Utility of CP in Buteyko breathing

elhoov

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Hi everyone, first post here. I've been reading a lot about Buteyko breathing lately. First of all, I don't doubt the benefits of it, but I don't understand the value of the Control Pause time as a metric for progress.

First of all, the need to breathe is triggered by an accumulation of CO2 above the set point. This means that the control pause will be higher when your CO2 is low relative to your set point. For example hyperventilating a la Wim Hof prior to the breath hold will allow you to reach a much higher retention time.

Doesn't this mean that if you have a high CP you didn't just raise your CO2 set point, but you also normally over breathe in a way that your CO2 at any given time (except during Buteyko practice) is much lower than your set point?

Wouldn't it be more desirable to raise the set point and also have a shorter control pause meaning that your normal CO2 saturation is much higher overall and closer to your set point?

Is there a flaw in my logic, and if there isn't, is there any other metric to track progress that does not suffer from this issue?

Thanks.
 

Heidi

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Hi everyone, first post here. I've been reading a lot about Buteyko breathing lately. First of all, I don't doubt the benefits of it, but I don't understand the value of the Control Pause time as a metric for progress.

First of all, the need to breathe is triggered by an accumulation of CO2 above the set point. This means that the control pause will be higher when your CO2 is low relative to your set point. For example hyperventilating a la Wim Hof prior to the breath hold will allow you to reach a much higher retention time.

Doesn't this mean that if you have a high CP you didn't just raise your CO2 set point, but you also normally over breathe in a way that your CO2 at any given time (except during Buteyko practice) is much lower than your set point?

Wouldn't it be more desirable to raise the set point and also have a shorter control pause meaning that your normal CO2 saturation is much higher overall and closer to your set point?

Is there a flaw in my logic, and if there isn't, is there any other metric to track progress that does not suffer from this issue?

Thanks.
I might not be the best person to respond to your post. Perhaps someone who is more of a Buteyko expert will respond. I had a hard time even following your reasoning.

Hyperventilating a la Wim Hof may allow you to temporarily reach a much higher retention time, but CO2 levels end up being depleted in the process. The net effect is not good. Buteyko breathing is much better in my opinion. I have benefited from it enormously. I use the control pause as a loose metric for progress only because it hasn't worked well for me. But perhaps it may work well in the future, if my breathing improves enough.

I use observations and body signals and signs, such as saliva flow and increased warmth. I feel like I have slowly come to understand more about breathing over years of very gradual practice and progress. I'm not even sure if I can articulate what I know intellectually. It's more of a knowing sensing awareness of what is healing for my body in a given circumstance.

Have you tried some Buteyko practices? Do you have some health issues that you are trying to correct? Improvement and healing of a problem is a great way to track progress. But also increasing physical vitality, and being able to do more exercise (while only breathing through the nose) without getting winded is good for tracking, too. Good luck to you.
 

elhoov

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I might not be the best person to respond to your post. Perhaps someone who is more of a Buteyko expert will respond. I had a hard time even following your reasoning.

Hyperventilating a la Wim Hof may allow you to temporarily reach a much higher retention time, but CO2 levels end up being depleted in the process. The net effect is not good. Buteyko breathing is much better in my opinion. I have benefited from it enormously. I use the control pause as a loose metric for progress only because it hasn't worked well for me. But perhaps it may work well in the future, if my breathing improves enough.

I use observations and body signals and signs, such as saliva flow and increased warmth. I feel like I have slowly come to understand more about breathing over years of very gradual practice and progress. I'm not even sure if I can articulate what I know intellectually. It's more of a knowing sensing awareness of what is healing for my body in a given circumstance.

Have you tried some Buteyko practices? Do you have some health issues that you are trying to correct? Improvement and healing of a problem is a great way to track progress. But also increasing physical vitality, and being able to do more exercise (while only breathing through the nose) without getting winded is good for tracking, too. Good luck to you.
Thank you for your response and good wishes. Yes I have recently started to implement some Buteyko on my own, but I understand it's difficult to get benefit without coaching. I do have one significant health issue which no one has been able to pin down, consisting of enthesitis (inflammation of tendons at the point of insertion into the bone) without any visible inflammation but causing lots of scar tissue build up. I'm on biologic meds for spondylitis since that's the only known illness that causes generalised enthesitis, but there's no evidence of tissue destruction or calcifications in my case. I also don't have any of the usual gastrointestinal distress or heavy fatigue, eye inflammation, psoriasis, HBLA27 gene etc. that usually comes with the disease. Regardless, the medication worked and took me from barely able to move to painless and pretty functional.

I also don't question the benefits of high CO2 and I'm even convinced that Buteyko is a good way to elevate it. It's just the utility of the control pause that I can't get behind. Like you said, hyperventilation depletes CO2 compared to your baseline, so it increases breath retention time while being unhealthy if done chronically, because it increases the time it takes for you to produce enough CO2 to feel the need to breathe again. On the contrary, raising your CO2 by reducing breathing increases your CO2 and makes you feel breathless, but raises your CO2 tolerance in the long run. So doesn't it follow that if you have a high breath retention (high CP) you're hyperventilating at baseline relative to your CO2 tolerance? Because if you breathed in a way that your CO2 levels are close to your maximum tolerance at all times you won't be able to hold your breath for long before you feel the need to breathe.

I hope I explained it a little better, I actually agree with everything you said and that was part of my point.

Regards and good luck to you too!
 

