- Updated on July 31, 2019
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
(for Breathing Normalization Group)
Medical professionals have failed to understand and explain to the general public and cancer patients that overbreathing (or hyperventilation) reduces one’s body oxygen level due to 3 fundamental laws of respiratory physiology:
1. When we hyperventilate (breathe more than the medical norm), we cannot improve oxygen content in the hemoglobin of the arterial blood (red blood cells are about 98% saturated with oxygen during tiny normal breathing).
2. Overbreathing reduces the CO2 concentration in the arterial blood causing a constriction of arteries and arterioles since CO2 is a powerful vasodilator. Hence, hyperventilation results in reduced perfusion and oxygen supply (confirmed by tens of published medical studies) for the liver, brain, heart, kidneys, stomach, colon, and other vital organs.
3. The reduced CO2 value in the tissues produces a shift in the O2 dissociation curve to the left. This leads to the so-called shallow or suppressed Bohr effect (a reduced O2 release by red blood cells in the capillaries).
Therefore, the more a cancer patient breathes beyond the norm, the less oxygen is provided for the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, and other vital organs. Reduced cellular oxygenation leads to anaerobic mitochondrial metabolism, elevated lactic acid values, the formation of free radicals, and cell acidosis or a lowered pH in cells. On the contrary, CO2 is a chemical that is needed for tumor treatment, as numerous studies on carbogen use in cancer indications.
Cancer patients, as it has been shown by numerous published studies, breathe more frequently than the norm. Typical breathing frequencies in advanced cancer patients are about 26-30, in some studies more than 40 breaths per minute. (This parameter cannot be measured by the cancer patient herself, due to changes in the breathing pattern, but can be easily defined by others when she is at rest or during non-REM sleep. The official norm is 10-12 breaths per minute at rest.)
Since the growth of tumors depends on one’s body oxygen level, chronic hyperventilation promotes the growth of malignant cells and metastasis. These processes are manifested in a lower CP (DIY body oxygen test) in cancer patients. Therefore, breathing normalization and the correction of risk lifestyle factors must be a central part of any successful anti-cancer program or cancer cure.
Breathing exercises require focus, mindfulness, and concentration on own breathing. Therefore, reduced breathing exercises have elements of meditation, while practicing meditation techniques naturally slows down and reduces minute ventilation increasing blood CO2 levels and improving oxygen transport to all vital organs and tissues of the human body.
Let us consider how breathing normalization influences survival and other parameters of cancer patients in this clinical trial (“Study of application of the shallow breathing method in a combined treatment of breast cancer”, but in Russian).
Greatest success in all breast cancer clinical trials
The clinical trial was conducted by Sergey Paschenko, MD, a pupil of Dr. Konstantin Buteyko (the author of the Buteyko breathing method). The study was published by the Ukrainian National Journal of Oncology (Kiev, 2001, v. 3, No.1, p. 77-78, “Study of application of the shallow breathing method in a combined treatment of breast cancer”).
Clearly, it is not the name of the breathing technique, but the practical achievement of normal breathing parameters that should matter most for the well-being of the patient, body oxygenation, and cancer prevention.
In this study, Dr. S. Paschenko applied a modified breath-retraining technique based on the same principal idea: reduced breathing. Reduced breathing sessions are based on breathing slightly less than usual while having correct posture and an empty stomach. Instead of having large inhalations, the patient is suggested to have shorter inhalations using the diaphragm only and to continuously maintain a light, but comfortable desire to breathe more frequently (or an air hunger) coupled with the relaxation of the diaphragm for exhalations and all other parts and muscles of the human body. In this clinical trial, the total duration of shallow muscles of the human body. In this clinical trial, the total duration of shallow breathing exercises ranged from 60 minutes up to 2.5-4 hours per day for 3 years. Breathing sessions ranged from 20 to 30 min long, as it is also common for meditation techniques.
One hundred twenty patients with breast cancer (T1-2N1M0) participated in this study. (These letters and numbers relate to cancer parameters. For T1-2: the tumors are less than 5 cm or 2 inches in size; N1: cancer has spread to 1 to 3 axillary (underarm) lymph nodes, and/or tiny amounts of cancer are found in internal mammary lymph nodes (those near the breastbone) on sentinel lymph node biopsy; M0: no distant metastasis). All patients had a standard anti-cancer therapy that included the surgical removal of tumors. However, in addition to this therapy, the breathing retraining group (67 patients) practiced shallow breathing exercises. Their parameters were compared with the control group (the remaining 53 patients).
YouTube video: Cancer treatment with breathing.
Results and Discussion
From my view, as I also teach breathing retraining, the most amazing and excellent fact of this very successful clinical trial is that the breathing teacher and his students were persevering with breathing retraining for at least 3 years, indicating their courage and self-discipline. The breathing retraining group increased their exhaled CO2 content by almost double. If we assume that their metabolic rate (or CO2 production rate) remained the same, their minute ventilation (amount of air inhaled in one minute) was reduced about 2 times. Hence, as a result of breathing retraining, they started to breathe about 2 times less. Unfortunately, the author did not specify the details of his CO2 measurement method. Most likely, his CO2 values relate to CO2 concentrations during the last part of the exhalation (not the total CO2 content of all exhaled air). This assumption allows us to evaluate the CP changes before and during breathing retraining.
