Lately, everywhere you look, there seems to be a focus on breathwork!
What do I teach and why? I teach the Buteyko Method; this is a science-based method founded by Konstantine Buteyko. Buteyko founded this method in the1950s in Russia. My reason for getting certified as an instructor was that I saw more clients needing help with their breathing. Many clients came to me with anxiety, sleep disturbances, upper chest breathing, mouth breathing, and many lacked mindfulness when eating.
This short blog post will outline The Buteyko Method, a reduced breathing method that has helped thousands.
I teach the Buteyko method combined with mindful eating, better sleep habits and stress management.
To start, let's define The Bohr Effect. You may have never heard of this term, yet it is so essential because The Bohr Effect describes the efficiency of oxygen transportation through the blood.
Some sciency stuff!
After haemoglobin binds to oxygen in the lungs the Bohr effect facilitates its release in the tissues. When you're out of breath, whether panicked or exercising, your body will demand oxygen. In simple terms, your body's demands cause the muscles and tissues to release more oxygen. The heightened levels of carbon dioxide signal "more oxygen is needed."
As carbon dioxide increases, it combines with water to form carbonic acid, and this increase in acid lowers the pH. The lowered pH then decreases haemoglobins' affinity for oxygen, meaning haemoglobin lets go of oxygen more efficiently. As a result, more oxygen is available to the muscles and tissues that need it most.
Conversely, decreases in carbon dioxide will increase haemoglobins' affinity for oxygen, meaning haemoglobin is less likely to release oxygen.
Who discovered it? It was Danish physiologist Christian Bohr that first described this mechanism.
Carbon dioxide is not a waste gas; it is an essential signalling molecule.
Do we need help to breathe?
These are questions I get a lot. And we do all of these things, but many of us have acquired poor habits through the years and getting back to basics with a professional holistic coach can be just the thing that allows you to take your health back. I was a chronic mouth breather with pollen allergies and high-stress levels. I was going through life thinking this is just me, but because it was normal didn't mean I desired for it to be that way. The Buteyko Method and other lifestyle changes have helped me take back my health.
"Chronic over-breathing causes blood vessels to constrict, resulting in increased brain cell excitability, random and excessive thoughts, brain fog and disrupted sleep."
In my practice, I have observed that when my clients are calm and in control of their breath, they choose healthy foods and habits. They sleep better and they are more connected to themselves. When they are maxed out, and under pressure, their breathing increases in speed; they upper chest breath, often only through the mouth and this inefficient way of breathing promotes more and more stress within.
Stress elevates cortisol levels which interfere with memory and learning. High stress over extended periods lowers immune function and bone density and increases blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart disease risk.
One of the exercises I teach is called hands on chest and tummy. My client is seated, with one hand on their chest and the other on their tummy or comfortably folded in their lap. We perform the exercise for as long as it is comfortable for the client - it could last one minute or 5-6 mins. With practice, it becomes easier and easier to perform for longer durations of time. This is a calming meditative exercise without all the whoo-whoo.
I guide my clients through a very descriptive dialogue. This creates a safe place for experimenting with reduced breathing. Together we reduce the amount of breath they take into their lungs and change their regular breathing pattern. Through practice, the individual can slow their breathing while completely relaxed.
Almost anyone can utilize this breathing method! It can come in handy before a big meeting, before a meal, before bed, or as part of a morning routine.
The goal is to visit light breathing and practice it, which influences not only how we breathe during the day but it affects our breathing at night. This is incredibly powerful, yet very simple - especially for those with asthma, high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, snoring and sleep apnea.
For my clients who have stress and anxiety, the Buteyko Method has given them a tool that allows them to calm their minds. For individuals that calm their minds by leaning on food for comfort - breathing light has enabled them to get in touch with their natural hunger cues and reduce their anxiety - they can check in with themselves and drop into a para-sympathetic tone in a matter of minutes.
If you are interested in a workshop or one to one coaching, please reach out or book with me below. All my programs start with a Discovery Call - a free call - an opportunity to ask questions about your health concerns and how my programs work. We meet over Zoom, and we take the time to find out if we are a good match.
Coaching is all about you and your greatest, healthiest, most vibrant self.
During coaching, I use meal plans, recipes, breathwork, and accountability to help you get what you want out of life. Some clients do only breathwork, while others want to implement more than one change into their lifestyle. Get in touch for a Discover Call to find out what is right for you and your goals.
Source: The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown and Anxiety Free by Patrick McKeown
Kristen Moss NC
Buteyko Instructor & Lifestyle Coach
Mother of two