronic disorders are impossible.
Stages that corresponds to super-health
Buteyko also identified 5 stages in the Buteyko Table of Health Zones that
correspond to super-health or super-resilience. Transition to each next row above
the norm triggers certain biochemical processes, and many students report appearance of lost (and often unknown) amazing abilities of
the human body.
For example, there is a natural reduction of sleep down to 2-4 hours. Only 2 hours of perfect
sleep are sufficient for people who have about 2.5 – 3 minutes CP. I
regularly observe this effect in my students: with 60 s CP all of them report
that they require 4 hours of sleep and cannot sleep more. Buteyko, in his interview, claimed that his usual sleep was 2 hours long. Several other effects (including astonishing digestive abilities, abilities to regenerate and heal body tissues very fast, and so forth) are provided right below here as your bonus content.
Tweet or Share this page to reveal the bonus content.
Buteyko generalized the Buteyko Table of Health Zones to a
wide variety of conditions (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma,
and many others) and used it as the guiding tool for his Buteyko
breathing method (including medication dosing, use of physical exercise, cold
shower, types of breathing exercises, and in any situations). He considered this Health Table as an important discovery
since he applied for a patent. His patent application is provided below.
RUSSIA - FEDERAL SERVICE FOR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY,
Patents and Trademarks
(12) APPLICATION FOR INVENTION
(21), (22) Application:99114075/14, 23.06.1999
(43) Date of publication of application:27.04.2001
Address for correspondence:
121609, Moscow, Osennyi Boulevard, 11, (609 office), Company "CEP"
Buteyko Konstantin Pavlovich (UA)
Buteyko Konstantin Pavlovich (UA)
(54)METHOD OF ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN HEALTH
1. The method of assessing human health, including the definition of the parameters of functional systems and the calculation of health indicators based on the above parameters other than those that form the contingent of the surveyed people who determine the parameter information by measuring the breath holding time of the person after a usual exhalation before the first inhalation without following disturbances in breathing, and then determine and record the basic parameters of main functional systems, and each of them is compared with the informational parameter of the investigated person and obtain the parameter, which is a marker of major functional systems and / or indicator of human health, create a method to assess health through establishment of the scale, while comparing the actual values of each parameter of health survey with the normal value, and based on the received data, health groups can be formed.
2. The method, according to Paragraph 1, but is different in that the scale of health has five categories with a positive sign that characterize the health status of people with different levels of super-endurance and seven categories with a negative sign, which characterize the state of poor health and / or disease in humans with varying degrees of disease severity.