All doctors should know that chronically and even seriously ill people with dangerous acute infections benefit immediately from controlling the quantity of air going into and out of their lungs. With the Frolov, in the space of 20 minutes once or twice a day, one can begin to get control of several important medical parameters, the most important of which is oxygen delivery to cells and tissues.
“Medical textbooks suggest that the normal respiratory rate for adults is only 12 breaths per minute at rest. Older textbooks often provide even smaller values (e.g., 8-10 breaths per minute). Respiratory rates in the sick are usually higher, generally about 20 breaths/min or more,” writes Artour Rakhimov.
When we practice breathing retraining it is almost like standing on a chariot with four wild horses. We pull back on the reins—limiting the air flow, slowing everything down—we increase electron flow, raising cellular voltage, pH, and oxygenation as well as carbon dioxide levels.
Medical studies have proven that the more we breathe, the less oxygen is provided for the vital organs of the body. Does that sound upside down to you? Ideal breathing corresponds to slow, light, and easy abdominal breathing (also called diaphragmatic or belly breathing), something that needs to be relearned in most adults. Diaphragmatic breathing allows one to take normal breaths while maximizing the amount of oxygen that goes into the bloodstream.
“Deep breathing” exercises and techniques, to anyone who knows something about breathing, does not suggest in any way that one should actually over breathe. Deep breathing is just another way of saying belly breathing as opposed to shallow superficial chest breathing. Deep breathing should be very slow so that one accumulates more CO2 in the blood. Deep breathing means breathing less air not more. Some people actually think it is wrong to call therapeutic breathing ‘deep breathing’. If you breathe less and accumulate CO2, the correct name is ‘reduced breathing,’” writes Rakhimov.
When we breathe less—using a breathing device—we directly influence the involuntary (sympathetic nervous system) that regulates blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion and many other bodily functions. Breath is life so we can expect to feel more alive, vibrant and healthy if we bring our awareness to our breath and retrain the way we breathe.
When we breathe perfectly we can live more perfectly in health because our breath is the most important source of energy. Hippocrates said, “Air is a pasture of life and a greatest ruler of all.” I suppose he knew what ancient oriental philosophers knew—that in the air is “an ocean of energy” ready to be directly tapped into.
We breathe all day, every day, so we might as well do it right. Since a breath is the first and last physical activity we undertake in life, we should give it the consideration and importance it deserves in our pursuit of health and relaxation. We can live a long time without food and a couple of days without drinking, but life without breath is measured in minutes. Unfortunately, it seems that unless one participates in or teaches yoga, breathing does not get the attention it deserves.
The American Academy of Cardiology says, “Stress can cause shortness of breath or make it worse. Once you start feeling short of breath, it is common to get nervous or anxious. This can make your shortness of breath even worse. Being anxious tightens the muscles that help you breathe, and this makes you start to breathe faster. As you get more anxious, your breathing muscles get tired. This causes even more shortness of breath and more anxiety. At this point, you may panic.”
Learning to avoid or control stress can help you avoid
this cycle. You can learn tips to help you relax and learn
breathing techniques to get more air into your lungs.
American Academy of Cardiology
Even Readers Digest got into writing about breathing saying, “What could be more basic than breathing? Inhale, exhale, repeat… right? Not exactly. While western science and medicine focus on breathing as a bodily function integral to survival, eastern health sciences approach it as nourishment for both body and spirit. The Chinese believe that mindful breathing, or “breath work,” has numerous benefits, including improved focus and efficiency, increased positivity, and greater physical and mental energy.”
“The body can store many of the things it needs to function such as vitamins and food in the form of fat. Oxygen is one item that cannot be stored in sufficient quantities for more than a few minutes. At rest, the blood holds about a quart of dissolved oxygen, but it is continually being used by the cells to produce energy. The lungs need to be constantly working to furnish a sufficient supply for various activities.”
Your breathing or respiratory rate is defined as the number of breaths a person takes during a one-minute period while at rest. Recent studies suggest that an accurate recording of respiratory rate is very important in predicting serious medical events. Since many factors can affect the results, understanding how to take an accurate measurement is important. While watching a clock, count the number of times you breathe in two minutes. Make three trials, and find the average. Divide by two to find the average number of breaths per minute.
