The Oxygen Advantage / Buteyko experience and results

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hi all,

I have noted that many here have read and practiced The Oxygen Advantage and/or Buteyko breathing. I have started myself about a month ago and have been experiencing good results, so I thought maybe we can share our experiences here.

My first impression with the exercises is that it is not easy to know if Im performing them properly. For starters, I am not sure if I am measuring my Control Pause (or BOLT) consistently. I started a log a few days back and I think its helping, I have been obtaining consistent Morning CP of about 24 seconds, which seems to make sense. Even though I am not sure if it is a proper CP measurement, it is consistent in the way I measure it, so it lets me track progress. My original CP about a month back was of about 14" I think, since I didnt keep a log those days. So Im quite happy with my progress. I have also raised the number of steps I can hold my breath while walking from 15-20 the first days to about 70 now, which I think is good progress as well.

One thing I have felt related to weight training which is quite intriguing: Every time I do the walking breath holds, I feel a strong heat/feeling in the muscles I worked the day before that are a bit sore. For instance, if I did a lot of swings the day before, I will feel heat in my hamstrings. I dont feel it in any other muscles in the body, only the ones I have worked. So it makes me wonder if oxygen is being delivered to these muscles? Maybe it will assist with the recovery.

Unfortunately there are no instructors here in Argentina, because Im seriously considering a course or sessions with an instructor. An instructor is coming in November to give a course, so Ill probably do that, or maybe through skype.

Ill tag a few members that have read the book and tried the method @Harald Motz @Tobias Wissmueller @Wesker11 @wespom9 @Steve Freides @Kyrinov
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
One more thing I have experienced which is very relevant: My apetite has reduced a lot, and in a good sense: I dont feel desire to over eat or to eat bad foods. For instance yesterday I went for pizza with friends and I ate half what I would have eaten in other occasion, with no effort whatsoever. I lost about 3 kg in the last month.
 

Tobias Wissmueller

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Oscar Have just finished the book and will now start to incorporate the breathe light to breathe right exercise into my daily schedule. It's difficult to remind myself, since my head is always somewhere else.

Same with holding the breath during walking. I walk quite a lot during the day, but most of the time my mind is occupied with other stuff. Unfortunately, this stuff is more important then my little breathing adventures.

If anyone knows a good way of incorporating GTG-style breathing habits over the course of a day, please let me know.

Still sleeping with tape over the mouth, at least most of the nights. Some nights I wake up with a strong hunger for air because my nose is partially blocked. It is spring time now and I have to fight against the pollen. Usually I remove the tape then and sleep without.

Also have a problem with consistent measurements of the BOLT score. Most days I was somewhere in between 15 to 20, then I had a day where I was suddenly at 30. It is very tricky in my opinion to always do it correctly.
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hi @Tobias Wissmueller, I am far from being a consistence example, I have a month old baby girl so you can imagine. This is what I´ve been doing:

- I go by bike to the office doing breath holds or breath light. Its only 15 minutes but it helps.
- Whenever I walk I do breath holds, kind of the "high altitude" from the book.
- Before lunch I walk around the block doing breath holds. This cools me down and asures I stop eating as soon as I am no longer hungry.
- I made a DIY Frolov breathing device. I´ve been using it before bed or before dinner for 15-20 min, whatever schedule permits. Only for the last 3 days so Im not so sure about the results yet ( so far I feel a similar thing while using it as when doing breath holds, which is an increase in bowel movements. So I guess it works).
- While exercising I always breath through the nose. Im also doing the breathing exercise from S&S, where you breathe half the number of reps of the set: Im doing swings 10x10, so in the rest intervals I try to breathe 5 times.

This is far from the 2 hours typically recommended during the first months of Buteyko practice, but is the best I can do for now.

About your breathing at night, I have a similar problem. Even though I tape my mouth, I overbreathe through the nose. I always wake up with runny/stuffy nose, and I sometimes find my nose partially blocked if I wake up at night. My theory is that I overbreathe while sleeping, so my body creates mucus to try to reduce the gas exchange and loss of CO2.

