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Types of Respiratory patterns with Charts

Avatar of Dr Artour Rakhimov, Buteyko Breathing Practitioner and Master TrainerBy Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
- Last updated on August 9, 2018

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.

Breathing rates in healthy, normal people vs diseases

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. 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 the reduction in tidal volume and a change in breathing rates).

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) breath patterns on one chart.

4 Types of Breath Patterns (Chart)

4 Types of breathing patterns

Fig. Four types of breathing, their minute ventilation,
respiratory frequency, and body-oxygen test results.

Find your type of breathing pattern

Brain heavy breathing effects 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.

MDs 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 the gradual development of sleep apnea.

Based on over 40 years of medical research conducted by over 150 Soviet and Russian medical doctors (lead by Dr. KP Buteyko), it was suggested that there are a better norm and normal breathing pattern which is incompatible with chronic health problems. As a result, they suggested certain respiratory numbers as standards of excellent health. These numbers are provided right below here as your bonus content.

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