Heidi

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Thank you for your response and good wishes. Yes I have recently started to implement some Buteyko on my own, but I understand it's difficult to get benefit without coaching. I do have one significant health issue which no one has been able to pin down, consisting of enthesitis (inflammation of tendons at the point of insertion into the bone) without any visible inflammation but causing lots of scar tissue build up. I'm on biologic meds for spondylitis since that's the only known illness that causes generalised enthesitis, but there's no evidence of tissue destruction or calcifications in my case. I also don't have any of the usual gastrointestinal distress or heavy fatigue, eye inflammation, psoriasis, HBLA27 gene etc. that usually comes with the disease. Regardless, the medication worked and took me from barely able to move to painless and pretty functional.

I also don't question the benefits of high CO2 and I'm even convinced that Buteyko is a good way to elevate it. It's just the utility of the control pause that I can't get behind. Like you said, hyperventilation depletes CO2 compared to your baseline, so it increases breath retention time while being unhealthy if done chronically, because it increases the time it takes for you to produce enough CO2 to feel the need to breathe again. On the contrary, raising your CO2 by reducing breathing increases your CO2 and makes you feel breathless, but raises your CO2 tolerance in the long run. So doesn't it follow that if you have a high breath retention (high CP) you're hyperventilating at baseline relative to your CO2 tolerance? Because if you breathed in a way that your CO2 levels are close to your maximum tolerance at all times you won't be able to hold your breath for long before you feel the need to breathe.

I hope I explained it a little better, I actually agree with everything you said and that was part of my point.

Regards and good luck to you too!
I can't get behind the utility of the control pause because it doesn't work well for me. So I have just figured out what does work well for me.

Raising your CO2 by reducing breathing increases your CO2 and makes you feel breathless, but if you stay with the mild or tolerable air hunger or breathlessness in a relaxed way for long enough, there will be a noticeable shift. I think that shift is what is most important. I try to make that shift as much as I can in as many varied circumstance as I can. Relaxation and finding the right balance are key.

My biggest breathing problem is that I hyperventilate through my nose all night long while sleeping. My control pause on first awakening has always been dismally low. If my control pause at that time ever changes, it would be a huge marker for me. But meanwhile I have had so many other markers indicating improvement. For example, my sleep is so much better than it use to be. I can now shift into a relaxed higher CO2 state and fall back to sleep easily.

There are many methods of increasing CO2 some of which simultaneously increase oxygen too. But people with a high CP can hold their breath longer with great ease without needing to hyperventilate or increase their oxygen levels. Their body has a greater range and capacity of utilization.

I haven't had any coaching because I don't have the money for that. I have received a lot of benefit without coaching. People on this website gave me a lot of free help and advice, which helped enormously. Some of the wisdom people offered took a long time to sink in. But certain things people said/wrote have really stayed with me.

Perhaps I am just telling you more things that you already know and agree with. Hopefully someone else who understands your reasoning and the control pause better will chime in here.

Your illness sounds intense. Glad that you found medication that has helped. Hope that you make good progress with Buteyko!
 

elhoov

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I can't get behind the utility of the control pause because it doesn't work well for me. So I have just figured out what does work well for me.

Raising your CO2 by reducing breathing increases your CO2 and makes you feel breathless, but if you stay with the mild or tolerable air hunger or breathlessness in a relaxed way for long enough, there will be a noticeable shift. I think that shift is what is most important. I try to make that shift as much as I can in as many varied circumstance as I can. Relaxation and finding the right balance are key.

My biggest breathing problem is that I hyperventilate through my nose all night long while sleeping. My control pause on first awakening has always been dismally low. If my control pause at that time ever changes, it would be a huge marker for me. But meanwhile I have had so many other markers indicating improvement. For example, my sleep is so much better than it use to be. I can now shift into a relaxed higher CO2 state and fall back to sleep easily.

There are many methods of increasing CO2 some of which simultaneously increase oxygen too. But people with a high CP can hold their breath longer with great ease without needing to hyperventilate or increase their oxygen levels. Their body has a greater range and capacity of utilization.

I haven't had any coaching because I don't have the money for that. I have received a lot of benefit without coaching. People on this website gave me a lot of free help and advice, which helped enormously. Some of the wisdom people offered took a long time to sink in. But certain things people said/wrote have really stayed with me.

Perhaps I am just telling you more things that you already know and agree with. Hopefully someone else who understands your reasoning and the control pause better will chime in here.

Your illness sounds intense. Glad that you found medication that has helped. Hope that you make good progress with Buteyko!
You're definitely not just telling me things I know, I appreciate your insights as a more experienced person who was able to make it work without a coach. I'm especially interested in the methods to increase CO2 and oxygen at the same time. My girlfriend has seizures which I suspect are due to not enough oxygen reaching her brain (they happen right before her period when estrogen is highest and she always starts coughing before). However I tried to get her to do Buteyko for two days and she did not feel too good. When we tried to test the control pause on the third day she had the worst seizure yet, gasping for air and convulsing which I've never seen happen to her before. The only thing I can think of is that her O2 might have been too low that even with more CO2 there wasn't enough to utilize? We stopped her practice for now but it would be interesting to know of ways to keep CO2 higher.

Me on the other hand, I've been in a good mood and with more energy since I started so I will continue. I've been using deep slow diaphragm breaths (no chest movement) which I know is different from the official method but I don't see why it shouldn't work just as well. My gf was doing the original method with shallow breaths though.

Thanks for your input.
 

Heidi

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You're definitely not just telling me things I know, I appreciate your insights as a more experienced person who was able to make it work without a coach. I'm especially interested in the methods to increase CO2 and oxygen at the same time. My girlfriend has seizures which I suspect are due to not enough oxygen reaching her brain (they happen right before her period when estrogen is highest and she always starts coughing before). However I tried to get her to do Buteyko for two days and she did not feel too good. When we tried to test the control pause on the third day she had the worst seizure yet, gasping for air and convulsing which I've never seen happen to her before. The only thing I can think of is that her O2 might have been too low that even with more CO2 there wasn't enough to utilize? We stopped her practice for now but it would be interesting to know of ways to keep CO2 higher.

