- Updated on October 29, 2020
Proofread by Samson Hui Proofreader on July **, 2019
Hyperventilation treatment has the following goals:
– To reverse chronic overbreathing (ineffective automatic breathing patterns)
– To increase CO2 levels in the alveoli of the lungs up to the medical norm
– To increase oxygen levels in all vital organs and other tissues.
In order to be successful, hyperventilation treatment should be based on 2 key factors: breathing exercises and lifestyle changes.
A traditional approach to overbreathing treatment is the “paper bag treatment”. While this approach is simple and somewhat effective, it is not recommended as it may lead to an excessive CO2 increase. As a result, mainstream medicine does not support its use anymore.
The YouTube video on the right side is called “Hyperventilation treatment: Hyperventilation Syndrome and Breathe-More Myth”. It explains why overbreathing reduces body O2 content.
How to treat overbreathing
Recommended breathing exercises which address the problem of hyperventilation include the Buteyko breathing exercises, the Frolov and the DIY breathing devices, hatha yoga alternate nostril breathing (Pranayama), Strelnikova paradoxical respiratory gymnastics, and pursed-lip breathing. Bear in mind that it is not easy to learn several of these exercise techniques, including the Buteyko breathing exercises, without an experienced Buteyko breathing teacher.
After teaching hundreds of students, I discovered that certain respiratory techniques are more effective and easier to learn in order to treat and cure hyperventilation. You can find my comparison of the three most common breathing techniques right below here, as your bonus content.
Breathing exercises with CO2-trapping breathing devices (e.g the Frolov or DIY breathing devices) are easier to learn and more effective for quick body oxygen increase. Students with 10-20 s CP often have 50-100% better results with devices rather than with the Buteyko reduced breathing exercises that are harder to learn and often require up to 25 s CP for successful practice.
Along with breathing exercises, it is very important to address lifestyle changes that result in chronic overbreathing. See the table of “Healthy lifestyle factors” below for a partial list of important factors.
About 200 Russian and Soviet Buteyko doctors have accumulated valuable clinical experience in hyperventilation treatment since they have treated more than 200,000 people. These medical professionals discovered that there are several practical details that are crucial for successful treatment of overbreathing:
1) Understanding that breathing less at rest delivers more oxygen to body cells
2) A constant commitment to breathing normalization since the purpose of training is to change one’s automatic (or basal) breathing pattern
3) Daily measurement of the progress: either using devices (e.g., capnometers, plastic bag to measure minute ventilation – supplied with the Samozdrav breathing device) or the body-oxygen test
4) Understanding that even short episodes of hyperventilation (e.g., heavy breathing for 1-2 hours during sleep, overeating, or stress) produce serious enough damage to reverse all progress achieved during the remaining part of the day (see links related to oxidative stress caused by hypocapnia – low CO2).