In order to solve this Im doing a few things: Have dinner early and light, do breathing exercises before bed, and avoid sleeping on my back. I think it is all helping since today was the first time I didnt blow my nose in the whole day :)
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
I won't pretend to have any in depth knowledge on the physiology behind it. Still working to understand that myself. I don't practice as often as when I initially started, though I was consistent for a good month with it. I check my BOLT score a few times a week in the AM, its usually 25-30. My morning RHR is always between 48-54.I can hold my breath and walk 40-45 paces comfortably at any point in the day (except when vigorously exercising of course). I have found my constant sniffling has decreased, although I can't say for sure the changing of seasons wasn't a factor. Will have to monitor next winter/spring.

I work at a gym, so when I'm scheduled to be on the floor walking around seeing if people need help I do some breath holds. Nothing structured as the book says, but practice nonetheless. Very GTG like. I meditate often in the morning, experimenting with different breathing styles. I gravitate toward "breathe light to breathe right" practice.

I have never tried sleeping with tape over my mouth. Lying down is when I do get most congested, and honestly it kind of frightens me to block my nose further. May try it for a nap first before committing further.
 

Tobias Wissmueller

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Oscar Forgot to mention the nose unblocking exercise. Did it couple of times, also during night and I think it really works. Also sometimes during the day when my nose starts to get blocked I force myself and continue to breathe through the nose and wait a little after the exhalation. After a while it gets much better. But of course, this only works if the nose is not blocked completely.
 

Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Yup, the nose unblocking works great for me too as well. I found all the walking exercises easier to do than the ones sitting.
 

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
I'll chime in here... Steve is far more well-versed in the practice than I am, and he introduced me to the Buteyko method in late 15. At the time, I had a (probably incorrect) CP of 25 and VSB seemed difficult my first time out. Since I had accomplished unconscious nasal and diaphragmatic breathing earlier, I figured I was good, and, wasn't ready to "hear" him.

Let's get some language straight before I continue. McKeown boxed the Butekyo method to sell it to athletes, so he uses different terms:

-CP (control pause) = BOLT score
-VSB (very shallow breathing) = breath lite to breathe rite
- holds /pauses = a breath hold upon exhalation

Fast forward to a few months ago when allergies turned to infection and I coughed one night like when I had the croup as a young boy. My CP the next day, as might be expected, was 10. I read everything I could on this method, including my and Steve's old emails. And... go...

I took my CP to 60+ in about 2 months. My CP this morning was 72. Far larger than that, everything about my life improved: anxiety, mood, mental acuity, production level, running pace, etc... to include what already has been observed by some here.

If I can communicate the most important thing about this, it is that you need to be process-oriented, and not concentrate on the CP, or anything else measurable. Get into the practice, your relaxation, your meditation, etc... and everything else will improve... it is sure to follow.

I do at least one session per day and it lasts for about an hour. Its a hodgepodge freestyle sort of thing that I feel into, and it works for me. Some days, I get in an additional shorter session; most, I don't. However, my personality being such that I immerse myself into new and interesting things, I commonly informally monitor and adjust my breathing throughout the day. On my last long drive, I spent over two and half hours in VSB. Its why I think I improved so quickly, and wouldn't expect the same rate of improvement from most others.... but you will improve.

I am not sure if I am measuring my Control Pause (or BOLT) consistently.
This is less important when you first begin then later when you have figured out your body. For now, just try to make the feeling consistent, and a good guide is that you don't need a deep breath when your CP is over.

One thing I have felt related to weight training which is quite intriguing: Every time I do the walking breath holds, I feel a strong heat/feeling in the muscles I worked the day before that are a bit sore. For instance, if I did a lot of swings the day before, I will feel heat in my hamstrings. I dont feel it in any other muscles in the body, only the ones I have worked. So it makes me wonder if oxygen is being delivered to these muscles? Maybe it will assist with the recovery.
I don't think they're related, but trying to figure out the "why" with breathing is even more difficult than with strength training. One thing I can say is that my ventilation rate comes back to rest within a breath or two after a large workload.

My apetite has reduced a lot, and in a good sense: I dont feel desire to over eat or to eat bad foods. For instance yesterday I went for pizza with friends and I ate half what I would have eaten in other occasion, with no effort whatsoever. I lost about 3 kg in the last month.
An extremely common report, and is not isolated to food. I have a theory, but it might as well be a fairy tale. But again, the theories matter not...