Me on the other hand, I've been in a good mood and with more energy since I started so I will continue. I've been using deep slow diaphragm breaths (no chest movement) which I know is different from the official method but I don't see why it shouldn't work just as well. My gf was doing the original method with shallow breaths though.

Thanks for your input.
I came back to this forum because I was hoping to learn more. Take any insights with a grain of salt. And test things out for yourself. It was helpful to get different opinions and perspectives here.

When the control pause triggered a seizure for your girlfriend was it her usual time for getting them right before her period? Maybe she could avoid breathing practices during that time. I know that breathing changes can commonly trigger seizures or migraines. But I remember a website that used reduced breathing to cure migraines.

Slow, gentle, relaxed changes are best. I was too ambitious initially. Striving tends to back fire as the body always seeks homeostasis and will overcompensate to rebalance.

In the beginning I was worried about getting enough oxygen, and thought that I needed to increase both. But now it's become so obvious that I am always over-oxygenated. My body hoards oxygen. I think trauma is an underlying cause. I have done a lot of work around confronting fears that come up around breathing less. An oximeter is reassuring for this. I have been unable to get a low reading on one ever. Even when I feel like I am not getting enough air. I like the one that Patrick McKeown sells better than others that I've tried.

I think that breathing exercises done while exercising (or strenuous exercise while just breathing through your nose) increases both CO2 and oxygen. Breath holds while walking for example. I've been doing breath holds going up stairs as I'm stuck inside more than usual due to Covid.

I've experimented with slow deep breathing and sometimes I do a really prolonged exhale as a kind of reset at the beginning. But I think the best breathing is light and imperceptible, yet coming from the abdomen if that makes sense to you. There is a lightness, spaciousness, and effortlessness to it. Perhaps this is what you are doing? That is great about your good mood and energy. Hope it all keeps progressing in a good way for you.
 

Jem Oz

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My problem with these breathing techniques is, it implies that we literally don't know how to breath. It's yet another thing that's broken and needs fixing. I know it only has good intentions, but surely breathing appropriately is something we pretty much nailed at birth? I think sometimes these techniques and programs are a dopamine hit for stressed out people who don't know that you're allowed to just exist without believing everything's broken and needs reforming.

None of which is to say it's not also potentially helpful....... ;)
 

Heidi

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My problem with these breathing techniques is, it implies that we literally don't know how to breath. It's yet another thing that's broken and needs fixing. I know it only has good intentions, but surely breathing appropriately is something we pretty much nailed at birth? I think sometimes these techniques and programs are a dopamine hit for stressed out people who don't know that you're allowed to just exist without believing everything's broken and needs reforming.

None of which is to say it's not also potentially helpful....... ;)
I hear you and can really empathize with how you feel. A lot of people make a lot of money off of people's suffering. So much marketing goes into manipulating people to feel that they are not "allowed to just exist without believing everything's broken and needs reforming." It makes me really angry.

I have had lifelong struggles with my physical health, and Buteyko breathing has had more miraculous effects on my physical health than anything else that I have tried. The miraculous effects happened on two separate occasions. The first was when I joined this forum, and the second was more recently with health issues that arose after menopause. My breathing/nervous system/immune system has been broken probably since childhood. I think due to trauma.

I have so much more well being and physical health than I use to. And now I am hungry for even more wellness and vitality. If the Buteyko breathing hadn't fixed so much physical pain for me, I never would have had the motivation to stick with it. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to change something so fundamental. I want to write that it takes a lot of hard work, but I am trying to be a lot more effortless with my approach this time around. Learning to work easy. Wishing you well in figuring out what is best for you.
 

Jem Oz

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I hear you and can really empathize with how you feel. A lot of people make a lot of money off of people's suffering. So much marketing goes into manipulating people to feel that they are not "allowed to just exist without believing everything's broken and needs reforming." It makes me really angry.

I have had lifelong struggles with my physical health, and Buteyko breathing has had more miraculous effects on my physical health than anything else that I have tried. The miraculous effects happened on two separate occasions. The first was when I joined this forum, and the second was more recently with health issues that arose after menopause. My breathing/nervous system/immune system has been broken probably since childhood. I think due to trauma.

I have so much more well being and physical health than I use to. And now I am hungry for even more wellness and vitality. If the Buteyko breathing hadn't fixed so much physical pain for me, I never would have had the motivation to stick with it. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to change something so fundamental. I want to write that it takes a lot of hard work, but I am trying to be a lot more effortless with my approach this time around. Learning to work easy. Wishing you well in figuring out what is best for you.
Great post. You highlight a great point too: if you're seriously unwell, then cast the widest possible net and try out everything you can to get better. FWIW I'm stoked that Buteyko breathing helped you so much.

I've noticed with myself there have been times when I've gotten too caught up in "health" and devoured too many articles and threads, and without realizing, I've ended up feeling like everything needs fixing or addressing. I'm sure we're all susceptible to that. I think some forum members who consistently write about poor health across multiple fronts, would benefit enormously from a time of conscious avoidance of this forum, almost forcing themselves to go and do something radically different. We can all get so bogged down in metabolic minutiae.

We're all works in progress and a lot of it is ultimately guesswork or strong suspicion, rather than definitive fact. I definitely hear you about trying to be more effortless.
 

rsandy

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The CP is an indicator of how high your CO2 is. The higher your CO2 gets, the better your body oxygenation. When you take your CP, you are getting an indication of when your brain is detecting that you need to breath, and hence, you can measure of your body oxygen. The higher your body oxygen, the longer it will take for your brain to send you the impulse that you need to breath. Prof Buteyko could casually go 2 minutes 40 seconds without needing to take a breath at all.

