Elite athlete, sports-person, personal trainer, fitness Enthusiast or Generally Health Conscious, you cannot afford to ignore the importance and POWER of optimal breathing technique.
Breathing advantage in sport:
It is at least as important to manage and monitor your breathing volume as it is your heartrate. Normal breathing volume during rest is 4 to 6 litres of air per minute. Breathing a volume which is in excess of normal causes a loss of the gas carbon dioxide. This in turn leads to a number of events including the following:
- The bond between the red blood cells and oxygen becomes more ‘sticky’ leading to reduced delivery of oxygen to tissues and organs
- Smooth muscle surrounding blood vessels and airways constrict, causing reduced blood circulation and increased breathlessness
- pH of the blood changes towards alkaline affecting our immune system and more
You may have tried breathing techniques and exercises before and they did nothing to help you. I did too, but this approach is very different. Many Elite Athletes and Olympians are now using this technique.
The Buteyko Breathing Exercises retrain and reset the body’s trigger mechanism which controls how you breathe, to Optimise your breathing and greatly Increase your Performance.
What does this means to you as sportsperson or athlete?
- The ability to absorb more oxygen
- Increased stamina & endurance
- Improved performance
- Higher threshold before breathlessness
- Faster recovery
- Improved muscle development
- Quicker recovery from injuries
Many hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Western World successfully applied The Buteyko Breathing Method to cure or relieve breathing related problems and symptoms including those listed above without the use of drugs, medicine or invasive procedures:
Many Elite Athletes are now also turning to this breathing method to gain a competitive edge.
An asthmatic child or adult breathes more air than a person without asthma. Typical traits of over-breathing include mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, audible breathing and noticeable breathing at rest.
This habit of over-breathing causes cooling and dehydration of the airways resulting in symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.
Teaching an asthmatic child or adult to bring their breathing volume towards normal, results in a reduction to their symptoms.
Links to Clinical Research and Trials: http://www.asthmacare.ie/asthmaclinicalstudies.shtml
Put simply, we are talking about Blocked or runny nose. Often caused by allergic reactions as in Hayfever and accompanied by post nasal drip, a very uncomfortable and potentially harmful condition where mucus runs back down the throat.
Investigating treatment of rhinitis using Buteyko method
Rhinitis is the leading cause of respiratory obstruction and a significant contributory factor to numerous cormobid disorders, including dentofacial and craniofacial alterations.
The most common treatment for rhinitis includes avoidance, decongestants, corticosteroids or allergy shots, and while these offer therapeutic benefit, they are effective only for as long as treatment continues.
A different perspective put forward by the late Russian Dr Konstantin Buteyko is based on the premise that breathing a volume of air in excess of metabolic requirements causes nasal congestion. Upon the first onset of nasal congestion, a feeling of air hunger occurs causing one to switch to mouth breathing. This in turn increases breathing volume, thus completing the vicious circle.
The Buteyko Method features a measurement appraisal known as the control pause, a breath hold exercise to unblock the nose and reduced breathing exercises to reset breathing volume towards normal.
The objective of a study undertaken by Dr Adelola et al. from the Department of Otolaryngology at Limerick University Hospital in Ireland was to investigate the effectiveness of the Buteyko technique on the nasal symptoms of patients with asthma.
26 volunteers with a diagnosis of asthma and chronic rhinitis, ranging in age from 23 – 60 years were recruited from the general population. Training took place weekly for three weeks by Buteyko practitioner; Patrick McKeown. Participants were followed for three months.
Each participant completed quality of life scores to rate their nasal symptoms at the beginning of training and three months post training. Validated evaluations consisted of the sinonasal outcome test (SNOT)5, nasal obstruction symptom evaluation (NOSE) and visual analogue scale.
The study showed a significant reduction of nasal symptoms in asthmatics across all three evaluations. For example, NOSE evaluation surveys nasal congestion or stuffiness, poor sense of smell, snoring, nasal blockage or obstruction, trouble breathing through the nose, trouble sleeping, having to breathe through the mouth, unable to get enough air through the nose during exercise or exertion and feeling panic that one cannot get enough air through the nose. This evaluation showed a 71% reduction of rhinitis symptoms in asthma at three month follow up.
|3 Month Mean
|Visual Analog Scale||66.65||18.25||72.60%|
Both conditions respond well to The Buteyko Breathing Method. Symptoms are permanently and drastically reduced, with correct training and when practices are incorporated into your daily life.