The rate should be measured at rest, not after someone has been up and walking about. Being aware that your breaths are being counted can make the results inaccurate, as people often alter the way they breathe if they know it is being monitored. Nurses are skilled at overcoming this problem by discretely counting respiration, watching the number of times your chest rises and falls — often while pretending to take your pulse.
Lung expert Dr. Lynne Eldridge says that, “In general, children have faster respiratory rates than adults, and women breathe more often than men. The normal ranges for different age groups are listed below:
Newborn: 30-60 breaths per minute
Infant (1 to 12 months): 30-60 breaths per minute
Toddler (1-2 years): 24-40 breaths per minute
Preschooler (3-5 years): 22-34 breaths per minute
School-age child (6-12 years): 18-30 breaths per minute
Adolescent (13-17 years): 12-16 breaths per minute
Adult: 12-18 breaths per minute (Fast breathing is the ‘new’ normal)
Dr. Sheldon Saul Hendler writes, “Breathing is unquestionably the single most important thing you do in your life. And breathing right is the single most important thing you can do to improve your life.” So what is the actual difference to our lives and health when we breathe less? You will be astounded by the information that Michael White has put together. 85,000 people filled out his questionnaire on his site yielding the following vital information:
You should stare at this chart for a while and really let its information sink in. You can clearly see that slow breathers have health and fast breathers are just having the toughest time with their bodies and life. Fast breathers suffer from much higher levels of anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders and high blood pressure than slow breathers.
Dr. Fred Muench, says, “Once you go below 10 breaths a minute you start to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body relax when it has been injured. Slow breathing activates the vagus nerve, the primary cranial nerve, which is associated with a recuperative state." Perhaps more important, slow breathing tends to increase heart-rate variability, a measurement of the fluctuation in heartbeat during an activity. "If your heart rate fluctuates 60 to 80 beats per minute, cardiac-wise that's healthier than someone whose heart rate varies between only 70 and 75 beats per minute," says Muench. "It means your system is not so rigid. Someone like Lance Armstrong has a massive swing in heart-rate variability, whereas an unhealthy or older person has a much smaller one. The way to increase variability is to breathe slowly."
A person who is breathing at four breaths a minute will only breathe about 5,760 times a day. At the “normal” breathing rate of eight breaths a minute that count doubles to 11,520 breaths a day. At 16, which is still slow for many ill people that rate reaches to 23,000 breaths a day. At 25 breaths a minute, we are clipping along at 36,000 breaths a day, which is a far cry above a normal rate.
Dr. Buteyko found that virtually all sick people (asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) have accelerated respiratory patterns. During rapid breathing carbon dioxide becomes deficient, oxygen delivery to the cells is reduced, breath-holding time is reduced, and the natural automatic pause is absent in each breath.
When you take a truly deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm, and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. This is not only wonderful for reducing tension, but research has shown that it may also help with diseases that inhibit breathing, like emphysema.
Diaphragmatic breathing effectively calms us down. It also makes sure that you take in lots of oxygen. If you are not sure you are breathing deeply enough try lying down and putting a magazine on your stomach. Make sure you expel all your air, exhaling completely, and then slowly raise the magazine as you inhale. Inhale for five nice, long counts. Exhale the same way, counting until the magazine goes down. You can also use your hand instead of a magazine.
Breathing retraining has a lot to offer anxious hyper-tense patients. Anxious people are experiencing sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system) over-arousal. Slow breathing reduces sympathetic nervous system over-arousal and increases parasympathetic nervous system activity – the relax, recuperate, regenerate system –which calms people down.
According to yoga, energy flows more freely through the heart when we breathe into it and focus our attention on that area – energy flows where attention goes. Breathing is directly linked to and directly affects the heart. The regular practice of diaphragmatic breathing significantly improves heart rate variability and coherence. All dynamics of the heart are improved when we breathe correctly. The more a person improves their heart rate variability (HRV) the healthier they become. This is good for ischemic heart patients who have diabetes. Heart rate variability is indispensable in distinguishing healthy subjects from patients with cardiovascular disease.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is an indicator of the cardiac autonomic control. Yogic, or what is known as belly breathing (deep abdominal breathing vs. shallow rib cage breathing), modifies the autonomic status by increasing sympathetic activity (reduced vagal activity). Its uncanny how accurately low HRV scores and trends align with illness.
