“Mountain Air” and Hypoxic Exercises
Exposure to the short-term hypoxia (the state of oxygen deficiency) is one of the key elements in the breathing technique with the Device. A longer exhale creates a short-term hypoxia, which results in more efficient oxygen use in the body. That is why people living in the mountain areas live much longer.
What are the benefits of the short-term hypoxia?
It has been observed that sessions of hypoxic breathing improve the mood, mental and physical work capacity, open reserve capillaries, add additional erythrocytes into the blood, increase the amount of circulating blood and the amount of blood circulation per minute, and improve blood supply to the tissues and cells.
Therefore, for human body hypoxic exercises are a proper way to improve the functions of all principal physiological systems and organs: brain, heart, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organs. They also normalize metabolism, strengthen the immunity and are a curative and preventive means against many diseases. Dosed exposure to hypoxia boosts resistance to harmful factors of the environment, normalizes metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and electrolytes. Hypoxic exposure is virtually a universal non-pharmacological tool for increasing the adaptive capabilities. It restores psycho-physiological and emotional state in humans and normalizes the functioning of the vegetative nervous system regulating the internal organs.
In 1991, Academician A. Z. Kolchinskaya pioneered in developing an effective and economical method of hypoxic therapy: the method of alternate hypoxic exercise. During such exercises, the patient breathes through a mask with ambient air alternated with a hypoxic mixture containing a lowered amount of oxygen (10% — 12%). Hypoxic exercises result not only in the increase in the body’s adaptive capabilities, but also in the enhanced immunity. Different diseases were proved to have fewer exacerbations if treated in combination with breathing therapy as compared with traditional anti-inflammatory therapy without such exercises. Psycho-emotional state, hormonal background (the levels of prolactin, testosterone, and cortisol) and women’s periods appear to improve after the respiratory therapy. The overall effect of hypoxic exercises on the body allows using such exercises not only for treatment of respiratory, blood and nervous system diseases, but also for protection against infections, radiation, and harmful ecological and climatic factors. Such breathing exercises stimulate an enhancement of the respiratory system reserves and improve the external breathing efficiency; they decrease the amount of breaths per minute while increasing the breathing volume, maximizing lungs ventilation, and slowing exhalations.
That is why hypoxic exercises have received wide recognition in sport: they increase the effectiveness of training and, at the same time, substitute the expensive process of mountain-climatic training of sportsmen. There are special mixtures used for hypoxic therapy sessions. They aim to control and manage the air content consumed by a patient.
Similar effect can be achieved when breathing with Respiration Training Device that unifies different breathing approaches. Longer exhalation with the Device leads to a short hypoxia exposure so that the body experiences the effect similar to that occurring during the alternate hypoxic exercises with expensive air mixtures for hypoxic therapy. Hypoxic exercises normally require special techniques that can control the properties of the gas mixtures inhaled by the patient. The Respiration Training Device suits best for this purpose.
Buteyko Method or Hypercapnic Exercises
The breathing technique with the Device is also based on the hypercapnic exercises — inhaling the air with high carbon dioxide concentration or increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the lungs. The rhythmical increase in CO2 concentration in the lungs is the result of slow breathing and rebreathing through the tube of the Device. Part of the CO2 from the exhale mixes with the air that the patient inhales from the device, filling the lungs with CO2-rich air.
Hypercapnic exercises are breathing exercises during which the content of carbon dioxide in the inhaled air and in the lungs increases. Such exercises play a very important role in sustaining the body wellness thanks to physiological and biochemical effects of carbon dioxide on our respiratory system. For a long time carbon dioxide was considered to be a sort of “organic waste”, a by-product of oxidation in cells to be actively removed from the body by means of vigorous lungs ventilation. However, scientific research has shown that carbon dioxide is a crucial factor that influences most important biological and physiological processes. CO2 (carbon dioxide) affects cell metabolism and smooth muscles of the internal organs and vessels, participates in the regulation of the nervous system, the acid-alkali balance in the body, and the process of oxygen separation from hemoglobin during the passage of blood through capillaries.
Moreover, it turns out that the human body actively reacts to increases in carbon dioxide in blood, as special nerve cells and hypercapnic receptors become more active. However, this reaction does not happen during decreases in carbon dioxide in blood, because humans have no specific receptors that react to decreases in CO2. Therefore, the body does not react to decreases in carbon dioxide. That is why special breathing exercises are needed to support the right amount of carbon dioxide in blood and in tissues.
