What is Hyperventilation?

Hyperventilation simply means breathing more air than the body needs for normal functioning.
Hyperventilation is usually not easily noticed and hence is referred to as Chronic Hidden
Hyperventilation. The over-breathing may arise from slight increase in the number of breaths
per minute, a slight increase in the volume per breath and habitual sighing, yawning, coughing,
mouth breathing, sneezing etc.
How do I recognize hyperventilation?
• Upper chest mainly used for breathing
• Very little diaphragmatic breathing
• Frequent sighing or yawning
• Rapid breathing
• Breathing erratically, fast with long pauses from time to time
• Inhalations & exhalations are not rhythmical
• Asthma inhaler does not give relief
• Peak flow readings don’t drop or only marginally
How do I know if I’m breathing incorrectly? Check your own breathing.
• Can you hear yourself breathe?
• Do you breathe through your mouth most of the time?
• Do you sigh, yawn, sneeze, wheeze or snore?
• Do you take a deep breath through the mouth before speaking?
• Do you pant, cough or blow your nose excessively?
• Do you wake up feeling tired with a headache?
• Do you wake at night?
• Do you feel your upper chest move when taking a breath?
• Do get short of breath?
• Do you get headaches, tiredness or dizziness?
• Do you suffer from lack of concentration or irritability?
Hyperventilation lowers carbon dioxide levels in the body and as a result:
• Haemoglobin, the oxygen carrier, forms a strong bond with oxygen, not releasing
sufficient oxygen to the tissues. This is called the Bohr Effect.
• The smooth muscle (involuntary) wrapped around airways& all hollow organs tightens &
spasms causing chest tightness, gut problems, impaired circulation and bladder
constriction among other reactions.
• Mast cells release more histamine, greatly increasing the body’s reaction to allergens or
irritants and more mucus is produced, inner linings of the airways swell narrowing them.
• Carbon dioxide losses cause increasing shift towards respiratory alkalosis, the normal pH
or acid/alkalinity of the body is changed affecting every chemical reaction.

Good Breathing Advice for Children & Parents

Every parent has become increasingly aware of the need for good nutrition, good exercise and a supportive home and school environment for the health and wellbeing of their children. The government campaigns have advised “five a day” and more sport in schools but as yet there has been no recognition of the equally vital matter of good breathing for good health. Poor breathing has been the hidden, silent factor responsible for many childhood health problems that can lay the foundation for a wide range of modern diseases in later life.

Here is another “five a day” recommendation to help your child:

1. Ensure your child is a good breather.
A simple test is the “Step exercise” : Get your child to take a normal breath in then a normal breath out, then while they hold their nose see how many steps they can do, keeping their mouth closed before they need to release their nose to take another breath.
This is a simple measure of how well oxygenated their body is:
100 to 80 steps indicates excellent breathing
60 to 80 steps is very good
40 to 60 steps is good
30 to 40 steps is poor and may be impairing their heath
20 to 30 steps is very poor with almost certain adverse effect on their health
Fewer than 20 steps is a dangerously low result and efforts should be made to correct this.

Older children may be able to measure their breathing with a “Control Pause”
Keeping their mouth closed, take a normal breath in then a normal breath out and see how many seconds they can hold their nose for before taking another breath in. This exercise should be easy and stress free, it is a measure of their maximum COMFORTABLE breath hold.
45 to 60 seconds Excellent, 35 to 45 Very good, 25 to 35 Good, 20 to 25 Poor,
15 to 20 Very poor, 10 to 15 Seriously poor and Under 10 suggests an urgent need to correct this.

2. Help teach better breathing habits.
Encourage quiet nose breathing all the time. Set an example by improving your own breathing.

3. Watch for signs of bad breathing habits.
Mouth breathing, upper chest breathing, breathlessness, snoring at night.

4. Encourage relaxation and quiet when stressed.
Teach quiet relaxation, breathing as gently as possible with all the body relaxed.

5. Tell them why they need a nose & how to make it work well.
The nose is for breathing & the mouth is for eating and talking.
“They should breathe through their mouth as often as they eat through nose!”
Teach nose-clearing exercise: Breathe in then out through the nose, keep the mouth closed, hold the nose, gently nod the head until they need to breathe in, release the nose and take a breathe in. Repeat two or three times.

