Chronic Hyperventilation

If you were told you overeat, you would understand what this means mean. You would know you just ate an amount of food greater than that which our body requires. Likewise, overbreathing means breathing a volume of air greater than that which we require. Most people don’t think they over breathe; because it is hidden. Here are some of characteristics typically noticed by overbreathing.

How many apply to you?

  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Hearing breathing during rest
  • Regular sighs
  • Regular sniffing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Holding of breath (apnea)
  • Taking large breaths prior to talking
  • Yawning with big breaths
  • Upper chest movement
  • Lot of visible movement
  • Strenuous breathing
  • Heavy breathing at night

Normal Breathing Volume: The number of breaths per minute during normal breathing is about 10 to 12. Each breath is approximately 500 ml. This provides a healthy volume of 5 to 6 liters of air per minute.

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Typical Breathing Volume

The number of breaths per minute of a typical person is about 15-20. Each breath tends to be larger than normal and can vary from 700ml to 1 litre. This provides a volume of 10 to 15 litres of air per minute. This heavy breathing does not just happen sometimes. It is chronic, every minute, every hour, every day. People with asthma, COPD and other respiratory complaints breathe two to three times more than required. There is a direct correlation between breathing volume and the severity of symptoms that arise. By correcting breathing volume, symptoms can reverse.

Modern living has resulted in a profound change to our breathing.  We live in a fast pace world with constant demands on our time, information overload with internet and cell phones, stressed out, not sleeping can’t unwind, no time on time.  Our  breathing patterns have changed with these stressers and our respiratory center has accepted these changes in hopes of holding our bodies in some kind of homeostasis.

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Just a Habit?

The good news is that overbreathing is a habit. The part of your brain that regulates the amount of air you breathe becomes accustomed to breathing too much. Hyperventilation becomes habitual, so even when the primary cause is removed, the behavior remains.

Why is Carbon Dioxide so important?  The CO2 is carried by your veins to your lungs, where the excess is exhaled. Breathing a correct volume results in the required amount of CO2 being retained in your lungs. When you overbreathe, too much CO2 is exhaled.

Carbon Dioxide is not just a waste gas. It is necessary for a number of vital bodily functions including  Transportation of Oxygen.  The release of Oxygen from hemoglobin is dependent on the quantity of Carbon Dioxide. If the Carbon Dioxide is not at the required level, the Oxygen “sticks” to hemoglobin and is not released to tissues and organs. The greater the amount of air taken into your body, the less Oxygen is delivered. In order to oxygenate the tissues and organs, modern man needs to breathe less not more.

“I was very skeptical about this course but after two classes, I noticed an improvement. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and already my energy levels had improved. But the turning point for me was the fourth day, taking a walk — no more huffing and puffing!”


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