 

yerrag

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Hi everyone, first post here. I've been reading a lot about Buteyko breathing lately. First of all, I don't doubt the benefits of it, but I don't understand the value of the Control Pause time as a metric for progress.

First of all, the need to breathe is triggered by an accumulation of CO2 above the set point. This means that the control pause will be higher when your CO2 is low relative to your set point. For example hyperventilating a la Wim Hof prior to the breath hold will allow you to reach a much higher retention time.

Doesn't this mean that if you have a high CP you didn't just raise your CO2 set point, but you also normally over breathe in a way that your CO2 at any given time (except during Buteyko practice) is much lower than your set point?

Wouldn't it be more desirable to raise the set point and also have a shorter control pause meaning that your normal CO2 saturation is much higher overall and closer to your set point?

Is there a flaw in my logic, and if there isn't, is there any other metric to track progress that does not suffer from this issue?

Thanks.
I've taken a Buteyko course before but haven't practiced it in a long while, being that I was trying to lower my blood pressure and instead it increased it. Lowering blood pressure was the draw that made me take the course. The instructor could not explain why, even after checking with fellow instructors. It's been years already, and since then I've learned more about CO2 and acid-base balance, and I've gotten to understand Buteyko more.

Before I go on, I want to say I don't understand the idea of a set point, and perhaps I don't because it must be part of how you understand Buteyko which I don't relate to. Just the same, I'll go on without relating to the set point you talked of.

I see Buteyko as a way to increase CO2 content in the blood/ecf. It is done by increasing CO2 retention by holding one's breath as long as one can take it. And the CP is the way to gauge your progress in the practice of Buteyko. The longer you can hold the control pause, the more CO2 has built up within your blood. The reason I think CP is short is because there's poor tissue oxygenation, and long because there's good tissue oxygenation. With good tissue oxygenation, less lactic acid is produced as sugar is being metabolized. Because there is less acidity to build up before the blood pH become acidic enough to trigger the automatic action of breathing, it takes longer for the breath to be held. This explains why the longer the CP is, the more more CO2 is in the blood.

If one doesn't know Buteyko, one can use a $300 device called Resperate, which basically guides a person to breathe slower, at a measured pace, in order to build up carbon dioxide in the blood. Another device, which I have, would have me breathe a mixture of air and CO2 which I could vary as far as CO2 percentage is, and I usually set it at 5%. This allows me to increase the CO2 content in blood as well. Having more CO2 in the blood aids in the tissue oxygenation, as low CO2 means too little oxygen is released by hemoglobin in blood, and this leads to low tissue oxygenation, hypoxia, and causes sugar metabolism to go on very inefficiently, energy productiion-wise, and produces lactic acid than carbon dioxide.

I the reason why Buteyko advises having a coach is because one can't overdo the practice of Buteyko. If a person has very acidic blood, he may easily overdo his exercises and accumulate too much CO2, which would increase the acidity of the blood to a dangerous level. Having a coach nearby would keep this from happening.

The way Buteyko works is that the regular practice of Buteyko would gradually increase the CO2 content in the blood. This process is gradual because practicing Buteyko will increase blood acidity (or increase blood pH). The acidity increase should not be too high each time, and by that I mean it is tolerated as it is within the physiological range by allowed before going into shock. So, this could mean the blood pH could drop to 7.37 from 7.39 after practicing Buteyko, and the body won't be forced to breathe at a rapid rate in order to expel the CO2. Breathing out expels CO2, and CO2 in the carbonic acid form in blood is acidic, and as more CO2 is breathed out, more carbonic acid is converted to CO2 to be breathed out. Note that 7.4 is the optimal pH of blood, but there is a physiological range that is allowed, which varies, depending on which book you read, but I've seen it as 7.35-7.45 in some books, and 7.37-7.43 in others. When the pH is within this range but not optimal, it is called acidosis or alkalosis (on the alkaline side). And when it is outside range, it is called acidemia or alkalemia.

The way Buteyko works is that by making the blood become acidotic (from acidosis, if there's such a world) without needing to have the lungs exhale to expel the CO2, it makes the body uses the kidneys to lower acidity. The lungs are a quick way to reduce acidity, by expelling CO2, but the lungs can only expel CO2 to reduce acidity. And it uses the kidneys to reduce acidity- but not by expelling CO2, but by excreting acids. So whatever acids are in the blood other than carbonic acid, the kidneys excrete. This could be lactic acid and keto acids, or could also be hydrochloric acid (from intake of say magnesium chloride), or sulfuric acid (from intake of meat). Whatever is causing the blood to be acidotic, the kidneys will excrete them in trying to get blood to achieve the optimal pH.

But the kidneys' response is much slower than the lungs' response. It doesn't immediately balance any acid-base imbalance. Say your blood pH is 7;37 as a result of just practicing Buteyko, it could take a day for the kidney to adjust that to 7.39, the point at which you started before practicing Buteyko. But your blood would now contain more CO2 than when you began the Buteyko session yesterday. If only slightly. But as you practice more, all these steady small increases of CO2 in your blood will add up, and you will observe the increase in having higher CP.

In case you're wondering as to why Buteyko didn't help me, I think my blood acidity was already acidic, but acidotic, and the slight increase in acidity by practicing Buteyko made my kidneys work harder to excrete the acidity. And since my high blood pressure condition relates to inflammation in my kidneys, having my kidneys work harder probably meant the inflammation increased, and with increased inflammation, for some reason I cannot explain, more acid is being produced.
 

rsandy

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The devices are a waste of time. Used them for years (Frolov, DIY, etc), and got nowhere. I made 0 progress for 4 years doing Buteyko daily. Then did another course, and started increasing my CP.