How do I know if I am breathing correctly?

I often get asked – How do I know if I’m breathing incorrectly?

Ask yourself these questions and check your own breathing.

If you find you suffer from any of these symptoms then you are certainly not breathing as well as you should.

Can you hear yourself breathe?
Do you breathe through your mouth most of the time?
Do you sigh, yawn, sneeze, wheeze or snore?
Do you take a deep breath through the mouth before speaking?
Do you pant, cough or blow your nose excessively?
Do you wake up feeling tired with a headache?
Do you wake at night?
Do you feel your upper chest move when taking a breath?
Do get short of breath?
Do you get headaches, tiredness or dizziness?
Do you suffer from lack of concentration or irritability?

  • real-self-improvement-300x225
    Permalink Gallery

    Self-improvement is a big job. Breath retraining requires personal discipline and effort.

Self-improvement is a big job. Breath retraining requires personal discipline and effort.

Copy of article by Janet Winter

Yes, self-improvement is about awareness and sticking with it, it’s not just for January.

I love this inspirational quote from Doe Zantamata:real self improvement

Self-improvement is a big job.

It’s like rebuilding a house. Some things need a little touch up, some could use repair, and sometimes a whole section needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

But it can’t just be non-stop work.

You need rest. A good meal. A day off to enjoy the sunshine or just do fun stuff without thinking much at all.

It may feel like you want to just get everything fixed right now but you’ve got to be patient with yourself and step back and admire all the work you’ve done and are doing along the way.

That’s the only way to stay encouraged for the long haul.

Real and lasting self-improvement is a lifetime achievement, not an overnight success.

-Doe Zantamata

And here is a real-life story of someone I know that mirrors much of this. Sticking with it is certainly a theme here too. Steve Darch, a breathing educator colleague has kindly allowed me share his story of:

Recovery from Chronic Asthma, COPD stage 2 and Bronchiectasis

“I played 36 holes of golf yesterday on a very hilly course and carried my clubs despite it being very wet and muddy underfoot.
I was never at any point out of breath, my energy and concentration levels were good and woke up this morning with no aches and pains!!

If five ýears ago having been hospitalised on a regular basis and diagnosed with Chronic Asthma, COPD stage 2, Bronchiectasis and taking every medication ever invented someone had told me I was going to be able to do this I would have laughed in their face.

I believe that my healing process is still continuing and although getting older I feel younger and more energetic by the year.

I can 100% put this down to correcting my breathing.

Since changing my breathing I have lost around three stone and maintained this loss (three years) despite at times not eating or drinking as I should. Coming off medication and in particular steroid medication and reduced emotional eating improved my digestive system as well. (NB never come off medications without your doctor’s consent, as this could be dangerous. Steve could only reduce his medications because his condition had improved).

I still monitor my breathing on a regular basis but have learnt to enjoy the breathing exercises and these are now built into my daily lifestyle.

I have been signed off by my NHS Consultant and my lung function continues to improve.

At the same time I have seen a huge reduction in lung infections, coughs, allergies, flu etc.

This did not happen overnight!!!

From observing my clients many expect unrealistic changes to happen quickly and give up on their breathing exercises too quickly because it can be hard work and involves personal discipline and effort.

I believe change happens slowly and gradually and we sometimes forget how far we have moved forward since changing our breathing.

If we also consider with ageing and continuous medication how our health might be now if still hyperventilating the changes for me have been massive”.

