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:
- Sitting down, close your mouth and breathe normally through the nose for 30 seconds
- Take a normal breath in through your nose
- Allow a normal breath out through your nose
- Gently close your nose with thumb & forefinger and start to count the seconds on the clock
- When you first feel the need to breathe, release the nose and take a breath through the nose
- 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
- 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