If you can increase your CP, the healing is amazing.

For people like me who were insanely sick (my CP was 4-6 for years), it's critical to engage the bodies internal capacity to produce CO2. Physical exercise is critical. Walking for 2-3 hours per day and breathwork for 2 hours per day is simply what it takes to get out of the death state.

I myself do much more now I am healing (8 - 10 hours walking daily + 3 hours breath work). I was damn near dead, and now am coming to life. After every other approach, including Peat's work, basically did nothing for me, I now know what it is to be human. Buteyko is truly amazing.
 

yerrag

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For people like me who were insanely sick (my CP was 4-6 for years), it's critical to engage the bodies internal capacity to produce CO2.
Yes. Buteyko isn't really needed when the body can generate plenty of CO2 because there's a good sugar metabolism. Certainly it helps that not too much is retained when one can breath properly. Other factors to consider are whether the blood is carrying enough oxygen and whether sugar is being metabolized efficiently.

Physical exercise is critical. Walking for 2-3 hours per day and breathwork for 2 hours per day is simply what it takes to get out of the death state.
It's context-specific. Glad that helped you, but not everyone needs to do that though.
I myself do much more now I am healing (8 - 10 hours walking daily + 3 hours breath work). I was damn near dead, and now am coming to life. After every other approach, including Peat's work, basically did nothing for me, I now know what it is to be human. Buteyko is truly amazing.
You've found what works for you in your context. Peat's ideas may not work for you. Some people can't handle sugar very well, and they have to find out the reason for that. They can't just jump into Peat's sugar train from the get go. Unfortunately, that wasn't clearly explained by Peat. Peat's nutritional ideas work fully on a person with optimal sugar metabolism only.
 

rsandy

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Yes. Buteyko isn't really needed when the body can generate plenty of CO2 because there's a good sugar metabolism. Certainly it helps that not too much is retained when one can breath properly. Other factors to consider are whether the blood is carrying enough oxygen and whether sugar is being metabolized efficiently.


It's context-specific. Glad that helped you, but not everyone needs to do that though.

You've found what works for you in your context. Peat's ideas may not work for you. Some people can't handle sugar very well, and they have to find out the reason for that. They can't just jump into Peat's sugar train from the get go. Unfortunately, that wasn't clearly explained by Peat. Peat's nutritional ideas work fully on a person with optimal sugar metabolism only.

Firstly, thanks for your thoughtful posts in this thread. I don't dispute some of the things you've said, but I would respectfully challenge one claim:

"Buteyko isn't really needed when the body can generate plenty of CO2 because there's a good sugar metabolism"

I think that statement presupposes far too much than could be justified. Furthermore, it discounts how profoundly powerful Buteyko is for producing good sugar metabolism. Buteyko may potentially be a real bridge into Ray's work.

Consider that the average CP 100 years ago was 40+, and even 50-60 years ago was 35. Indeed, much of Ray's anecdotes and case studies are related to people who most likely had CPs of around 35.

Today's average CP is 14. This is far from an organism ready to enter a regenerative state....People are sick, the species is not doing well, and we need to build the platform for Ray's ideas to even have the capacity to work.

There has been an immense decline in the vigour of metabolism and tissue oxygenation, and along with factors that Ray highlights as explanatory, I think the complete domestication of the human species plays quite an important role, and as I would posit that Buteyko is needed to establish a proper physiological foundation for high energy metabolism, I think it is short-sighted to discount it.

Consider how the basic nature of social life has changed since the 1970s, the nature of work has become less physical for many, widespread proliferation of cars and the level of comfort many people now live can be considered causal factors in the dire state of the average CP. All of these factors deepen breathing. Add to this the complexity and precariousness of modernity, and you have a recipe for sickness and the destruction of the human.

Ray is of course fascinating, IMO he is one of the greatest minds of the past 100 years, but there is a big gap in theory and practice.

Fundamentally, I agree that Ray's ideas work only on a person with optimal sugar metabolism, and thank you for acknowledging this. With that said, Buteyko breathing normalisation is one of the most potent factors in achieving proper sugar metabolism IMO.

I am working hard to get a very high CP, and am going to use this as a bridge to experiment with Ray's ideas more deeply. Been experimenting with all of this for 5 years, and am only making progress now thanks to Buteyko.
 

Heidi

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Great post. You highlight a great point too: if you're seriously unwell, then cast the widest possible net and try out everything you can to get better. FWIW I'm stoked that Buteyko breathing helped you so much.

I've noticed with myself there have been times when I've gotten too caught up in "health" and devoured too many articles and threads, and without realizing, I've ended up feeling like everything needs fixing or addressing. I'm sure we're all susceptible to that. I think some forum members who consistently write about poor health across multiple fronts, would benefit enormously from a time of conscious avoidance of this forum, almost forcing themselves to go and do something radically different. We can all get so bogged down in metabolic minutiae.

We're all works in progress and a lot of it is ultimately guesswork or strong suspicion, rather than definitive fact. I definitely hear you about trying to be more effortless.
Thanks Jem Oz. I'm just glad to have finally found a few things that reliably help. One needs to be open to and spend a good amount of time researching and trying things out. But then one needs to be able to deeply trust oneself and pay close attention. I made some big mistakes by following some "experts" or people who seemed to know more than me. What works for one person may be different for another. Hope you are finding and getting what you need!
 

yerrag

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Firstly, thanks for your thoughtful posts in this thread. I don't dispute some of the things you've said, but I would respectfully challenge one claim:

"Buteyko isn't really needed when the body can generate plenty of CO2 because there's a good sugar metabolism"

I think that statement presupposes far too much than could be justified. Furthermore, it discounts how profoundly powerful Buteyko is for producing good sugar metabolism. Buteyko may potentially be a real bridge into Ray's work.

