One of the common reactions to breathing problems is to breathe more deeply. We see this in the movies and on television when people are suffering some shock, grief, or catastrophe; inevitably someone is there to tell the person to take deep breaths. But in reality it really isn’t helpful to breathe deeper. The action does not carry more oxygen to the cells and tissues that may need it.
The Bohr Effect shows that the hemoglobin that carries oxygen through the blood must be supported by a certain amount of pressure that is exerted by carbon dioxide. The transport of oxygen to tissues and organs is therefore dependent upon the presence of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, which means that simply breathing deeper may in fact prevent oxygen from reaching its desired objective.
If an excess amount of carbon dioxide is exhaled due to an increase of oxygen, when someone with breathing problems is breathing more deeply or faster than usual, blood tends to become more alkaline which makes the hemoglobin more sticky. This causes the hemoglobin to retain oxygen instead of releasing it to the tissues that need it. The effect quickly spirals since the tissues need oxygen to produce carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide to deliver oxygen. In short, breathing too much in an effort to get more oxygen actually deprives our bodies of the oxygen it needs.
This can be a true dilemma for someone who has breathing problems and thinks they are not getting enough oxygen. They may be breathing very deeply and getting three or four times as much oxygen as they need, but because it isn’t being used properly still feel they need more, and continue to inhale even more deeply, exacerbating the problem. People who suffer from asthma, emphysema, allergies, sleep apnea, and other breathing problems often feel like they cannot breathe enough, when the problem may be that they are actually breathing too much.
Hyperventilation doesn’t just happen in extreme situations, but according to some research, people over-breath all the time without realizing it. This is evident in people who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma, who often take in far more oxygen than they need, sometimes three times as much, which means the oxygen that they are seeking is not being properly processed by the tissues that need it.
According to some experts, people who suffer from breathing problems may benefit by normalizing their breathing, or learning to breathe in a way that contributes optimally to the whole health of the body.
Breathing Problems – Breathing Center, a holistic health improvement center, is the official representation of Clinica Buteyko Moscow, a group that instructs people on the Breathing Normalization method in order to reach optimal levels of personal health. Breathing Center offers various programs online and in person where people learn how to improve their health by reducing or eliminating excessive breathing. This method is based on the ground-breaking findings of K. P. Buteyko, M.D. who discovered that breathing reduction leads to significant improvement in the functioning of immune, nervous, digestive, respiratory and other bodily systems. Visit Breathing Center online at www.breathingcenter.com or call 1-800-520-3450 for a free consultation.
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