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Bag Breathing - How Much, Based On Contents Of Exhaled Air

Discussion in 'CO2, Bag Breathing' started by Valentino, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Valentino

    Valentino Member


    A quick check on wikipedia tells me that each exhalation contains approximately 5% less oxygen than you inhaled and 5% more CO2, by volume.

    Air contains approx 13.6% oxygen and 0.03% CO2.
    A quick calculation:
    If we assume a volume of air of 100 units being exhaled and inhaled, that means after 5 exhalations, this air will be:
    10.5 units oxygen and 0.038 units CO2.

    That means that the original composition of the air has changed, but in absolute terms, the amount of extra CO2 has not replaced the oxygen. I wonder what has increased in order to fill the other approx 3 units?

    I seem to remember Ray talking about Nitric Oxide being breathed out. Perhaps this could accumulate in the breathed air and start to cause problems?

    This would be only after 5 breaths in and out, and I'm sure that I remember some people saying that they are bag breathing for at least a few minutes and multiple times per day.

    After 25 breath cycles, there would be 3.8 units of oxygen and only 0.1 units of CO2, so there is now 10% of the original air taken up by other exhaled products.

    Does anyone know what the other products would be that accumulate in this air?
    Given this, how many breaths per session of bag breathing would be safe and how many times per day?
  2. milk_lover

    milk_lover Member


    Oxygen from 21 to 15 (6% decrease in volume).
    CO2 from 0.04 to 4 (3.96% increase in volume).
    6%-3.96%=2.04%, which is exactly the additional volume water vapor takes (3-0.96=2.04% for water vapor). That's why when you exhale on a cold surface, you see water drops.
    Don't think of the increase and decrease of 5% you discussed above as a percentage of its own volume units (i.e., CO2-- 0.03*1.05) but rather 0.03+5.. it's the relative new volume of CO2 to the total air volume.

    From the graph, if we ASSUME the decrease of O2 to be the same every time we exhale (6%) and the increase of CO2 to be constant (3.96%), after five exhales, we have no O2 left and 20% CO2, which is practically not reasonable.. so I am guessing the rate of CO2 increase, O2 decrease, and water vapor increase along with other air components volume rate changes follow an exponential function, similar to many natural phenomenons like nuclear decay.
  3. OP

    Valentino Member

    Interesting. Thanks.
    The exponential idea does seem to go along with experience.
    I have breathed into a bag for a minute and not felt any shortness of air at all.
  4. tara

    tara Member

    As far as I know, for most people it is safe to breathe into a bag for as long as it feels OK, and wise to stop when it gets uncomfortable. And probably safe as often as you like, as long as you have a bit of relaxed ordinary breathing in between.
    I think Peat has talked about doing it for a minute or two. I imagine the size of the bag would affect how long it feels good for.
    For people with ventilation/perfusion difficulties/lung damage, I don't know that it is safe at all.

    For people prone to panic attacks or migraines or other conditions that can be triggered by a sudden rise in CO2, shorter or less intense sessions may be wise initially to get used to it.
  5. Mauritio

    Mauritio Member

    I did bag breathing the first time today. After i did it a couple of times in a matter of hours ,i had a resting pulse of about 90-110 ,was sweating while doing nothing and just sitting in bed and felt kind of anxious for no reason . I know that bag breathing stimulates thyroid activity ...is that the reason and am i going hyperthyroid? Or could it be that it increases cortisol or adrenaline temporarily ?
  6. Don

    Don Member

    Don't know what might be going on there, but most days I do 30 minutes of bag breathing with a plastic bag, tipping the bag a bit as necessary to adjust the mix of exhaled and fresh. It causes me no ill effects. Just be sure to ease into it to avoid inducing stress.
  7. Mauritio

    Mauritio Member

    Thanks. It sure feels like a stress reaction...