Carbon dioxide and breathing
Dr. Buteyko developed his breathing method around a theory on carbon dioxide and disease. He believed that chronic illness and disease is caused by chronic hyperventilation (breathing too frequently and too quickly makes you exhale more than you inhale) that shifts the pH of the blood causing adverse physiological effects.
The Buteyko breathing method believes that we need to increase carbon dioxide levels in the body. Carbon dioxide is often thought of as a ‘waste’ gas, but carbon dioxide is vital to life. While it is true that we breathe to get rid of excess carbon dioxide, it is also important that we retain a quotient of this gas.
Depending on our genetic predisposition, the habit of breathing too much causes a reduced concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, resulting in narrowing of the airways and blood vessels.
Conversely, a slight rise in carbon dioxide towards normal has several beneficial effects in the body including; relaxing smooth muscle, increasing oxygenation, switching on the relaxing nervous system, and increasing the body’s production of nitric oxide.
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