Are you prone to over-breathing, asks Joel Jelen?

Of the clients I’ve helped over the past 12 months, there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of people booking in and presenting with hyperventilation syndrome.

Hyperventilation or over-breathing (as described by Ira H Tilles MD, Kimberly A Sing MD, William C. Shiel Jr. MD, FACP, FACR in What is Hyperventilation 2018) is actually very common with estimates suggesting as many as 1 in 10 people are sufferers.

It can take hold due to a habit based on a stressful or hectic lifestyle, a nasal obstruction or asthma. Some people are known to have a genetic pre-disposition to the condition.

People who hyperventilate often do so by learning to breathe dysfunctionally out of habit (as inferred above) via their chest and mouth, breathing with a speed and volume in excess of what the body needs.

Aside from creating poor oxygenation of the body’s cells and tissues, experts maintain that over-breathing can be the underlying cause of more than 150 different conditions (Dr. Len McEwan).

The good news is that slowing down your breathing with the help of skilled guidance through breathing exercises is now becoming more widely available and recognised. The exercises not only regulate the amount of air breathed, but also help retrain people’s breathing (adapted from Patrick McKeown, Close Your Mouth).

I’ve met and helped many clients improve their mental and physical health through administering the exercises. With their commitment, it enables sufferers of this often debilitating condition to optimise the amount of air that reaches their alveoli…small sacs in the lungs that allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide creating a better uptake of oxygen.

The prognosis for sufferers is generally very good because the breathing exercises create wider improvements in the body’s respiratory centre, hence the term ‘re-training the breathing.’

The biggest challenge for breathing educators and people within the general population is awareness of the condition, which often goes undetected or misdiagnosed.

Reset undertakes a questionnaire with clients that assesses their breathing pattern with typical responses of the sufferer including air hunger, unreasonable breathlessness, the feeling of a restricted chest plus comments such “I don’t breathe enough” and “sometimes I have to remember to breathe.”

If you suspect chronic hyperventilation is a factor affecting you, family or friends, find out more along with how you can improve your health via

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Why Does Daddy Breathe Funny?

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