The CP (control pause or body oxygen level) is the breath holding time after usual exhalation and is discontinued at the first signs of stress or discomfort (without pushing yourself for larger numbers). Practical evidence, as well as physiological laws, indicate that the less one breathes, the higher his or her CP. Hence, it is logical that the Buteyko breathing method is based on activities and lifestyle factors that make breathing lighter, while the CP test is the main test to measure personal progress.
When people have normal breathing (the official medical norm corresponds to 6 breaths per min at rest for a 70-kg man), their CP is about 40 seconds. The normal CO2 content in the second half of the exhaled air is about 5-5.5%. Such breathing is invisible and inaudible. It is so tiny that normal breathers do not have the sensation of air movements and generally claim that they feel their own breathing. (People who practice breathing exercises sharpen their sensations and can feel air flow and miniscule breathing movements.)
For this study, the patients had significantly lower CO2 concentrations in the exhaled air, indicating the presence of chronic hyperventilation. The predicted initial CPs for both groups was between about 10 and 20 seconds. After 3 years of breathing retraining, the patients who practiced shallow breathing exercises breathed even less than the official medical norm and closer to the Buteyko’ breathing norm (or 4 l/min for minute ventilation, 8 breaths/min for breathing frequency, and 60 s for the CP).
When the health state of some patients dramatically worsened (metastasis), their exhaled CO2 content dropped about 2 times from their initial values. This indicates severe chronic hyperventilation and their CPs were down to 5-10 s only.
Due to technical difficulties, the author did not provide expired CO2 values during the last hours of sleep. However, numerous medical epidemiological studies have shown that exacerbations of chronic diseases, as well as the highest mortality rates for heart disease, asthma, COPD, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, and many other conditions, take place during early morning hours (from about 4 to 7 am), when breathing is heaviest and the CP is shortest due to the Morning Hyperventilation Effect. Practically, evening-to-morning CP drops in the sick can vary from 3 to about 15 s or up to about 2-3 times on average. Since cancer has some similarities to severe inflammatory diseases (large masses of abnormal cells), the intensification of breathing during night sleep and a large overnight CP drop are normal.
Conclusions. These general observations in relation to breathing rates, CO2 values, CP numbers and quality-of-life factors, mentioned by the author, are in agreement with the Buteyko Table of Health Zones. The three-year mortality rate for the breathing normalization group was 4.5% and for the control group 24.5%. Hence, breathing normalization decreased a 3-year mortality by more than 5 times. All patients who normalized their breathing survived.
Important practical note. Since the Frolov device produces even faster and better results than Buteyko breathing exercises, the smartest method to deal with low CO2, O2 and cancer is to use the Frolov device with Buteyko lifestyle factors.
My translation of this trial, as well as the link to the PDF file, of this trial “Study of application of the shallow breathing method in a combined treatment of breast cancer” can be found right below here as your bonus content.
English PDF translation: best cancer trial.
Study Of Application Of The Reduced Breathing Method In A Combined Treatment Of Breast Cancer
S. N. Paschenko, Zaporozhsky State Institute of Further Medical Education, Zaporozhie, Ukraine
Oncology (Kiev, Ukraine), 2001, v. 3, No.1, p. 77-78
The PDF file of this article (in Russian) is available from the Oncology Journal http://www.oncology.kiev.ua/pdf/9/9_53.pdf
One can also read the abstract of this study on the site of the Ukrainian goverment: http://dspace.nbuv.gov.ua/handle/123456789/33146
Translated by Artour Rakhimov (PhD)
Keywords: breast cancer, complex treatment, reduced breathing, carbon dioxide.
Abstract. It was established that the elimination of hyperventilation and hypocapnia in patients with breast cancer (T1-2N1M0) after the completion of the special treatment led to an increased three-year survival rate, better quality of life, including released fear of unfavorable outcomes of the treatment, improved working ability, easier social adaptation and relief of edema of upper extremities.
It is known that the oxygen partial pressure in malignant tumors is lower than in unaffected tissue or in benign tumors [1, 2]. It is also established that the decreased partial pressure of oxygen stimulates cell proliferation . The majority of researchers link tumor hypoxia to, first of all, the state of oxyhemoglobin in red blood cells. During the growth of malignant tumors, hyperventilation is developed, the partial pressure of blood carbon dioxide is lowered, and there is a shift of the curve of blood hemoglobin dissociation [4-6]. The degree of affinity of oxygen to hemoglobin decreases in accordance with tumor growth . Moreover, the outer respiration function is disturbed: many patients with cancer have an increased minute ventilation which results in, on the one hand, reduced oxygen utilization, and, on the other hand, the development of hypocapnia. The reduced difference between the maximum lung ventilation and the minute ventilation increases the risk of metastasis . It is also known that carbon dioxide improves tissue oxygenation, reduces lipid peroxide oxidation, and increases tissue tolerance to hypoxia . Elimination of deep breathing promotes the elimination of hypocapnia [10,11].
