The Basics Of Buteyko Breathing

by | Oct 14, 2015 | Healthcare

One of the first things that amazes most people when they first start hearing about the Buteyko breathing method is the way that it is basically opposite of everything they were ever taught about breathing in the past.

People have, over time, come to believe that it is important take in the biggest possible breath, drawing in the largest amount of oxygen, and expanding the lungs with each and every inhalation. Then, to add to the pattern, there needs to be a corresponding massive exhalation, preferably through the mouth, to get all the “bad air” out of the body.

The Gas Mix is Important

What this dysfunctional breathing actually does is create both a carbon dioxide and an oxygen deficiency in the body at the same time. The carbon dioxide deficit occurs because of these exaggerated exhalations. Low carbon dioxide levels in the body bind oxygen to the hemoglobin in the blood, and prevent it from being released to the cells that need it for energy.

Through Buteyko breathing it is possible to retrain your body to breathe in a healthy way, taking light, shallow breathes when you are engaged in light activities or when not active at all. When this is happening the correct oxygen and carbon dioxide ratio is maintained in the lungs and throughout the entire body.

The Pause that Counts

There is more to the Buteyko breathing method than just learning some radical new concept in breathing. It includes learning how to be comfortable in pausing between a breath, which is essential in bringing the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and body back into balance.

An example of these types of exercises is very simple and easy to do. Start by learning your control pause, or the time you feel comfortable after you exhale before you feel the need to inhale. For most people this will be less than 20 seconds before training, with the optimal goal to reach 60 seconds over time.

Then, when sitting and able to focus, simply take in a normal breath and hold it for an extra five to ten seconds, then quietly and in a controlled fashion exhale from the nose. All of the breathing exercises focus on breathing through the nose and on increasing the comfort of the body with pausing between breaths.

In addition, the Buteyko breathing method also encourages an awareness of the entire breathing process, and provides strategies to continue to build on exercises until you gain the ability to breathe in the best way possible for your body.

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