This is what happens, for instance, during prolonged holding of breath: accumulation of carbon dioxide in blood takes place and neurons of the respiratory center adjust to the concentration of carbon dioxide in blood. Russian scientist Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko developed the method of PLDB based on a special technique of breathing: purposeful denial of deep breathing. According to the theory behind this method, the depth of breathing decreases during the exercises and so does the loss of carbon dioxide so that accumulation of CO2 in blood takes place. Many people confuse the method by K. P. Buteyko with the techniques based on breath holding, which is not the same.
During active physical exercises or physical work, the formation of carbon dioxide in cells also increases because of glucose oxidation, and this way the person trains the respiratory system. Various individual protective gear (gas masks, space-suits, etc.) are equipped with some devices and gadgets providing for reverse breathing, i.e. when the person exhales into a vessel (e.g. a plastic bag) and inhales back a gas mixture with the increased carbon dioxide content. Various versions of hypercapnic exercises are also used both in clinical practice to treat diseases (asthma, stenocardia, hypertension, etc.) and in sports medicine to enhance physical endurance and stamina and to recover the body reserves after training.
The method of breathing with Respiration Training Device helps to perform breathing exercises with an increased amount of carbon dioxide; which are also known as “hypercapnic exercises”. Periodic elevation of the carbon dioxide level in the lungs is achieved by means of slowing down one’s breathing and by means of reverse breathing through the Device. Concurrently, some carbon dioxide that goes into the Device with the exhaled air is mixed with the inhaled air and the enriched carbon dioxide mixture goes into the lungs.
Eastern Restorative Breathing Techniques Based on the Reduction of the Rate of Breathing
Respiratory technique with the Device is based on a gradual increase of the exhalation time and the time of the respiratory cycle. It decreases the frequency of breathing, making it slower and adjusts the neurons of the respiratory center to a slower, less frequent breathing. Similar techniques have been long employed by Oriental healthy breathing systems.
How does it benefit you?
It is widely known that in a calm state a sitting adult makes 16 — 20 breaths per minute. People who work out regularly make 8 — 12 breaths per minute. The frequency of breaths reflects the state of health and the level of effectiveness of the respiratory system functioning and the reserves of the body, i.e. its vital potential.
Therefore, various medical, restorative and sports programs recommend different breathing exercises aimed at the reduction of the breath rate. Such approaches are especially popular in various Eastern restorative techniques. Thus, for instance, people who have practiced Qigong for a long time have a lower breath rate: 4-6 breaths per minute or even 2 breaths per minute in some cases. Neurophysiologists noticed that breath rate falls during Zen meditation. Breath rate falls already at the beginning of transcendental meditation, total ventilation declines by 1 liter per minute on average; the level of oxygen consumption also drops. A regular prayer was found to reduce the breath rate and normalize wave signals of the brain, inducing the process of the body’s self-healing.
Voluntary reduction of the breath rate and positive effect of breathing exercises on the psychic state are successfully applied in various psychotherapeutic programs aimed at the correction of psycho-emotional disorders, posttraumatic shocks, getting rid of various kinds of addictions (smoking, alcohol, etc.). Slow breathing is usually used both for achievement of altered states of consciousness at the beginning of therapy and for the achievement of better results after integrating the negative experience with the positive understanding. Naturally, respiratory techniques have been in high demand in sports because the ability to voluntarily manage the rate of breaths allows one to fulfill physical exercises successfully and to quickly recover after the training sessions.
The method of breathing with Respiration Training Device means gradual prolongation of the time of exhalation and the time of the breathing cycle itself. In this way breath rate falls, breathing slows down, and the neurons of the respiratory center gradually adjust to a lower, less intense breath rate.
Breathing Techniques for Reducing Per-minute Breathing Volume
Breathing exercises with the device slow down breathing and make the exhale longer. It reduces the volume of breathed air per minute and eliminates hyperventilation. Lowering of the per-minute number of breaths ensures economical external breathing and contributes to the elimination of excessive lungs ventilation (hyperventilation). Exercises of this kind result in the reduction of the per-minute breath volume and breath rate, and at the same time in an increase in the overall breath volume, maximizing lungs ventilation while holding the breath at inhalation.
