What is breathing?
Healthy breathing is an involuntary action which gets adjusted automatically by the body to maintain a normal gas exchange. The coordination of ventilation occurs in our ‘breathing control centre’ (medulla and pons of the brainstem) sending a constant supply of information to make fine adjustments to maintain adequate ventilation.
You don’t have to think about breathing in and out, it just happens. Normal breathing is rhythmic and effortless. The resting ventilation rate in adults is between 8 and 12 breaths per minute.
There are a number of conditions where breathing is compromised and a change in breathing rate, volume and rhythm can be seen. E.g. asthma, sleep disordered breathing conditions or anxiety / panic attacks.
Breathing rate – if you count the breaths per minute (breathing in and out = 1 breath) you want to be in the healthy norm of 8-12 breaths/min. If you do the test keep in mind that your breathing might change and slow down as you concentrate on your breath counting. This will alter the result and might not represent your breathing rate in daily life. Asthmatics for example show high breathing rates due to over-breathing which can be as high as breathing for 2-3 people.
Breathing volume at rest – medical books provide us with a value of 500 ml/breath for a healthy adult. If your volume is elevated this can lead to symptoms in the long run.
Breathing rhythm – healthy breathing is even and regular. The breaths come and goes like the waves in the water on a calm day. There is no interruption, no gasping, yawning, sighing or throat clearing.
Do you have healthy breathing?
Learning the Buteyko breathing technique will provide you with a drug free tool to adjust your breathing rate, volume and rhythm. Our breathing should be calm and quite during daily activities and during the night.