Consider that the average CP 100 years ago was 40+, and even 50-60 years ago was 35. Indeed, much of Ray's anecdotes and case studies are related to people who most likely had CPs of around 35.

Today's average CP is 14. This is far from an organism ready to enter a regenerative state....People are sick, the species is not doing well, and we need to build the platform for Ray's ideas to even have the capacity to work.

There has been an immense decline in the vigour of metabolism and tissue oxygenation, and along with factors that Ray highlights as explanatory, I think the complete domestication of the human species plays quite an important role, and as I would posit that Buteyko is needed to establish a proper physiological foundation for high energy metabolism, I think it is short-sighted to discount it.

Consider how the basic nature of social life has changed since the 1970s, the nature of work has become less physical for many, widespread proliferation of cars and the level of comfort many people now live can be considered causal factors in the dire state of the average CP. All of these factors deepen breathing. Add to this the complexity and precariousness of modernity, and you have a recipe for sickness and the destruction of the human.

Ray is of course fascinating, IMO he is one of the greatest minds of the past 100 years, but there is a big gap in theory and practice.

Fundamentally, I agree that Ray's ideas work only on a person with optimal sugar metabolism, and thank you for acknowledging this. With that said, Buteyko breathing normalisation is one of the most potent factors in achieving proper sugar metabolism IMO.

I am working hard to get a very high CP, and am going to use this as a bridge to experiment with Ray's ideas more deeply. Been experimenting with all of this for 5 years, and am only making progress now thanks to Buteyko.
Those are all very good observations, and thank you for acknowledging our agreement on many points, which are the more substantive points.

My experience, though, with regards to the practice of Buteyko and with the emphasis on walking (and exercise in various forms) would lead me to value more the balance achieved by optimal sugar metabolism and the downstream effects on general health, than the need for exercise to the extent it is emphasized in the current culture of health.

Ray Peat doesn't do much exercising, as one interview of him made me think he was being facetious when he said he only did a certain exercise once in ten years. I laughed because I have been on a 10-yr (and running) hiatus on my regular exercise routine, if only to prove to myself if exercise is that so important. I was motivated by general medical advice, a pop culture thing for sure, that seeks to explain poor health due to lack of exercise, if not genetics and age. Little mention of the food and nutritional lifestyle practiced daily, much less the Silver- bullet approaches in the form of prescription drugs and vaccines that doctors push.

I did not get obese, and my health improved. My blood sugar regulation became better, in fact optimal. My energy levels improved and my sleep improved. My allergic rhinitis disappeared, leaving me with no perceived allergies. I can drink regular Coke guilt-free, and I can eat sweet sugar-laces treat with no feeling of bad effects on me, where before I would become hungry or sleepy or develop symptoms--runny nose, hiccups, coughing-that would develop into a fever the next morning. A lot of exercising can't do that more me. I used to run a lot. Not the marathon kind, but it would be around 5k.

It didn't prove exercising is bad, but it proved to me improving my sugar metabolism was job 1 above all things. I would do a DIY 5hr blood glucose tolerance test, for me the gold standard of testing for blood sugar regulation, and looking at it I would know the state of blood sugar regulation I have. And it correlates to my feeling of health.

Had I not had this test, I would not have realized how impaired my health was. It led me to have eleven mercury fillings removed and undergo chelation to remove mercury from my system. Once removed, my blood sugar regulation improved greatly. Since that time, which is twenty years and running, I have have no fever nor flu where before that, I was having twice a year of either fever and flu.

One benefit of not exercising too much I had was that it gave me more time to focus on learning about how to improve my health, and learning from aray Peat and from this forum added further to my healing.

I'm a very hypertensive individual. 200/150 is not even the highest lately. I'm taking no prescription drugs. And I have no health issues, nary a headache nor a tummy ache. Hair is thinning, libido so so, but that is the tradeoff for letting the body adapt to whatever is causing my high blood pressure. Why let stupid doctors override the wisdom of the body? But rest assured, an optimal sugar metabolism and a well-varied food lifestyle that assures me I'm free from deficiencies, gives me the energy to adapt optimally to health issues. That's why optimal sugar metabolism is job 1 for me. I understand perfectly the body in adapting will concentrate more on survival and cosmetic issues are less important, hence the thinning hair.

Had I not had the good fortune of removing the mercury toxicity, I would be hypoxemic--meaning my blood would carry little oxygen. My oxygen saturation values could be at most 90%, and I would be chronically deficient in oxygen going to my tissues, and with that I would always be low on CO2, and high in lactic acid. And this would explain why, pre-mercury detox, I would tire out running for a short distance of 1k, muscles already sore from lactic acid accumulating it them. After my mercury detox, I could easily run 5k with a large portion being steep uphill climb, even without much training.

One thing I do that I learned from Buteyko is to always close my mouth. With good sugar metabolism and high CO2 production, and helped by this habit of closing my mouth, I do not need to practice as much Buteyko. Or maybe I would not even need to.

Remember that Buteyko is a therapy, and therapies are for people with a condition. We were not born with a need to practice Buteyko. Buteyko is a therapy to assist those of us, who for one reason or another, suffer from low CO2 in their blood.

Buteyko can help in those situations, but I think of it as a crutch only. To get read of a crutch, my body has to heal. But I have to know how to heal it, so it can be free of a crutch.

My example of mercury toxicity is just one of many that causes me to have poor sugar metabolism. That is a major cause for my poor poor health. I found the big banana, so to speak, and it made the biggest difference for me. From there, I've made other improvements, but without this one, it would still be a slog.

