Dentician, Dr. Ankita Shah, Mumbai, India, First Breathe Sleep Centre

WHAT IS BREATH RETRAINING?

The primary goal of breath retraining is to normalise each aspect of breathing pattern that is the rate, rhythm, volume, mechanics and use of the nose for all situations like when awake, asleep, at rest, during eating, speech and exercise. The specific goal of breath retraining is to achieve physiologically normal nasal breathing 95% of the day and night.

 

We use the Buteyko Method of breath retraining. This method is based in his research into the link between breathing dysfunction and a range of breathing related disorders. The Bohr Effect states that in the presence of carbon dioxide, the oxygen affinity for haemoglobin decreases. In other words, an increase in blood carbon dioxide level and corresponding decrease in blood pH causes haemoglobin to bind to oxygen with less affinity. This effect facilitates oxygen transport as hemoglobin binds to oxygen in the lungs, but then releases it in the tissues, particularly those tissues in most need of oxygen. This is because when a tissue's metabolic rate increases, its carbon dioxide production increases. In addition to this, loss of carbon dioxide during hyperventilation can trigger smooth muscle to constrict around airways and blood vessels, reducing the availability of oxygen to the brain and body tissues. This can trigger constriction of bronchi and bronchioles, experienced as chest tightness in asthma and contributes to nasal congestion.

 

There are three basic goals towards breath retraining.

 

GOAL 1

One must be very aware of their own breathing. Feel, watch and listen to your breathing as much as you can during the day and pay attention to what makes you take big breaths.

 

Ask yourself some questions.

1.Is your breathing a still, silent activity or does it involve large inhalations and body movements?

2.Is your mouth open during your daily activities?

3.Do you take a big breath as you stand up from your chair or before talking?

4.Do you gasp for a breath, yawn or sniff regularly?

5.Do you wake in the night or early morning with a dry mouth?

6.Is your nose blocked when you wake or do you wake feeling that you have not had a good night’s sleep?

 

Only when you have become aware of your bad breathing can you take steps to correct it. At our practice we make children aware of their breathing patterns. Most often they are totally unaware and some children find them alarming and quite amusing.

 

Awareness of our own incorrect breathing can also be increased by observing other family members who are perhaps breathing through the nose or with their mouths open. Even though all of these people may seem to enjoy good health, many of those who have bad breathing may already have or are likely to develop health problems in the future.

 

GOAL 2

Learn to breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose at all times is the correct and only way to breathe.

 

Some individuals seem to spend most of their lives with a blocked nose and many have tried, without success, every nasal spray and therapy on the market. We can teach you an effective exercise for unblocking the nose in a matter of minutes. This will be the first step on the road to permanent and comfortable nasal breathing.

 

GOAL 3

All the breathing exercises that we use involve breathing less air than the body has become accustomed to which helps to reset the respiratory system to accept the higher levels of carbon dioxide that it really should have for your body to get a more supply of oxygen.

 

When asked for a simple definition of his theory, Professor Buteyko said: the reduction of the depth of breathing by the relaxation of the respiratory muscles to create a little air shortage. Two words he directed at his patients were ‘breathe less’. This is the very essence of Buteyko breathing.

 

A quote from sixth century BC philosopher Lao Tzu states: 'The perfect man breathes as if he does not breathe.' Through the Buteyko Method the individual learns to breathe in a calm, silent and still manner.

 

At Dentician, we can help your children enjoy a restful snore-free sleep, relieve symptoms of frequent tonsils and adenoids and enjoy better health and well-being by helping you change the way you breathe.

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