It has been previously established that normal breathing improves the quality of life in patients with malignant tumors and increases the efficiency of special anti-cancer treatment. To normalize one’s breathing, the yoga methods of treatment have been used and their application resulted in a positive clinical effect [12, 13]. One of the preventive methods to reduce the recurrence and metastasis of breast and lung cancer is autogenic training which promotes the relaxation of skeletal muscles and breathing normalization . Physical exercise is an important factor in normalizing the carbon dioxide concentration in lung alveoli in animals with experimentally induced tumors, and in patients with cancer. It can modulate the oxygenation of tumors and the parameters of metabolism and cellular immunity [15-17].
The goal of our study was to investigate the influence of reduced breathing on the elimination of hypocapnia and hyperventilation in patients with breast cancer and the influence of breath correction on the efficiency of special treatment.
Subjects and methods
We clinically observed and analyzed 120 breast cancer patients (T1-2N1M0) who were treated in the Department of Clinical Oncology (Zaporozhie, Ukraine) from 1996 to 1998. Seventeen patients were aged under 35, 85 patients were aged 36 to 55, and 18 patients were over 56 years old. The patients were surgically treated: Peity’s radical mastectomy – 72 patients (60%); Madden’s radical mastectomy – 20 (16.7%), radical resection of mammal gland with the removal of lymph nodes and the fatty tissue in the surrounding areas (shoulders, armpits, and shoulder blades) – 25 patients (20.8%), sectoral resection of the mammal gland – 3 patients (2.5%). The surgical treatment was complemented by standard radiation therapy, adjuvant polychemotherapy (from 3 to 6 sessions, usually CMF), and tamoxifen therapy. Fifteen patients (7.8%) had the course of neoadjuvant polychemotherapy (CMF) or hormone therapy. The control group was formed by 53 patients who were only subject to the special treatment, and the main group was formed by 67 patients who, after the completion of the special treatment, received training in the elimination of deep breathing [18-20]. The patients of the main group underwent 3 to 8 sessions of reduced breathing, 20 to 30 min each, daily. The carbon dioxide content in the alveoli was measured with a gas analyzer AUH-2 before and after the completion of the special treatment, as well as after 1, 2 and 3 years of observation. The comparison of quantitative results was made with the use of the Fisher-Student law.
Results and Discussion
The percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the expired air increased relatively slowly during the elimination of deep breathing and was dependent upon the age of the patients and the presence of additional pathologies. Before the treatment the amount of CO2 in the expired air in patients of the control group was 2.7+-0.2%, and in patients of the main group it was 3.1+-0.3% (p>0.05). After the special anti-cancer treatment of patients of both groups, we observed a slight reduction in CO2: 2.4+-0.2 and 2.5+-0.3% correspondently (p>0.05). After one year, the patients who practiced reduced breathing had a higher CO2 content in the expired air, up to 4.3+-0.5% (p<0.05); after two years, up to 5.1+0.5%; and after three years, up to 5.5+-0.6% (p<0.05 compared to the initial level). In the control group, this parameter remained unchanged during the entire period of observation and was 3.1+- 0.3%.
During the three year period of observation, the partial CO2 pressure in patients of the main group aged 50 and older did not exceed 5%. A particularly slow CO2 increase in the expired air was observed in patients who had additional pathologies, such as hypertension, stenocardia, and diabetes mellitus. During the spread of the tumor to distant tissues, CO2 content decreased to 1.5-2%.
The patients of the main group experienced improvements in their quality of life: disappearance of fear of unfavorable outcomes of the treatment, improved working ability, and easier social adaptation. Seven (13.2%) of the patients in the control group suffered from edema in their upper extremities. The same symptoms were present in 9 (13.4%) patients of the main group. However, unlike the control group, their edema disappeared with the elimination of deep breathing. As the CO2 concentration in the expired air increased from to 4.5-5%, we observed an increased resistance of the organism: reduced inflammatory and allergic processes in the upper respiratory airways, reduced blood pressure, less frequent chest pain, and improved working ability and physical endurance. The results of the special treatment were considerably improved. Thus, the three-year survival rate after surgeries was 95.5% in patients of the main group, and 75.5% in the control group (p<0.05).
1. The application of the special treatment methods in cancer patients, such as surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, does not significantly influence CO2 content in the expired air.
2. Additional application of the method of elimination of the deep breathing significantly increased CO2 content in the expired air during the whole period of observation (3 years). The achieved effect depended on additional health problems and the patients’ age.
3. The elimination of hyperventilation and hypocapnia in patients with breast cancer led to an increase in the three-year survival rate and a better quality of life of patients.
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(end of the article)
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