Same with holding the breath during walking. I walk quite a lot during the day, but most of the time my mind is occupied with other stuff. Unfortunately, this stuff is more important then my little breathing adventures
There is a reason why you are instructed to put your mask on before your childs, if your plane is in an emergency.

About your breathing at night, I have a similar problem. Even though I tape my mouth, I overbreathe through the nose.
This is always the case... your conscious breathing will take at night too, eventually. But it might always be higher at night. Don't worry about it.

Great discussion.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Thank you, Al.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I am open to accepting more students and what Al accomplished can be accomplished by anyone committed to improving their breathing and receiving all the benefits that has to offer. Al did it, I did it, and you can, too. It is truly life-changing.

-S-
 

Craig Fern

Double-Digit Post Count
For someone who knows nothing about these breathing techniques, would reading The Oxygen Advantage be a good starting point? Also, do these techniques ever help to control snoring?


thanks
 

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
I might suggest reading the O2 advantage, but focus in on "breathe lite to breathe right" as your practice and the BOLT score for your metric. Similar to learning swings or snatches, the best thing you can do is contact a teacher... the progression is much smoother and your teacher will help you to avoid the common mistakes you are making (will make), even though you read the chapter 19 times ;]

Generally, yes, it is supposed to help snoring. In my own experience, losing fat and breathing through my nose only (prior to Buteyko) cured my snoring. My wife has found some relief from both apnea and snoring even though she is quite inconsistent in her practice.
 

Craig Fern

Double-Digit Post Count
Al thanks so much for your quick response.

I'm fairly lean at 155 lbs at 5' 11' so I don't think its a weight issue. I definitely mouth breath at night due to a deviated septum that developed from a broken nose occurring in my teens. I have only recently developed the snoring issue over the past six months and have tried several available snoring products for the nose and mouth without much success.

I will definitely look into finding a teacher for these methods. Hopefully Steve Freides can take me on as a new student.

Craig
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Craig Fern, happy to talk to you about this - PM me here.

I also have a deviated septum, and also from a broken nose in my teens. When I was considering having it fixed about 10 years ago, I had xrays taken and saw the radiologist's report - it described my septum as "rather severely deviated." Mine happened because I took a forearm right to the nose during a pickup basketball game when I was guarding the local gym teacher who probably outweighed me by 100%. I had all the classic symptoms - black eyes, etc. - but for whatever reason, no one ever offered to take me to the doctor or hospital.

I have manage to move to mostly nose-only breathing while sleeping. The main take-away point for you is that a lot of what you learn to do while awake will carry over to what you do when you sleep, so improving your breathing during the day will, we hope, help with your breathing at night.

-S-
 

Craig Fern

Double-Digit Post Count
Steve,
I also injured my nose while playing basketball. Great to hear that it is possible to learn to nose breath even with this type of injury.

I will send you a PM shortly.

Craig
 

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Great thread. I've never heard of this particular breathing system. I've only gone as far as what I've learned in S&S and other similar sources, the diaphragmatic breathing. I have to say the discussion didn't quite grab me until I saw @aciampa 's unusually animated response, followed by @Steve Freides . So I ordered the book yesterday.

Like Craig and Steve, I'm a thin guy with a deviated septum, though my nose was never broken. I think it just grew that way. I've had my skull CAT scanned a couple of times and they show a fairly severe deviation, maybe 50% airflow capacity through the left nostril. My problem over the years has been severe sinus infections. The ENT's (ear, nose, throat) think the septum might be making them worse, or leading me down the road to more frequent infections, but they couldn't promise that surgery would help me so I've left it alone.

Anyway, I've never thought about it but I'm probably a mouth breather because of that. It's just easier to get oxygen. I was concerned the septum issue would preclude me from trying this out, but from Steve's own experience that appears to not be the case. I'm not expecting this to cure or prevent my sinus infections, but the quality of life improvements (more energy, better sleep) described herein sound enticing. Thanks!
 

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Thanks Steve, will do. And I'll also start with what Al mentioned, "breathe lite, breathe right" which I guess is from the book.
 
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