Each 1 mmHg drop of arterial carbon dioxide reduces blood flow to the brain by 2%. As adequate levels of CO2 are required for oxygen to be released from the red blood cells (Bohr effect), this means that oxygenation of your brain is significantly reduced when you breathe heavily.
Low carbon dioxide results in blood vessel constriction including the main blood vessel to the brain. It has been estimated that the extend of this constriction is as much as 50% for those with anxiety and panic attacks!
FIGHT OR FLIGHT / STRESS RESPONSE
From an evolutionary point of view stress is a natural reaction and has developed to ensure the survival of the species. The chemical changes in response to environmental conditions enable us to either run away from an opponent or stay and fight.
Our physiology changes in the following ways when we are threatened:
• Breathing volume and heart rate increase
• Adrenaline is pumped into our system to help us stay alert
• Pupils dilate
• Blood is diverted from our internal organs to our arms and legs to better supply our muscles for the fight or flight
• Diarrhoea may occur to lighten our weight so we can run away faster
• We sweat more to make us more slippery so we can't get grabbed
• Blood coagulates in case of injury so that we don't bleed to death
Once the threat has passed or we have fought off our attacker, our bodies are meant to return to normal physiological levels. Modern day stress however delivers a constant onslaught of “attacks” and some of us may stay in this constant “fight or flight” stage, leading to eventual breakdown of our mental and physical health.
BUTEYKO BREATHING - NORMALISES YOUR BREATHING
Learning Buteyko Breathing will not eliminate the stress in your life, but it will reduce the loss of carbon dioxide and help you control symptoms commonly experienced such as dry mouth, a racing heart, general nervousness, performance anxiety and gastrointestinal aggravations. Slowing your breathing down and breathing through the nose switches on the parasympathetic nervous system which has an overall calming and slowing-down effect on most of your body systems. It also supports the digestive system and you might experience better digestion and less symptoms in the GI tract.
Practicing the exercises before events that would cause you anxiety or before going to bed, can help calm you to get through your task or help you get a good night’s sleep.
“Mum, I have a sore tummy!”
Buteyko Breathing is excellent for children who experience “nervous tummies” or who are generally anxious and shy. Adequate oxygenation to the brain is not only important to combat anxiety but necessary for learning, concentration and alertness. Mouth breathing in children should be taken very seriously and corrected as soon as possible! If your child has “crooked teeth”, please read about the work we do at BRACELESS CHOICE.