Why do breath holding abilities matter? Low tissue oxygenation is the normal feature for people with asthma, heart disease, chronic fatigue, bronchitis, cancer, acne, sexual importance, diabetes, and many other disorders. There are dozens of Western studies that proved that patients with numerous conditions have impaired breath holding abilities.
Russian Doctor Konstantin Buteyko, MD developed the Buteyko breathing re-training method for treatment of asthma and heart disease. For his system, the stress-free version of the breath holding time test is the main measuring tool that reflects personal health. Moreover, one of Doctor Buteyko's pupils wrote a PhD thesis and showed, using hundreds of typical hospitalized patients, that breath holding time is invariably short in sick people and long in the healthy. The cross-correlation analysis confirmed that the BHT test is much better than any other health-related test.
However, for most accurate results, as Russian and Western researchers found, we should compare stress-free versions of the breath-holding time test. Thus, the test suggested by Doctor Buteyko, was not targeted to get as long breath holding time as possible. He and his colleagues were not divers. Their test reflects body oxygenation. He and his colleagues even suggested the special name "the CP" (Control Pause).
There are 3 major differences between their test (the CP) and maximum breath holding time. The CP is measured:
1) without any breathing manipulations before the test (you cannot take several big breaths that can extend your breath hold by 20-40%);
2) after usual exhalation (for maximum breath hold we take the maximum possible inhalation that makes breath holding time about 2.5 times longer);
3) only until the first discomfort or distress (for maximum breath holding many people can pause their breath 2-3 times longer than the time of the first discomfort).
Try the CP test yourself: breathe normally while sitting; after your usual exhale pinch the nose (to prevent slight unconscious breathing); and measure the time only until the first distress. [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.]
The most common mistake is to overdo the test. In this case, you will notice that the stress is gradually increasing. It is time to stop. If you do the test correctly, you will not gasp for air after the test. In fact, your breathing pattern must be exactly the same after the correct test as it was just before it. The number for your CP test will be about 5 or more times shorter than the maximum breath holding time you can achieve.
These Russian doctors tested thousands of patients and discovered the following results.
Severely sick, hospitalized, and terminally ill patients have from 1 to 10 s CP. With approaching death, their breathing gets bigger, deeper, and heavier, while breath holding time approaches zero: 5, 4, 3, 2, and only 1 second just before the death.
Sick patients with mild forms of the disease (asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) have about 10-20 s CP. These patients are usually on medication to control their symptoms.
Asymptomatic asthmatics, heart patients and many others have slightly more than 20 s CP.
Healthy adults, according to published western results, should have about 40 s CP, but Doctor Buteyko found that 60 s CP is incompatible with about 150 chronic diseases or diseases of civilization. Hence, he established 60 s CP as a standard of ideal health. Doctor Buteyko followed the idea "Doctor, cure yourself" in relation to doctors that he trained. Thus, 60 s CP became the main requirement for a doctor to teach the Buteyko breathing method to Russian patients.
Their most surprising result is that healthy people breathe little (only 4-6 liters of air per minute), while sick patients breathe about 2-4 times more air than the medical norm. Indeed, there are hundreds of Western studies that found totally the same effect: patients with various health problems have deep and frequent breathing pattern at rest and ...low body oxygenation. Hence, restoration of health, according to Doctor Buteyko and his system, should be based on slowing down one's breath, the same as in hatha yoga. Light, slow, and easy breathing results in better oxygenation.
These ideas may sound counter-intuitive. However, you can apply your observation skills. Watch breathing of your very healthy friends and relatives and you will find out that their breathing is invisible and inaudible. Observe how sick people breathe and you will notice that their breathing is noisy and large. Hence, breathing less should be the goal for the sick.
Doctor Buteyko and some of his colleagues achieved up to 3 min CP using variety of tools and activities (e.g., special physical and breathing exercises, taking cold shower, raw diets, and sleeping on the hard surface). Their maximum breath holding time then would be about 15 minutes! This is, they found, possible for anyone who can change one's own breathing pattern to very shallow and light one, with only 3-4 breaths per minute at rest. Such people require only about 2 hours for sleep and have amazing clarity of mind.
Buteyko generalized this information (link between health state and the breath holding time), together with other parameters (heart rate, CO2 in the alveoli, breathing frequency, etc.) in Buteyko Table of Health Zones. He applies this table to a wide variety of conditions (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, and many others). Dr. Buteyko considered this table as an important discovery since he applied for a patent. His patent application (METHOD OF ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN HEALTH) Application No. 99114075/14, can be found online in English.
Numerous western Buteyko practitioners also publicize the Buteyko method on internet and teach its elements (mostly in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and some other countries). Oxygen remedy is now the most progressive technique that combines advantages of the Buteyko breathing technique and Frolov breathing device.
Oxygen Remedy Webinars Content : Outline of 5 lessons
Oxygen Remedy : Review of the technique
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By Artour Rakhimov PhD
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