An introduction to recovering from Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome

Overcoming mild, moderate or severe CHS is a complicated process and requires commitment and lots of positivity.

The route to recovery is very much based upon breathing education.

The breathing centre of all CHS sufferers I’ve helped had become unbalanced, out of sync and people were living/operating in sympathetic nervous system mode.

When questioned, many were unsure what normal breathing – the concept, actually was.

So what is ‘normal’? Light, quiet, effortless, soft, through the nose, tummy-based, rhythmic, gently paused on the exhale.

There are three levels of breathing:

So softly that the person next to you can’t hear you breathe

Softly so you can’t hear yourself breathe

So softly that you cannot FEEL yourself breathe

Before identifying an outline protocol for people with CHS, it’s worth listing what the typical traits of Dysfunctional Breathing/over breathing are:

Mouth breathing

Audible breathing during rest

Regular sighing, sniffing, yawning with big breaths

Large breaths prior to talking

Lots of upper chest & visible movement

The causes of over breathing are often:

Processed foods/overeating

Lack of exercise

Excessive talking

Stress

Habitual big breaths

High temperatures in houses

Asthma

Genetic pre-disposition

As part of beginning a ‘retraining of the breath’ (largely what’s required) we need to measure a person’s breathing to ascertain it’s efficiency.

How do we do this?

Via the Control Pause, i.e. a comfortable breath hold:

Take a small silent breath in through your nose

Allow a small silent breath out through your nose

Hold your nose with your fingers preventing air from entering your lungs

Time the number of seconds until you feel the first distinct desire to breathe in.

Once we know how to measure our breathing, we need to learn and commit to the breathing exercises best suited to helping CHS sufferers recover.

In my experience as a practitioner, this is through the Buteyko method.

The safest that can be shared without supervision is the ‘many small breath holds’ technique as follows:

Exhale through the nose

Pinch your nose with fingers and thumb

Breath hold for 3-5 seconds

Resume breathing for ten seconds

Repeat for up to six repetitions.

There are also some key Lifestyle tips worth adopting to help build and maintain wellness.

These include:

  • Practise nasal breathing at all times
  • Diet – keep it unprocessed and non-beige
  • Tongue Posture – keep it on the spot and pallet (ensure you don’t have a tongue tie)
  • Exercise, if only mildly, mouth closed!
  • Eliminate sighing, sniffing, big yawning, deep breathing
  • Overthinking – eradicate negative thoughts by focussing on the breath
  • Use carbonated water when enduring a talkative day! It replaces the lost CO2.
  • Technology – focus on the breath, avoiding chest and nose breathing during laptop/mobile phone use
  • Sleep – put your brain to bed two hours before yourself
  • Live more in the parasympathetic.
  • Learn mindfulness.

Further information is available via joel@breathren.co.uk

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