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Anti-Hyperventilation Exercises

7 minutes

Escape from Asthma Episode # 9 Anti-Hyperventilation Exercises

Hi, this is Michael Lingard welcoming you to episode nine of Escape from Asthma. With the best will in the world every now and again you may find your breathing is getting out of control. This may happen at times of severe stress, when ill or after some trauma. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a simple exercise that you could rely on to bring your breathing back to normal? This is the job of the three anti-hyperventilation exercises I shall tell you about now.
The first one is particularly useful as you can do this anywhere, at home, at work or even in company and people will not realize you are doing it.

The concept behind this exercise is that when we start to over-breathe or hyperventilate , the gap between breathing out and breathing our next breath in gets very small or sometimes nil, so this exercise teaches you how to reintroduce this essential gap.

Breathe in and out through your nose two times then pause your breath for a count of two in your head.
Repeat this again.

Breathe in and out through your nose two times, pause your breath for a count of three in your head.
Repeat this again.

Breathe in and out through your nose two times, pause your breath for a count of four in your head.
Repeat this again.

Repeat this each time increasing the pause up to a count of ten or as close as you can comfortably manage , then repeat the exercises but reducing the pause each time .

Breathe in and out through your nose two times, pause your breath for a count of nine in your head.
Repeat this again.

Breathe in and out through your nose two times, pause your breath for a count of eight in your head.
Repeat this again.

Continue this way until you have reduced the pause to a count of two.

Follow this with five minutes of reduced breathing if you are an asthma sufferer.

This exercise is useful for overcoming an asthma attack on waking or for when going into an anxiety-provoking situation. It is called the “Rescue Exercise”. Use it when feeling tight-chested, when you need help getting off to sleep, when recovering from physical exercise, for mild claustrophobia, before doing your Buteyko exercises when you don’t feel ready to do them or whenever your breathing is too fast or too deep.

Practice this exercise so that when you need it you will find it easier to do.

The second Anti-hyperventilation exercise is more mechanical as you will need a watch with a second-hand to do it.
Breathe in for two seconds, breathe out for three seconds then pause your breath for two seconds.
Repeat this.

Breathe in for two seconds, breathe out for three seconds then pause your breath for three seconds.
Repeat this.

Breathe in for two seconds, breathe out for three seconds then pause your breath for four seconds.
Repeat this.
And so on until you get to a pause of six seconds for a panic attack situation or up to ten seconds for asthma if possible, then reverse the exercise each time reducing the pause until you are back to a two second pause.

This exercise is useful for overcoming hyperventilation attacks but not for asthma when your breathing is excessively fast, to help getting a child off to sleep when the parent gives the instructions, for dealing with anticipated stress or for an adult to calm an upset child.

The third Anti-hyperventilation exercise is similar to the step exercises you learnt about in the last episode.

Walk for perhaps three steps while pausing the breathing, breathe in and out through your nose twice.

Walk for five steps while pausing your breathing, breathe in and out through the nose twice,

Walk for eight steps while pausing your breathing, breathe in and out through the nose twice,

Repeat this until you pause your breathing for up to twenty or thirty steps and you are feeling calm, then take the exercise backwards.

You are walking all the time whether pausing your breathing or taking breaths.
This exercise can be used to overcome an asthmas attack on waking, or for going into an anxiety-provoking situation. For warm up or warm down at sport, or for getting out of a place with irritating fumes or odours that may trigger an attack.

Always adjust these exercises to suit yourself and the situation. A person with emphysema may have to breathe three or four times between pauses and the pauses may be for very short counts of one or two repeated more often. A person with anxiety may only be able to achieve a breath hold of five seconds for example; in this case they should stay on a maximum of five seconds till they feel comfortable going higher.
Do not stop these exercises on the high pause count, always return to the shortest pause. Stopping on the longest pause may set off hyperventilation again.

These exercises are reviewed in my ebook “The Buteyko Guide to Better Breathing & Better Asthma Management “ HERE

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