This seeming paradox is quite explainable from the viewpoint of physiology. During the reduction of the per-minute breath volume excessive “idle” ventilation (i.e. ventilation of the dead zones where no gas exchange occurs) decreases. Under the “dead zones” scientists understand the air-conducting ways (trachea, bronchial tubes). At the same time the researchers point out that alveolar ventilation and conditions of gas metabolism between alveoli and capillaries do improve.
The reduction of the per-minute breath volume is achieved in the process of breathing exercises aimed at the voluntary limitation of lungs ventilation and at the reduction of the breath rate. This can be achieved in the process of special breathing exercises, for example, during PLDB-technique exercises (K.P. Buteyko) and VORPMBV technique exercises (voluntary optimum reduction of the per-minute breath volume). Various apparatus-assisted versions of breath control are also used for this purpose, for example, BF (biological feedback) complexes.
During breathing exercises with Respiration Training Device the per-minute breath volume decreases and hyperventilation disappears as the result of slower breathing and prolongation of exhalation. Breathing exercises that help you voluntary restrict the lungs ventilation reduce the frequency of breathing and the volume of breathed air per minute. This result is achieved during practicing special breathing techniques, such as Buteyko shallow breathing method or voluntary optimal reduction of the volume of breathed air per minute. Besides, various devices, such as biofeedback devices, are also used to regulate respiration. Frolov’s compact and well-designed device can be successfully used for such exercises.
Breathing Exercises with Breath Resistance
The first reaction of the body to the resistance against the exhale created by the water in the Device is the optimization of alveolar ventilation and ventilation-perfusion coupling. Improved ventilation, gas exchange and microcirculation the restore regulatory mechanisms of the body and metabolism in the compensated tissues and organs. Breath-resistance breathing exercises are important both in sport and in clinical medicine. Such exercises help sportsmen to increase strength and stamina of respiratory muscles and allow of an effective use of the respiratory system’s capabilities. In medicine, such exercises are useful for the patients who suffer from short breath, allowing them to reduce the negative effect of the syndrome of respiratory muscles fatigue. Breathing exercises with resistance are also strongly recommended in the training of professionals who use protective gear for respiratory organs: gas masks, diving suits, space suits, etc. These training sessions improve strength and endurance of the respiratory muscles, ensure adjustment of the bronchial tree and lungs tissue to aerodynamic resistive load, and massage smooth muscles of bronchial tubes and lungs tissue.
When exhaling, the breath resistance provides for the improvement of bronchial conductivity, drainage of the bronchial tree and the reduction of expiratory collapse of the bronchial tubes. That is how breathing exercises with resistance improve the processes of lungs and bronchial tubes cleaning. The breathing exercises with resistance result in slower breathing and prolongation of breath holding. Certain changes take place in gas metabolism, an increase in CO2 in alveolar and in exhaled air occurs with a positive effect on the alveolar ventilation and ventilation-perfusion ratio, i.e. gas metabolism is enhanced at the alveolar level.
Breath resistance at exhalation is usually defined as artificial breath control with resistance at exhalation or additional respiratory resistance (acronyms ABC and ARR, respectively). In terms of breathing resistance a breathing device can be defined as dynamic breath resistor (DBR).
Naturally, first of all exhalation resistance induces alveolar ventilation and optimizes ventilation-perfusion ratio. Improvement of ventilation, in turn, enhances gas metabolism, microcirculation, recovery of metabolism disorders in organs and tissues, compensation and recovery of suppressed functions and regulatory mechanisms.
Breathing Exercises Using Additional Breathing Space
During exercising, the respiration Training Device creates an extra breathing capacity for the patient. Its volume is suitable even for pre-school children and patients that are sick with serious bronchopulmonary diseases.
Additional breathing space also referred to as ABS when used during the breathing gymnastics naturally stimulates the processes of adaptation to hypercapnia, hypoxia and trains the respiratory muscles. The use of ABS results in better lungs ventilation, strength and stamina of the respiratory muscles, resistance to hypoxia, hypercapnia, changes in the inner environment of the body. Regular breathing with additional breathing space increases physical work capacity, the resistance of the body to oxygen and carbon dioxide fluctuations.
During work with the Device some additional breathing space is provided with the volume parameters corresponding to those of ABS that are safe even for preschool children and for patients who have serious bronchial and pulmonary diseases.
The design of the Device and the breathing technique ensure the success of the breath therapy, which has a positive effect on your respiratory system and an overall health. It heals your body by supplying it with the energy and giving you overall sense of well-being.