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What Every Person Must Know About Breathing, Deep Breathing Propaganda, Body Oxygenation, and Chronic Diseases


Deep breathing propaganda organized by mass media is based on lack of education in human physiology and respiration. Overbreathing worsens health of people and leads to advance of chronic diseases.

1. The physiological norm for breathing at rest (for a 70-kg man) corresponds to:
- 6 L/min for minute ventilation
- 12 breaths/min for breathing frequency
- 500 ml for tidal volume (amount of air for one breath)
- 98% oxygen saturation for the arterial blood
- 40 mm Hg (or 5.3%) CO2 partial pressure in the arterial blood and alveoli
- 40 seconds for the BHT (breath holding time) test done after usual exhalation and without any stress during and after the test.

2. The BHT is the most accurate DIY test for breathing and body oxygenation.

3. Ordinary modern people breathe about 12 L/min at rest (tens of published studies) or about 2 times more than the above norm established about 100 years ago.

4. Mildly sick people breathe about 12-18 L/min or about 2-3 times more than the norm (tens of published medical studies), while their body oxygenation is below the norm and the BHT is less than 20 s.

5. Severely sick, critically ill, and hospitalized patients have even heavier breathing and even less oxygen in their bodies (less than 10 s for the BHT).

6. When we breathe more than the norm (hyperventilation or overbreathing), we do not increase oxygenation of the arterial blood (see above). The main effect of hyperventilation is excessive removal of CO2 from the lungs, blood and cells. This causes:
- constriction of arteries and arterioles (CO2 is a powerful vasodilator)
- the suppressed Bohr effect (reduced release of oxygen by red blood cells in tissues due to less CO2).
As a result, all vital organs (including, the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, large and small colons, stomach, spleen, etc.) get less blood and oxygen supply.

7. Hence, the more one breathes at rest the less oxygen they get.

8. “Goodness of Deep Breathing” propaganda, organized by TV, newspapers, radio, and other mass media, when it is applied to unconscious or basal breathing, is falsehood based on ignorance and lack of education in basics of physiology and respiration. Most modern yoga teachers, yoga websites, sport coaches and fitness instructors, as well as some official medical sources, also promote the same myth.

9. Basal or unconscious breathing at rest becomes heavier (faster and deeper) and body oxygenation less due to:
- Lack of physical exercise
- Mouth breathing (including during sleep and physical exercise, unless you are superfit)
- Sleeping on one’s back and too much sleep
- Psychological stress, anger, revenge, greed, envy, jealousy, laziness, and strong emotions
- Overeating (especially of animal proteins)
- Overheating
- Lack of essential nutrients and junk foods
- Toxins and pollution (in water, food and air, due to radiation, infections, and medical drugs); allergens; dusty environment
- Poor posture (slouching is present in over 90% modern people)
- Talkativeness and deep breathing exercises (except very slow ones, e.g., with 1-2 breaths/min so that to get more CO2)
- Sighing, coughing, sneezing and yawning with large air movements or open mouth
- Excesses and addictions (smoking, street drugs, gambling, too much alcohol, caffeine, sunbathing, sex, etc.)

10. Basal or unconscious breathing at rest becomes easier (lighter and slower) and body oxygenation higher due to:
- Physical exercise with strictly nasal breathing (in and out) due to increased CO2 and nitric oxide concentrations
- Forgiveness and silent prayer; relaxation and meditation exercises; peace-making, good will, cooperation, self-discipline, perseverance, commitment, and responsibility
- Good posture (straight spine 24/7)
- More time outdoors (especially for the aged)
- Eating, only when really hungry, and stopping in time
- Going to bed for sleep, only when really sleepy, and getting out of the bed after waking up in the morning; sleeping on hard beds
- Raw vegetarian diet (only if very well chewed)
- Moderation in pleasures, cold shower (with certain rules), barefoot walking, massage
- Some breathing exercises (DIY breathing device, Buteyko method, Frolov breathing device, Strelnikova paradoxical breathing gymnastic, correctly done pranayama, etc.)


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