Allergic rhinitis (often known as hay fever) affects around 1 in 5 people in Australia and New Zealand. It can affect children and adults.
Despite the name, hay fever is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. It is caused by the nose and/or eyes coming into contact with environmental allergen(s), such as pollens, dust mite, moulds and animal hair. The person may then experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Immediate signs or symptoms
- Runny nose
- Rubbing of the nose
- Itchy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
Obstructive signs or symptoms
- Congested nose
Whilst some of these symptoms may be similar to those caused by infection (e.g. colds and flu), allergy symptoms tend to persist unless treated appropriately.
Some patients with allergic rhinitis have asthma. Better control of allergic rhinitis has been shown to result in better asthma control in both adults and children.
Symptoms range from mild or moderate (i.e. does not affect day to day function) to severe (affects day to day function). Symptoms may occur in a particular season (usually due to allergies to grass, weed or tree pollens) or are persistent and present all year round (usually caused by allergies to house dust mites, moulds or animal hairs). Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is not caused by a food allergy.
Complications of allergic rhinitis may include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Daytime tiredness
- Poor concentration
- Recurrent ear infections in children
- Recurrent sinus infections in adults
- Asthma which is more difficult to control
“Exert from internet article from the Australian society of clinical immunology and allergy”
Breathing through the mouth during sleep is potentially very halmfull
Patients with complaints of snoring or sleep apnoea can easily breathe through the mouth during sleep, and that chronic nasal obstruction may induce obstructive sleep apnoea.
The next progression to snoring is sleep apnoea
To experience a good nights sleep with no snoring, it is essential to breathe quietly through the nose.
The Buteyko Breathing Technique is a physician developed breathing technique to change breathing volume towards normal. When breathing is calm and quiet, snoring and sleep apnoea stops without side effects or the need for invasive procedures.
Our promise is to show you how to stop snoring and experience a quieter, calmer and deeper sleep with improved day time energy levels, productivity and concentration.
If you listen to the breathing of an individual during snoring, you will notice that it is noisy, loud and heavy. In simple terms, snoring arises from breathing a large volume of air through a narrow space.
While normal healthy breathing volume as documented in any medical textbook is 6 litres of air per minute, persons with snoring and sleep apnoea can breathe as much as 15 litres of air per minute.(1)
Heavy breathing causes vibration of respiratory structures including the uvula and soft tissue at the back of the throat. As a large volume of air passes through the nose or mouth (or both) during sleep, the arising vibrations create noisy breathing and snoring.
Sleep apnoea is a progression of snoring. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnoea which occurs when the airways close to prevent the flow of air to and from the lungs. As the sleeper draws a breath into their lungs, the resultant negative pressure causes the walls of the airways to collapse and the breath to be held. To better understand this, imagine the upper airways as a paper straw. If one inhales a large volume of air through the straw, the inner walls collapse resulting in a stoppage to air flow.
Our stop snoring course is based on the work of the Late Russian Dr Konstantin Buteyko whose technique is specifically designed to unblock the nose, and correct breathing volume towards normal. The benefits from applying the Buteyko technique include a deeper and more rested sleep with improved energy throughout the day.
1) Radwan L, Maszczyk Z, Koziorowski A, Koziej M, Cieslicki J, Sliwinski P, Zielinski J . Control of breathing in obstructive sleep apnea and in patients with the overlap syndrome, Eur Respir J. 1995 Apr; 8(4): p.542-545.
Consider the effect that a habit of mouth breathing can have on dental health
Each year, parents spend thousands of dollars in an effort to straighten their children’s teeth, unaware of other contributing factors.
Approaching this issue with an open mind, we believe it is possible to ensure the normal development of a child’s face and teeth by correcting habits and by applying non-invasive techniques, specifically the Buteyko method.
A good looking face is determined by a strong, sturdy chin, developed jaws, high cheekbones, good lips, correct nose size and straight teeth. When a face develops correctly, it follows that the teeth will be straight. Straight teeth do not create a good looking face, but a good looking face will create straight teeth.
Do you wake up tired every morning, perhaps you wake with a dry mouth?
How you breathe during sleep influences how you sleep and consequently how rested and fresh you feel when you awake.
Breathing through the mouth and Chronic Hyperventilation, or breathing too much, have been linked to many sleep disorders, including chronic Fatigue.