I now ask, how would you approach your issues now? Would my experience allow you to approach it in a different way? Do you agree with my view that Buteyko, as helpful as it has been to you, is still a crutch that you should eventually discard?
 

Heidi

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199
I've taken a Buteyko course before but haven't practiced it in a long while, being that I was trying to lower my blood pressure and instead it increased it. Lowering blood pressure was the draw that made me take the course. The instructor could not explain why, even after checking with fellow instructors. It's been years already, and since then I've learned more about CO2 and acid-base balance, and I've gotten to understand Buteyko more.

Before I go on, I want to say I don't understand the idea of a set point, and perhaps I don't because it must be part of how you understand Buteyko which I don't relate to. Just the same, I'll go on without relating to the set point you talked of.

I see Buteyko as a way to increase CO2 content in the blood/ecf. It is done by increasing CO2 retention by holding one's breath as long as one can take it. And the CP is the way to gauge your progress in the practice of Buteyko. The longer you can hold the control pause, the more CO2 has built up within your blood. The reason I think CP is short is because there's poor tissue oxygenation, and long because there's good tissue oxygenation. With good tissue oxygenation, less lactic acid is produced as sugar is being metabolized. Because there is less acidity to build up before the blood pH become acidic enough to trigger the automatic action of breathing, it takes longer for the breath to be held. This explains why the longer the CP is, the more more CO2 is in the blood.

If one doesn't know Buteyko, one can use a $300 device called Resperate, which basically guides a person to breathe slower, at a measured pace, in order to build up carbon dioxide in the blood. Another device, which I have, would have me breathe a mixture of air and CO2 which I could vary as far as CO2 percentage is, and I usually set it at 5%. This allows me to increase the CO2 content in blood as well. Having more CO2 in the blood aids in the tissue oxygenation, as low CO2 means too little oxygen is released by hemoglobin in blood, and this leads to low tissue oxygenation, hypoxia, and causes sugar metabolism to go on very inefficiently, energy productiion-wise, and produces lactic acid than carbon dioxide.

I the reason why Buteyko advises having a coach is because one can't overdo the practice of Buteyko. If a person has very acidic blood, he may easily overdo his exercises and accumulate too much CO2, which would increase the acidity of the blood to a dangerous level. Having a coach nearby would keep this from happening.

The way Buteyko works is that the regular practice of Buteyko would gradually increase the CO2 content in the blood. This process is gradual because practicing Buteyko will increase blood acidity (or increase blood pH). The acidity increase should not be too high each time, and by that I mean it is tolerated as it is within the physiological range by allowed before going into shock. So, this could mean the blood pH could drop to 7.37 from 7.39 after practicing Buteyko, and the body won't be forced to breathe at a rapid rate in order to expel the CO2. Breathing out expels CO2, and CO2 in the carbonic acid form in blood is acidic, and as more CO2 is breathed out, more carbonic acid is converted to CO2 to be breathed out. Note that 7.4 is the optimal pH of blood, but there is a physiological range that is allowed, which varies, depending on which book you read, but I've seen it as 7.35-7.45 in some books, and 7.37-7.43 in others. When the pH is within this range but not optimal, it is called acidosis or alkalosis (on the alkaline side). And when it is outside range, it is called acidemia or alkalemia.

The way Buteyko works is that by making the blood become acidotic (from acidosis, if there's such a world) without needing to have the lungs exhale to expel the CO2, it makes the body uses the kidneys to lower acidity. The lungs are a quick way to reduce acidity, by expelling CO2, but the lungs can only expel CO2 to reduce acidity. And it uses the kidneys to reduce acidity- but not by expelling CO2, but by excreting acids. So whatever acids are in the blood other than carbonic acid, the kidneys excrete. This could be lactic acid and keto acids, or could also be hydrochloric acid (from intake of say magnesium chloride), or sulfuric acid (from intake of meat). Whatever is causing the blood to be acidotic, the kidneys will excrete them in trying to get blood to achieve the optimal pH.

But the kidneys' response is much slower than the lungs' response. It doesn't immediately balance any acid-base imbalance. Say your blood pH is 7;37 as a result of just practicing Buteyko, it could take a day for the kidney to adjust that to 7.39, the point at which you started before practicing Buteyko. But your blood would now contain more CO2 than when you began the Buteyko session yesterday. If only slightly. But as you practice more, all these steady small increases of CO2 in your blood will add up, and you will observe the increase in having higher CP.

In case you're wondering as to why Buteyko didn't help me, I think my blood acidity was already acidic, but acidotic, and the slight increase in acidity by practicing Buteyko made my kidneys work harder to excrete the acidity. And since my high blood pressure condition relates to inflammation in my kidneys, having my kidneys work harder probably meant the inflammation increased, and with increased inflammation, for some reason I cannot explain, more acid is being produced.
Thanks for taking the time to give such a good detailed explanation. Have you found a way to lower your blood pressure? What methods do you use now to get enough CO2? Do you think you would go back to Buteyko breathing when/if your blood pressure issues resolve? What is your take on the benefit of developing a really high control pause? I don't have a good sugar metabolism and have only been able to implement a little bit of Peat's suggestions. (I didn't see your last post above before posting this one. Sounds like your blood pressure is still high.)
 
Last edited:

yerrag

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You're welcome!

