You may be suffering from this easily correctable condition!
There is a condition that affects millions of people, yet most doctors have never even heard of it. Chronic Hyperventilation affects nearly all of us at one time or another, and can be responsible for many health problems, such as asthma, high blood pressure, anxiety, and pain.
Chronic Hyperventilation Syndromewas first described during the civil war, when it was observed that soldiers were suffering from a strange set of symptoms, which included severe fatigue, difficulty breathing, palpitations, sweating, tremors, chest pain, and occasionally fainting. It was later found that all of these symptoms could be produced by involuntary overbreathing , or breathing more than what the body requires.
We involuntarily overbreathe when we experience acute or chronic stress, which happens to most of us on a daily basis. This results in a biochemical imbalance which may be as much as (or more) severe than similar chemical imbalances, such as hypoglycemia. The chemistry of the imbalance is explained by the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, which shows the relationship between pH, carbon dioxide, and bicarbonate in the body. When we breathe out, we are exhaling carbon dioxide; the deeper and faster we exhale, the more carbon dioxide is released. If too much is released, the pH of our blood increases, and our bodies try to normalize this by adding extra bicarbonate to the bloodstream. This results in abnormal levels of BOTH carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, and leads to the many unpleasant symptoms seen in this syndrome.
Carbon dioxide relaxes muscles; overbreathing leads to decreased levels of carbon dioxide and muscle contraction and spasms. This explains many of the problems seen with chronic hyperventilation as well as related conditions, such as asthma. The tiny muscles in the walls of the lungs are unable to relax and this causes bronchospasm, one of the main components of asthma.
Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko formulated the Buteyko method (or the Buteyko Breathing Technique) in the 1960’s as a practice used for the treatment of asthma. This technique focuses on reduced breathing techniques, including nasal breathing, breath holding, and relaxation. Multiple clinical studies have been done showing either significant reductions in the need for medication or improvements in asthma control using the Buteyko method.
Breathing techniques used during meditation are thought to be the most important part of the meditation process. It is widely taught that the focus should be on “belly breathing” and on the exhaled breath. In addition, it is thought that holding your breath (“lingering”) just after exhalation improves the meditative experience. It has been shown that when breathing is done properly, it takes only three breaths to get into a meditative state.
Research suggests that meditation may help many medical conditions including allergies, anxiety disorders, asthma, binge eating, cancer, depression, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, sleep problems, substance abuse, and more.
The similarities between Buteyko and meditative breathing are striking, especially when considering the out-breath, or exhalation process. The idea when exhaling is to “linger” after all the air has been exhaled, until you simply MUST take another breath. This gives the lungs and the body time to complete the exchange process between oxygen, carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and other important metabolites that are directly affected by the process, such as calcium. In this way, the correct balance and pH can be maintained at all times, avoiding or correcting many of the above conditions.
Try This to Improve Your Breathing:
1. The first step is simply to inhale to your comfort level. Your objective is to inhale so slightly and gradually that you are barely aware you are inhaling at all. This should be done through the nose.
2. Then breathe out slowly and completely, much like a deep sigh. The air should flow out smoothly and with just a little force to it; this can be done through the nose or the mouth, although the Buteyko method recommends breathing only through the nose.
3. At the end of the exhalation, slightly hold or “sit with” your breath. This is not done with any force whatsoever. It is not so much that you are pushing the air out as letting it flow out naturally, with a “squeeze” at the very end of the breath. It is during this time that all the “toxins” that need to be exhaled are being released, so the longer, the better. I like to visualize squeezing the last few drops of juice from a lemon when I practice this.
4. When you begin to experience the urge to take the next breath, do so. Concentrate on the exhalation with each breath. It is ideal to repeat this as long as your time allows.
Practice your technique and use it consistently whenever you breathe, and it will soon become second nature to you. In addition, you will find that it helps you stay grounded and calm in stressful situations. Use it when driving in traffic, at work, at home, and whenever you remember throughout the day.
You will soon find that it is possible to Change Your Life in Three Breaths!
Do you overbreathe? Take this test to find out!
How many of these symptoms do you have on a regular basis?
3.Mental confusion or ‘racing thoughts’
7.Fear of crowds, stuffy places, artificial lights, elevators, trains, underground trains, etc.
8.Feel physically ill or anxious when faced by the above situations
9.Seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
11.Quick or easy tears
12.Sensation of floating (feeling ‘spaced out’, ‘unreal’ or ‘distant’)
13.Waking in morning feeling ‘drugged’, headachy, fatigued, or lethargic
14.Waking in the night choking, breathless, or panicky
15.Waking repeatedly soon after going to sleep
16.Vivid or frightening dreams
17.Blurred or double vision
18.Distortion of perspective (‘the room is tilting’)
19.Sensitivity to bright lights
21.Tinnitus (ringing/buzzing in ears) which varies from hour to hour
22.Sounds seem distant or unusually loud
23.Sensitivity to loud noises
24.Lack of coordination, bumping into things, clumsiness
26.Feeing like your head is ‘thick’ or in a hangover-like state for large part of many days
27.Headache during exercise
29.Numbness/tingling in extremities, limbs, lips, face, tongue
30.Unpleasant sensations in skin or just below surface of the skin
31.Cold, burning, aching, or ‘restless’ feeling in the thighs/buttocks/ feet or other parts of body
32.Emotional sweating; sweaty palms, feet or armpits
33.Easily blushing or going very pale
34.Cold hands/feet (when rest of body is warm)
36.Feeling of breathlessness or air hunger; feeling of restricted chest
37.You do exercises to improve your breathing
38.You do not feel that you breathe enough/breathe deeply enough
39.You sometimes stop breathing or have to remember to breathe
40.Frequent sighing or yawning
41.Cigarette smoke provokes other symptoms listed on this list
42.Singing voice becomes off-key, tuneless or husky
43.Speaking or singing loudly provokes symptoms listed on this list
44.Speaking voice goes husky or feels strained
45.Throat is dry, ’rough’, or sore
46.Asthma attacks now or in the past
47.Rapid, slow or irregular heartbeat
48.Blood pressure changes easily
49.Dull pain or ache in center of chest
50.Angina/coronary pain with negative medical evaluation
52.Weakness or fatigue
53.Sudden unreasonable exhaustion during exercise
54.Sudden loss of strength
55.Vigorous exercise improves symptoms
56.Muscles feel stiff or ‘in spasm’
57.Muscles ache (feeling ‘beaten up’ or as if you had been in a fight)
58.Tense jaw muscles (may cause headache)
61.Tightness around eyes/mouth
62.Globus (sensation of pressure or lump in throat or at root of neck)
63.Sensation of restricted throat
65.Excessive belching, swallowing air
66.Discomfort/tension/sinking feeling/distress just below tip of breast-bone
68.Urgent need to have bowel movement during attacks of other symptoms
69.Frequent need to pass urine
70.Discomfort at neck of bladder
72.Sex provoking prolonged exhaustion
73.Sex improving all symptoms for a few hours
•If you have experienced less than 15 of these symptoms, it is unlikely that you overbreathe.
•If you have experienced 15-20 of these symptoms, it is likely that you overbreathe.
•If you have experienced more than 20 of these symptoms, you may be a “chronic hyperventilator”.