Heart, stroke, asthma, epilepsy and many other patients, as tens of research studies have found, breath much more than the medical norm (See this Table with 34 medical papers). During attacks, strokes and seizures they breathe even heavier. Deep breathing REDUCES body oxygenation. Hence, instead of frequent and deep breathing, you need a slower and shallower breathing pattern. It is called "shallow breathing" or "shallow breath" or "reduced breathing". This is the main Buteyko breathing method exercise. Very heavy breathing and low body oxygenation are possible when: 1) you take large inhalations; 2) they forcefully exhale air out of the lungs, instead of simple relaxation of all breathing muscles to produce quiet natural exhale; 3) you are likely to breathe using your chest, not the diaphragm.
Learn more here, if you missed this important idea: 4 regular breathing patterns and body oxygenation
How one can get a lighter and easier breathing pattern. It is rather simple: take smaller inhalations using their tummy and then relax all breathing muscles for exhalations as shown here:
• 1. Relax all your muscles in any comfortable position (sitting, lying, etc.), which is favourable for complete relaxation. Such relaxation normally produces quiet spontaneous exhalation.
• 2. At the end of this exhalation, pinch your nose with two fingers and hold your breath for about 1-2 seconds.
• 3. Since the feeling of air hunger at the end of this breath holding is not strong, take in (or inhale) less air than you did before (“breathe less”) but using the tummy mainly or only
• 4. For exhalation, you need just to relax, while keeping all breathing muscles, including chest-shoulders and diaphragm muscles, completely relaxed.
• 5. Again, take in (or inhale) small amount of air (“breathe less”).
• 6. And just relax all the body.
• 7. Continue to breathe in such a shallow relaxed manner, with constant air hunger for about 1 minute.
Repeat again and again this 1 minute cycle from steps 2 to 6: short breath hold (1-2 s) – smaller inhalation – relaxation of all muscles for exhalations. In other words, every minute you do short breath holds (1-2 s) and RB (reduced breathing) between them, as shown here:
Breath hold (1-2 s) - Reduced breathing (1 min) -
- Breath hold (1-2 s) - RB (1 min) -
- Breath hold (1-2 s) - RB (1 min) -
- Breath hold (1-2 s) - RB (1 min) -…
About your medication
If you feel that you cannot alleviate the upcoming attack, use 1/3 of your standard medication. After taking medication, continue the Emergency Procedure. Monitoring the severity of the symptoms. If it is still not possible to stop an attack (e.g., angina pectoris), again take 1/3 of your usual dose. Do the Emergency Procedure once more. Russian medical doctors and practitioners found that most patients could eliminate their symptoms in 1-5 minutes (Buteyko, 1977).
Optional: Additional practical recommendations in order to have better relaxation
When you are not sure about chest-shoulders-neck-jaws muscles, tense them maximally or almost maximally for 1-2 s and, then, relax. That can be done with the whole area of muscles or, if difficult, with separate muscular groups, one by one.
Using such tensing-relaxing, clearly and vividly visualise your body or body parts, first, during tensing, as a steel spring, which is hard and strong, and seconds later, during relaxation, as a large soft piece of dough or jelly fish floating in the ocean. Other images, of course, can be used, e.g., during tensing, as an over-inflated water-filled balloon, resilient and firm, which suddenly loses pressure and becomes soft and shapeless and filled with air during relaxation.
Since muscular tension during the breathing exercises should be experienced only in the area of the diaphragm, one can imagine and visualise how all tension, stress and pressure descend or slide down from the head, neck, shoulders, and chest to the area around the diaphragm.
You can massage this area (chest-shoulders-neck-jaws muscles) with your hands or, if you have a relative or friend around, ask him/her to do that.
During the Emergency Procedure, the relaxation of the diaphragm and skeletal muscles is possible, only if the amount of air in the lungs is near the physiological volume (such a lung state is achieved, when people suddenly lose their consciousness or are properly relaxed). Having more air in the lungs is undesirable, due to the appearance of tightness in respiratory muscles. Keep in mind that Buteyko breathing method exercises allow maximum time spent in a state of relaxation for all muscles of the body. This is also true for "reduced breathing" ("shallow breathing" or "shallow breath") when it is used to prevent and stop heart attack, stroke, seizures, and asthma attack.