  • child Inhaler
    Permalink Gallery

    Thousands of children’s asthma inhalers make condition worse

Thousands of children’s asthma inhalers make condition worse

Up to a hundred thousand children in Britain whose asthma is not controlled by blue Ventolin inhalers are also given Salmeterol, a longer-acting inhaler drug.
But for one in every seven child sufferers the extra inhaler, commonly marketed as Seretide, may not work because they carry a gene which makes it ineffective, a study has found.
Failure to treat asthma with effective drugs causes the condition to grow worse, with an increase in wheezing and coughing and a higher risk of attacks.
A simple saliva test could identify which children carry the offending gene and allow doctors to prescribe an alternative such as Montelukast (also known as Singulair), a pill which is less effective for most children but much better for those who do not respond to Salmeterol.
Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay of Brighton and Sussex Medical School, who led the study, said: “We should try to get some advice from the Department of Health or Asthma UK on the kind of advice we should be giving mothers and GPs, this is something we really need.
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“If you have a child with Asthma and you give them a medicine that doesn’t work, it is making it worse. That is unacceptable in terms of treatment strategy because you are increasing the child’s risk of having school absence or hospital admissions.”
When children are diagnosed with asthma they are typically given a blue Ventolin inhaler to provide instant relief from attacks, but some need to use them so frequently that doctors also prescribe a steroid inhaler or, where this does not work, Salmeterol for longer-acting treatment.
Salmeterol works by binding to a molecule in the body called the beta-2 receptor, but one in seven asthma sufferers has a genetic mutation in the molecule which makes the treatment less effective.
The researchers studied 62 children carrying the mutation who regularly used steroid inhalers but had still missed school or needed hospital treatment for their asthma.
Half of the children was given Salmeterol inhalers and half took Montelukast pills over the course of a year. Those given Montelukast had a better quality of life, wheezed and coughed less, and relied less on their blue “reliever” inhalers.
At the start of the project a third of the children needed to use their relievers every day, but a year later this had halved among those using Montelukast, according to the study published in the Clinical Science journal.
Prof Mukhopadhyay said: “For almost every symptom we were looking at there was a significant difference and it was always in favour of Montelukast.
“We have for the first time shown that personalised medicine can work in the field of children’s asthma.”
There are also fears that the same patients may be responding worse to their blue inhalers because they use a similar type of drug, but further studies are needed to examine any possible link, he added.
The findings are unlikely to apply to adults because child asthma is very different to that experienced later in life.
Malayka Rahman of Asthma Research UK said: “This exciting area of research has the potential to lead to the tailoring of better treatments for an individual based on their own genetic make-up, ultimately keeping more people out of hospital and preventing unnecessary asthma deaths in the long term.”
Prof Stephen Holgate, MRC Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at Southampton University, added: “This is a wonderful example of stratified or personalised medicine working its way into practice.
“The gene-based test is not yet available to doctors, but should become so if larger trials are equally positive.”
A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline, which manufactures Seretide, said: “The results of this small study raise interesting questions around how different patients can gain the most benefit from their medicines and it warrants further research.
“It is important to ensure that children continue to control and manage their asthma and we’d encourage anyone who has questions about the medicines their children take to talk to their doctor.”

Does Your Child Mouth Breathe?

I just came across an excellent article on children and mouth breathing by Janet Carlson and thought it well worth sharing www.twitter.com/JanetRCarlson

When you can see or hear your child breathing, there is certainly a problem.

Seeing or hearing what should be silent and invisible is a clue to obstructed airways — which are often associated with snoring,asthma and sleep apnoea, and increasingly, in children,sleep-deprivation and even ADHD and ADD – all of which can stem from mouth-breathing, which he says is also associated with degenerative inflammatory diseases later in life.

There is a proven link between mouth-breathers and attentional issues: A goodly percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD and ADD display the symptoms because they’re suffering from sleep-deprivation, and often, that’s due to mouth-breathing because of obstructed airways that can be caused by a variety of things including: allergies, a high, narrow palate, a deviated septum that constricts the nasal area, enlarged turbinates (those are the gizmos in the nose that clean and humidify air on the inhale) or even diet. Nasal breathing is healthiest and most efficient; mouth-breathing is a last resort.

Certainly, not all children with attentional issues are mouth-breathers, and not all mouth-breathers have attentional issues, “Sleep deprivation impacts 25-40 percent of children. And two-thirds of ADHD kids have disordered breathing during sleep.”

Sleep-deprivation may manifest as sleepiness and sluggishness, in children, it shows up as hyperactivity, impulsivity and lack of focus. Anxiety and depression can also result. Clear up the airway issue and in some children, the attentional issue is improved or resolved.

Many researchers have also shown how mouth-breathing leads to a long face, receded jaw and future headache issues.

What can be done to address this important problem?

Help is at hand in the form of breath retraining and this plays a key role in improving children’s breathing patterns and teaching them how to breathe efficiently through their nose.

For more advice please contact us at hello@naturalbreathingtraining.com

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