MANILA, Philippines – What’s so difficult about breathing, right? It’s the most natural and instinctive thing in the world. After all, we can survive for days without food and water but only a few minutes without air. Our emotions and stress levels are reflected on the way we breathe, and other factors such as illness, pain, or even allergies cause us to breathe differently.
One myth about it is that the more oxygen, the better. Hyperventilation actually causes hypocapnia, or lowered carbon dioxide levels. When we over-breathe (or habitually take deep breaths) we tend to lose more carbon dioxide. This in turn causes an imbalance in the body, leading to illnesses. Breathing should be done superficially, and only through the nose.
Jac Vidzen is a senior practitioner of the Buteyko Breathing Technique, which was developed by Doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko in Russia over 40 years ago. Vidzen studied under a student of Buteyko.
In 1993, Vidzen was at a crossroads in his life and was looking for a career change, and did some part-time work with a Buteyko practitioner in Sydney. He was completely fascinated with the concept that he worked on becoming a practitioner himself. He is here in Manila to offer sessions on proper breathing.
How do we know if we breathe too deeply? The Buteyko technique offers the Control-Pause test as follows: “…breathe in gently for two seconds, then exhale gently for three seconds. Hold your breath, pinching the nose after exhaling, holding your breath until it first becomes difficult. If you manage less than 10 seconds (on the third step) you have very serious health problems. If you can hold less than 25 seconds your health requires attention, 30-40 seconds is satisfactory and 60 and above is excellent.”
The sessions are but a catalyst, a guide on proper breathing to enable the participants to make it a lifetime habit. Vidzen says there are no age limits for those who want to join the sessions, saying he had children as young as four join their parents, as long as they can follow instructions. Furthermore, the changes are more dramatic in children and they adapt the technique earlier.
The breathing technique can help alleviate asthma, anxiety, panic disorders, allergic rhinitis, cough, and sleep disorders. It reduces the need for medication for these ailments. For systemic disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome or hormonal dysfunctions, the effect is less dramatic but more long-term.
The classes will start on May 2 at PhilDHRRA Partnership Center, 59 C. Salvador St., Loyola Heights, and on May 5 at InTouch Community Services, 48-A McKinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati City. The classes will consist of five sessions each.