In this section we give you some practical elements of Buteyko method which allow you to evaluate your breathing pattern 'on the spot'. If you find that you meet criteria for the good health you do need to alter your breathing in any way. According to Dr. Buteyko "..if your breathing is within physiological norms you must not change it. Only if you have problems you have to work on it." Alternatively, if your breathing pattern does not meet Buteyko,s criteria AND you have breathing difficulties, you may like to try some practical hints we give in this section. We are certain that you will only benefit from it.
Check your breathing
Buteyko's criteria of normal breathing involves carbon dioxide which is constantly produced by our body as a result of its metabolic function. Breathing is considered to be normal when there is the proper balance between elimination of carbon dioxide and its production. If you breathe more than you need you are loosing carbon dioxide constantly and deplete its reserves in the body.
Doctor Buteyko suggested a simple way to measure carbon dioxide levels in the body using just a stop watch. He found that the level of carbon dioxide in our lungs correlates to our ability to hold breath after normal exhalation.
- Sit straight without crossing your legs and breathe comfortably and steady.
- After an exhalation pinch your nose (optional).
- Hold your breath and start stopwatch.
- When you feel a slight discomfort resume your breathing and note the time.
Interval of time in seconds, you have just measured is called "control pause". It reflects the tolerance of your body to carbon dioxide. If your breathing exceeds the metabolic requirements of your body resulting in chronic depleted carbon dioxide levels, you are 'used' to low levels of carbon dioxide and, as a result, have low tolerance to carbon dioxide and your control pause is shorter.
Healthy individuals with normal breathing pattern are generally able to hold their breath after exhalation for 40-60 seconds without any discomfort. From our experience, majority of contemporary people have control pause within 20-40s. Even if they have no current problems with their health, according to Buteyko they are likely to develop them in future. In this case, it would be wise to put some attention on the way they breathe and at least, to follow simple rules we give below in this section. Control pause at this range might also indicate that something is wrong with the lifestyle, for example it can be wrong diet resulting in being overweight, excessive consumption of alcohol etc. or just stressful environment. Individuals with control pause below 10s definitely have one or the other chronic problems with their health and have to seek an advice from Buteyko practitioner.
- Always keep your mouth closed for breathing.
- Even if you breathe through your nose, try to breathe less than you normally do.
- Never open your mouth and keep your breathing under control when you do sport.
- Control your breathing at any time, especially in the situation of a stress or anxiety.
- Follow healthy lifestyle and diet.
You may find that the following tips are either trivial or have nothing to do with your problem. However, if you have only minor problems with your breathing pattern, even these simple rules might help you to improve your condition or general level of your health. From our experience, quite a number of people, who adopted the concept of normal breathing following for example a public lecture on Buteyko method had immediate improvements in their health condition.
Unblock your noseIf your nose is blocked simply do the following:
- Exhale and pinch your nose.
- Wait until you feel that your nasal passages are getting unblocked.
- Resume GENTLE hasal breathing.
- Avoid increase in your breathing. Try bo breathe less.
- You might repeat the procedure 2-3 times.