- Updated on August 13, 2020
Proofread and Grammarly-Daan-okt-2019
Proofread by Samson Hui Proofreader on July **, 2019
Edited by J diFeliciantonio
Learning the Buteyko method by modules
The Buteyko breathing method has many applications, and here’s another one.
In a recent study conducted at the Department of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Bioengineering at University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, several American PhD psychologists wrote the following:
“Respiratory dysregulation is characteristic of anxiety…Patients with panic disorder, for example, typically exhibit chronic hyperventilation (41), breath-to-breath respiratory instability and frequent sighing (42, 43), even during panic-free periods (44). Sustained hyperventilation causes large reductions in global CBF [Cranial Blood Flow], but even a single sigh can produce a 1–3 mmHg decrease in PCO2, enough to decrease CBF.” (Giardino et al, 2007, my italics)
Indeed, with one sigh, we can exhale up to 2 liters of air. When this happens, it can take 3 to 5 minutes for blood gases to return to normal levels, even if the person breathes normally after the sigh. In other words, chronic sighing (indicative of mood disorders) is equivalent to chronic hyperventilation, which reduces blood oxygen delivery to tissues in the body, such as the brain.
Knowing this, it makes sense to ask: How can we stop ourselves from (too frequent) sighing?
Stop and prevent sneezing, sighing, yawning, hiccups, deep inhalations, sniffing, and other deep breathing activities
When you get a desire to sigh, yawn, or sneeze, simply do the opposite: Breathe less for about 1 to 2 minutes, or practice shallow or reduced breathing. Making this a habit will constantly remind you about how important breathing is in achieving better health. Instead of breathing deep, use the Buteyko Emergency Procedure to maintain a healthy body oxygenation level.
Coughing for many minutes is also detrimental to health, not to mention annoying. It not only washes out CO2 from the body and reduces tissue oxygenation; it resets the brain’s breathing center to a state of chronic hyperventilation. Moreover, during normal breathing at rest, air travels through nasal cavities at a speed of approximately 8 km/hour. When we cough, the air rushes out at 120-160 km/h due to creation of a large pressure gradient. Such a disturbance can easily rupture alveoli, the tiny, fragile air sacs in our lungs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the bloodstream.
But how do I prevent bouts of coughing?
First, cough only through the nose. This may feel strange at first, but the fact is, you can reduce the duration of coughing bouts about two times if you keep the mouth closed.
Next, you can try learning how to cough with both the mouth and nose closed. If you achieve this, coughing fits will practically disappear.
Finally, if you are feeling minor symptoms, like itching in the throat, use the natural, fast-acting Buteyko Emergency Procedure. This will help you remove mucus and phlegm from airways much faster. You can cough out any secretions in tissue paper or a towel, once you feel they are ready to come out of your throat.
Giardino ND, Friedman SD, Dager SR, “Anxiety, Respiration and Cerebral Blood Flow: Implications for Functional Brain Imaging,” Compr Psychiatry. 2007; 48(2): p. 103–112.
Spanish version of this page: Deja de toser, estornudar, suspirar, bostezar, el hipo.