Most of us are completely unaware of the way we breathe, and many of us unknowingly suffer from chronic hyperventilation and the host of problems it causes. Since breathing is not something that requires conscious effort in order to accomplish (it functions as part of our automated respiratory system), most of us usually never think about it. Our breath moves in and out constantly at its own pace, and we never give it a second thought. Interestingly, however, oxygen is absolutely vital to the optimum vitality of our cells, organs and the homeostasis and integrity of our bodies; in other words, it is obviously essential to the quality and continuation of our lives, and yet we often pay no attention to it. Practitioners of the Buteyko method for improving the way we breathe recommend giving it further thought.

Many people actually breathe more than they need to, and although this may seem like a good thing, it isn’t. When we inhale too much oxygen, it throws off the balance between oxygen and remaining carbon dioxide in our blood, resulting in a quicksand effect that produces an assortment of symptoms and pathologies in the body. When we exhale carbon dioxide, just enough remains in the blood to regulate the use of oxygen on the cellular level. But if we “over-breathe” often, or, in other words, suffer from chronic hyperventilation, the carbon dioxide is not able to effectively regulate the influx of oxygen in an efficient way, and we end up losing necessary oxygen in our cells.

Not only does chronic hyperventilation lead to the usual symptoms caused by not getting enough oxygen to our cells—such as lack of concentration or sleep, snoring, asthma and other disorders—it also causes the body to compensate. Chronic hyperventilation can prevent an excess of oxygen from reaching cells, and adenoids may become enlarged in the air pathways along with excess mucus, leading to even more health problems. One might simply stop breathing for several seconds or even minutes while asleep (a condition known as sleep apnea). A solution is to learn how to normalize breathing so that the right amount of carbon dioxide remains in the blood to regulate oxygen use in the cells, providing the right homeostasis for optimum health.

Buteyko practitioners teach students exercises on how to relax and breathe more slowly, which is a measure that helps to prevent chronic hyperventilation. The body can actually be trained to breathe more effectively, undoing possible medical problems, while improving both air passages and brain power as oxygen gets to places it might have had trouble reaching previously.

Chronic Hyperventilation – Asthma relief can be found by normalizing breathing. The Buteyko Center offers a free breathing test online and a free Buteyko Health Evaluation report with our recommendations. The test will help you determine whether you hyperventilate or not—and, if so, to what degree—and how that may be affecting the quality of your sleep, as well as recommendations for improvement.