The Buteyko control Pause breathing test

Dr. Buteyko developed a test to measure depth of breathing and consequent retention of carbon dioxide, resultant oxygenation and health. He named it the ‘Control Pause‘ breathing test. Get yourself a clock or stop-watch & try for yourself:

  1. Sitting down, close your mouth and breathe normally through the nose for  30 seconds
  2. Take a normal breath in through your nose
  3. Allow a normal breath out through your nose
  4. Gently close your nose with thumb & forefinger and start to count the seconds on the clock
  5. When you first feel the need to breathe, release the nose and take a breath through the nose
  6. Remember to keep your mouth closed throughout

The number of seconds that elapsed is your Control Pause. Less than 10 seconds, and you have health problems. Less than 25, your health needs attention. 30-40 seconds is satisfactory, while 60+ seconds is excellent.

Here are some more  tests based on breathing out, then timing (thanks to conscious breathing.com for the summary)


Exercise 2 – hold your breath while sitting

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  • Step 1 Sit down in an upright position and relax for a couple of minutes. Take a small breath in and a small breath out, in a calm way through your nose (approx. 2-3 seconds on inhalation and approx. 2-3 seconds on exhalation.)
  • Step 2 Pinch your nose after the exhalation is finished and hold your breath and start the timer.
  • Step 3 When you feel the first urge to breathe, let go of your nose, stop the timer and breathe in and out calmly through your nose, in the same way as in step 1.

If you are breathing forcefully in step 3 you have held your breath for too long, which is quite common in today’s society where a lot of focus is placed on performing. When you feel the urge to breathe in step 3, you may experience swallow reflexes or feel that your diaphragm is pushed down involuntarily. When this occurs it is time to stop the timer and note the number of seconds. results below


Exercise 3 – hold your breath while walking

 

    • Step 1 Sit down in an upright position, with your back straight, and relax for a few minutes.
    • Step 2 Stand up and take a small breath in and a small breath out in a calm way through your nose (approx. 2-3 seconds on inhalation and approx. 2-3 seconds on exhalation).
    • Step 3 Pinch your nose after the exhalation is finished and hold your breath and start walking while counting the number of steps you take.
    • Step 4 When you are not able to hold your breath any longer, let go of your nose, inhale and exhale calmly through your nose and note how many steps you took. Try to wind down by breathing calmly as soon as possible.

 

Health status Hold breath sitting Hold breath walking
No symptoms, optimum health 60 seconds 120+ steps
Very good health, most symptoms are completely gone 40 seconds 80-100 steps
Good health, symptoms present when exposed to a trigger 30 seconds 60-80 steps
Symptoms are often present 20 seconds 40-60 steps
Many different symptoms always present 10 seconds 20-40 steps
Medications, diseases, very heavy breathing 3-5 seconds 10-20 steps
Dead 0 seconds 0 steps

I chat  more about breathing and CO2 here

Breath holding C02 and stuff

The problem , or joy, of fitness is that it often can, or should, take you back to those basic physics, chemistry and biology lessons you had at school.

When discussing aerobic and anaerobic fitness, these days, you’ll quickly come across the bohr effect, whether or not  you actually remember it. And you should.

The Bohr effect, according to wikipedia

increases the efficiency of oxygen transportation through the blood. After hemoglobin binds to oxygen in the lungs due to the high oxygen concentrations, the Bohr effect facilitates its release in the tissues, particularly those tissues in most need of oxygen. When a tissue’s metabolic rate increases, so does its carbon dioxide waste production. When released into the bloodstream, carbon dioxide forms bicarbonate and protons through the following reaction:

{\displaystyle {\ce {CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3^-}}}{\displaystyle {\ce {CO2 + H2O <=> H2CO3 <=> H+ + HCO3^-}}}

Although this reaction usually proceeds very slowly, the enzyme carbonic anhydrase (which is present in red blood cells) drastically speeds up the conversion to bicarbonate and protons.[2] This causes the pH of the blood to decrease, which promotes the dissociation of oxygen from haemoglobin, and allows the surrounding tissues to obtain enough oxygen to meet their demands. In areas where oxygen concentration is high, such as the lungs, binding of oxygen causes haemoglobin to release protons, which recombine with bicarbonate to eliminate carbon dioxide during exhalation. These opposing protonation and deprotonation reactions occur at an equal rate, resulting in little overall change in blood pH.

The Bohr effect enables the body to adapt to changing conditions and makes it possible to supply extra oxygen to tissues that need it the most. For example, when muscles are undergoing strenuous activity, they require large amounts of oxygen to conduct cellular respiration, which generates CO2 (and therefore HCO3 and H+) as byproducts. These waste products lower the pH of the blood, which increases oxygen delivery to the active muscles. Carbon dioxide is not the only molecule that can trigger the Bohr effect. If muscle cells aren’t receiving enough oxygen for cellular respiration, they resort to lactic acid fermentation, which releases lactic acid as a byproduct. This increases the acidity of the blood far more than CO2 alone, which reflects the cells’ even greater need for oxygen. In fact, under anaerobic conditions, muscles generate lactic acid so quickly that pH of the blood passing through the muscles will drop to around 7.2, which causes haemoglobin to begin releasing roughly 10% more oxygen.[2]

The net result of this is an increasing interest in the management and training of Co2 tolerance.  as according to Conscious breathing.com CO2  has many important functions

  • AntibacterialA study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden showed that the growth of staphylococci was 1,000 times higher when the bacteria were exposed to normal air for 24 hours, compared with exposure to air saturated with 100 percent CO2.
  • Increased oxygenation. Carbon dioxide forces the oxygen to leave the blood so it can enter into our muscles and organs and be of use. This is called the Bohr effect, ( you see, it was worth reading that paragraph)
  • Widens smooth muscles. CO2 has a widening and relaxing effect on our smooth muscles. These muscles are found in our blood vessels, stomach, intestines, bladder, and womb can’t be controlled by our will.

Naturally the alternative health market claims loads of extra things: increased CO2 tolerance cleans the skin, cures cancer, boosts digestion, cures/prevents dementia, builds your bones, blah, blah, so  this  accounts for the focus on breathing in witchcraft , various religions and yoga,

However, wild claims aside, Who knew. the hippies were right.

So to start you off, here is an interesting totally safe way to start, its called  4 count breathing. Simply inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold with empty lungs for a count of four. and build up the time you do this. Free diving had introduced many more periodisation types of  breathing exercises but you need to be cautious when doing them especially if you are competitive and inclined to try and hold you breath for 3 minutes out of the blue,  ” cause i heard that was a good figure”

Obviously, I’ll guide you through  effective  breathing and  help you build up your C02 tolerance

 

contact Andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com