Ancient yoga breathing techniques not only regulate the heart but also stimulate and increase vital energy, strengthen internal organs and thus regenerate and rejuvenate the body. Through breathing consciously, we can achieve the optimal functioning of the endocrine, nervous, digestive and other bodily systems, and gain mental and physical stability.
When your exhale is even a few counts longer than your inhale, the vagus nerve sends a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system and turn down your sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic system commands our fight or flight response, and when it is stimulated it increases heart rate and breathing, and also increases stress hormones like cortisol. The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, controls your rest-relax-and-digest response. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax, and your body is put into a state of calm and healing.
Mantak Chia wrote, “For thousands of years Taoist masters have taught natural breathing. We are able to improve the functioning and efficiency of our heart, lungs, and other internal organs and systems. We are able to help balance our emotions. We are able to transform our stress and negativity into the energy that we can use for self-healing and self-development. And we are better able to extract and absorb the energy we need for spiritual growth and independence.” Breathing correctly is important for living longer and it helps us to maintain positive emotions as well as helping keep our performance at its best in everyday activity.
We all breathe, all day, every day, so we might as well do it right. Since a breath is the very first and last physical activity we undertake in life, we should give it the consideration and importance it deserves in our pursuit of health and relaxation. We can live a long time without food and a couple of days without drinking, but life without breath is measured in minutes. It seems that unless one participates in yoga, breathing does not get the attention it deserves.
As soon as we pay attention to our breathing, it immediately changes, and that is the whole point. Breathing retraining entails bringing our awareness to our breath and to treat with respect something that is so important to maintaining our lives.
Crystal Tatum says, “Breathe. Just breathe. It’s so simple; it can’t possibly help, can it? What do you mean just breathe? Of course I’m breathing! What a dumb thing to say. I have the good fortune of being friends with a lot of highly-evolved folks who know a thing or two about helping the not-so-highly evolved such as myself. But when one of those friends said to me one day, “Don’t forget to breathe,” I couldn’t help but cock an eyebrow and give her a “What the heck are you talking about?” look. She told me I was holding my breath. I thought she was nuts, but the next time I found myself angst-ridden, I took notice of my body and realized she was right. Since then, I’ve noticed that I tend to do that when I’m highly stressed or anxious. I clench my jaw and hold my breath, taking only the shallowest inhalations when necessary. This response only heightens my stress and keeps me on edge. I’ve learned a few breathing techniques since then that really do ease my tension.”
Dennis Lewis, the author of the Tao of Breathing wrote, “In 1990 I found myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, with a constant, sharp pain on the right side of my rib cage. When Gilles Marin first put his hands into my belly and began to massage my inner organs and tissues, and when he began to ask me to breathe into parts of myself that I had never experienced through my breath, I had no idea of the incredible journey of discovery that I was beginning. Though the physical pain disappeared after several sessions, and though I began to feel more alive, a deeper, psychic pain began to emerge—the pain of recognizing that in spite of all my efforts over many years toward self-knowledge and self-transformation, I had managed to open myself to only a small portion of the vast scale of the physical, emotional, and spiritual energies available to us at every moment. As Gilles continued working on me, and as my breath began to penetrate deeper into myself, I began to sense layer after layer of tension, anger, fear, and sadness resonating in my abdomen below the level of my so-called waking consciousness, and consuming the energies I needed not only for health, but also for a real engagement with life. And this deepening sensation at the very center of my being, painful as it was, brought with it an opening, not only in the tissues of my belly, but also in my most intimate attitudes toward myself, a welcoming of hitherto unconscious fragments of myself into a new sense of discovery.”
 Arq Bras Cardiol. 2009 Jun;92(6):423-9, 440-7, 457-63. Effect of diaphragmatic breathing on heart rate variability in ischemic heart disease with diabetes.