By learning Buteyko Breathing exercises you can successfully retrain your breathing habits, reducing the volume of air to optimum levels. You will enjoy better sleep, wake refreshed, much more alert and find concentration improves as well.
Stress and the importance of Buteyko
Stress ensures survival of the species
Thousands of years ago, our main threat was from wild animals
When confronted, we had two options to deal with it. The first was that we fought the animal. The second was that we ran away from it as fast as we could. Our bodies were required to perform intense physical activity, however today stress comes in many different non-physical forms. The result is that we are running on the inside and sitting on the outside.
Stress, anxiety and anger causes over breathing
According to the famous physiologist Walter Cannon, stress activates the fight or flight response. Meeting deadlines, financial pressures, time urgency, marital issues, the pressure of rearing children and wanting to do well in our work, as well as many other factors, add to stress levels.
Stress ensures survival of the species
Stress is a natural reaction that we have developed throughout our evolution to ensure the survival of our species. Invariably, stress is our body undergoing chemical change in response to environmental conditions. Thousands of years ago, our main threat was from wild animals.
When confronted, we had two options to deal with it. The first was that we fought the animal. The second was that we ran away from it as fast as we could. As our bodies were required to perform intense physical activity, our physiology changed in the following ways:
- Our breathing volume increases;
- Our heart rate increases;
- Adrenaline is pumped into our system;
- Our pupils dilate;
- Blood is diverted from our internal organs to our arms and legs;
- Diarrhoea may occur (lightens our weight before flight);
- Our blood coagulates in case of injury.
However, today our society and environment have changed at a far greater pace than what our bodies can adjust to. We respond to the stresses of today with the same reaction as we had thousands of years ago. We are in a traffic jam rushing to get to a meeting. The fight or flight response is activated but there is no need for it.
Our heart rate increases, blood is diverted to our skeletal muscles, our breathing increases-we are primed for physical activity yet we are sitting still. The result is that we are running on the inside and sitting on the outside.
The heavy breathing arising from the fight or flight response results in a washing out of carbon dioxide from the lungs. This causes a narrowing of blood vessels, thus reducing blood flow to the brain. In addition, the release of oxygen from blood cells is less; the result of an inhibited Bohr Effect.
This in turn increases self-generated, and more random, thoughts. With uncontrolled thought activity, we feel unable to cope with our everyday activities, further increasing our stress. A vicious circle has commenced, with stress increasing our breathing and this in turn increasing our stress.
How to correct it
Only by bringing your breathing volume to normal levels can you deal with the physiological aspects of stress and anxiety.
Long-term stress is exhausting and is known to result in many illnesses. It increases breathing volume, causing carbon dioxide to be washed from the lungs.
Remember: The more you breathe in, the more your breathe out.
The more you breathe out, the more CO2 is washed from the lungs.
As CO2 is washed from the lungs, the partial pressure of CO2 is reduced in the blood, tissues and cells.
Prolonged over breathing resets the respiratory center in the brain to tolerate a lower partial pressure of CO2.
Therefore, even when the initial stress is removed, the heavy breathing habit is maintained as a result of chemoreceptors in the brain being reset.
An anxious person may attend many psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists in an effort to get to the root of his or her condition. However, unless chronic over breathing is addressed, he or she will be at a significant disadvantage in making progress.
Level and correct breathing volume allows normalisation of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide within the lungs, thus improving oxygenation of the brain and resulting in far less brain cell excitability.
How many of the following symptoms of hyperventilation do you have?
Neurological: light-headed feeling, poor concentration, memory lapses, faintness, headache, anxiety, tension, racing mind, numbness and tingling, tremor, depression, apprehension, irritability, brain fog, panic attacks, disrupted sleep, detachment from reality and stress.
Heart: palpitations, a racing heartbeat, pain in the chest region and a skipping or irregular heartbeat.
Respiratory system: wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, chest tightness, frequent yawning, snoring and sleep apnoea.
Gastrointestinal: Esophagal reflux, heartburn, aerophagia.
Other general symptoms include mouth dryness, fatigue, bad dreams, sleep disturbance, nightmares, dry itchy skin, sweating, cramping, spasm, increased urination such as bed wetting or regular visits to the bathroom during the night, diarrhea, constipation, general weakness and chronic exhaustion.