Have you found a way to lower your blood pressure?
I hate to say I'm close to it, as it's been an endless refrain over the years that I don't even believe myself anymore. So until I'm definitely there, I won't say so. Not that I'm superstitious and would jinx it, but all I can say is I'm getting there, and along the way I've come to understand the way my body works as I check off each possible cause of many, and my confidence level in having identified the cause is high - low level infection from periodontal infection over the years, and the buildup of immune complexes built around the periodontal bacteria - in my kidneys' glomerular capillaries, and the resulting inflammation. This results in a chornic inflammatory response from the immune system. Now I'm trying to keep the inflammatory response down as well as figure out a way to slowly kill the bacteria and remove the immune complexes in the kidneys. In short, I know the cause but figuring out how to fix this I'm still figuring it out. But as what I've learned from dealing with problems, knowing the cause is already halfway to solving the problem.

Do you think you would go back to Buteyko breathing when/if your blood pressure issues resolve?
I may not need it anymore as already, my acid-base balance is manageable, often hitting optimal value when I'm taking plenty of minerals from fruits and supplements, as the infectious and inflammatory condition are being resolved. When resolved, I would just need less mineral intake, and with a good sugar metabolism already, I would be producing and retaining carbon dioxide that there's no need to practice Buteyko.

What is your take on the benefit of developing a really high control pause?
It's a good sign. I would be able to hold my breath underwater for a longer period. I would even be able to adjust to higher elevations more quickly, and if I'm super good at it, and if I were a mountain climber, I could test my limits and climb high mountains and come back down without the need for supplemental oxygen. And with good acid-base balance that I believe comes with having a long control pause, it would help make my heart pump more efficiently, as calcium, as it goes in and out of the cell, would provide the ionic gradient to drive the contraction of heart muscles. And with that, calcification won't happen in my organs because calcium does not accumulate inside the cell, as it gets carried out into the ecf each time the mitochondria produces carbon dioxide, as the carbonic acid will bind to the calcium and transport it out of the cell.

Also, I would have more endurance when running long distance, because there's not much buildup of lactic acid. And also, with the optimal pH is the idea of having a healthful terrain, which provides a homeostatis that keeps cells from getting deranged and turning into cancer cells.
 
Last edited:

Uselis

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Feb 5, 2015
Messages
233
The devices are a waste of time. Used them for years (Frolov, DIY, etc), and got nowhere. I made 0 progress for 4 years doing Buteyko daily. Then did another course, and started increasing my CP.

If you can increase your CP, the healing is amazing.

For people like me who were insanely sick (my CP was 4-6 for years), it's critical to engage the bodies internal capacity to produce CO2. Physical exercise is critical. Walking for 2-3 hours per day and breathwork for 2 hours per day is simply what it takes to get out of the death state.

I myself do much more now I am healing (8 - 10 hours walking daily + 3 hours breath work). I was damn near dead, and now am coming to life. After every other approach, including Peat's work, basically did nothing for me, I now know what it is to be human. Buteyko is truly amazing.
Glad you're doing well ☺ I personally got out of "death state" with nose breathing walking. 8 - 10h is impressive though! How many miles/km you average on foot daily? Precisely for such reason I want to start working as a postman ha ha.

Keep up the good work!
 

Heidi

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
199
You're welcome!


I hate to say I'm close to it, as it's been an endless refrain over the years that I don't even believe myself anymore. So until I'm definitely there, I won't say so. Not that I'm superstitious and would jinx it, but all I can say is I'm getting there, and along the way I've come to understand the way my body works as I check off each possible cause of many, and my confidence level in having identified the cause is high - low level infection from periodontal infection over the years, and the buildup of immune complexes built around the periodontal bacteria - in my kidneys' glomerular capillaries, and the resulting inflammation. This results in a chornic inflammatory response from the immune system. Now I'm trying to keep the inflammatory response down as well as figure out a way to slowly kill the bacteria and remove the immune complexes in the kidneys. In short, I know the cause but figuring out how to fix this I'm still figuring it out. But as what I've learned from dealing with problems, knowing the cause is already halfway to solving the problem.


I may not need it anymore as already, my acid-base balance is manageable, often hitting optimal value when I'm taking plenty of minerals from fruits and supplements, as the infectious and inflammatory condition are being resolved. When resolved, I would just need less mineral intake, and with a good sugar metabolism already, I would be producing and retaining carbon dioxide that there's no need to practice Buteyko.


It's a good sign. I would be able to hold my breath underwater for a longer period. I would even be able to adjust to higher elevations more quickly, and if I'm super good at it, and if I were a mountain climber, I could test my limits and climb high mountains and come back down without the need for supplemental oxygen. And with good acid-base balance that I believe comes with having a long control pause, it would help make my heart pump more efficiently, as calcium, as it goes in and out of the cell, would provide the ionic gradient to drive the contraction of heart muscles. And with that, calcification won't happen in my organs because calcium does not accumulate inside the cell, as it gets carried out into the ecf each time the mitochondria produces carbon dioxide, as the carbonic acid will bind to the calcium and transport it out of the cell.

Also, I would have more endurance when running long distance, because there's not much buildup of lactic acid. And also, with the optimal pH is the idea of having a healthful terrain, which provides a homeostatis that keeps cells from getting deranged and turning into cancer cells.
I am glad to hear that you have made good progress with your blood pressure. It seems like dedication and persistence gradually pay off, though it may take so much longer and be way more complicated than we initially thought. Hope that you have full success with it soon.

It has taken me such a long time to even be able to identify some major underlying health problems. And then even longer to figure out what works. I have had a major parasite problem that did not show up on multiple lab tests at different labs, even when I sent very obvious visual evidence. The medical system in the US is really messed up and hard to get prescriptions for what one needs. I have made long slow process in healing this, but am still in the thick of it. Hopefully healing it more fully will make a big difference with breathing and CO2 retention.

So has your control pause increased a lot due to fixing your sugar metabolism and acid-base balance? Do you have a reasonably good control pause now?
 
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