Video: Capnometry Biofeedback Technology is Super Potent for Clinical Assessment & Training of Breathing.
After learning extensively about the science of breathing, and techniques for optimising breathing, implementing biofeedback technology called Capnometry, which us used in hospitals to monitor patients breathing, into my clinical work with breathing has seen my understanding of breathing function, and the best techniques for retraining breathing function to optimal levels skyrocket.
In clinic this technology is highly effective for assessing the efficiency of a client’s breathing based on breathing rate per minute (ideally 8-10 bpm), and end tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2), or the amount of CO2 in the lungs at the end of exhalation (ideally at least 40mmHg).
The body regulates breathing based on arterial levels of CO2 predominantly, rather than arterial oxygen (O2). This is because the challenge with breathing is not getting enough oxygen in. We have heaps. In fact, at rest, we utilise less than one quarter of the O2 we inhale (the rest is exhaled), and we have heaps of oxygen stores in our blood stream (known as oxygen saturation levels, which are typically 97-99%).
The challenge is actually getting the oxygen we have in our blood stream, or that we inhale, into our cells for energy production (the main purpose of breathing). If we fail to do this, the consequences are fatal. CO2 plays a major role in this process. Rather than being a waste gas that we completely exhale, we store CO2 (as there’s only 0.03% in atmospheric air, so we can’t rely on this) as it is the limiting factor in determining breathing efficiency,
Based on the principles of the Bohr Effect, CO2 facilitates the passage of oxygen from our lungs to our cells for energy production. If CO2 levels are too low, we simply don’t get enough oxygen to our cells, so energy production is impaired, and survival is threatened. Conversely, if CO2 levels are too high, it upsets respiratory balance, and our body will increase breathing rate and volume to reduce levels. In order to maintain sufficient CO2 levels, our body stores CO2 in our lungs at the end of exhalation, known as end-tidal CO2, which then permeates back into the blood stream to maintain respiratory balance.
We definitely should not fully exhale all of the air in our lungs in order to maintain respiratory balance (at rest) – the exhale is simply a recoil of the diaphragm and lungs.
Unfortunately, without realising it, the vast majority of us breathe nowhere near ideal efficiency- we breathe twice as often as we should and with far too much volume.
This adversely affects our arterial CO2 levels, and therefore the balance in our respiratory system, and ultimately energy production. The consequence of this long term is that our body starts to produce symptoms of illness as a result of the body’s attempt to compensate for this inefficiency and restore balance. These symptoms include difficulties in breathing & asthma, anxiety, sinusitis, snoring & sleep apnoea, fatigue, digestive complaints, headaches & migraines, ADHD and many more.
Therefore this biofeedback technology is fantastic for assessing respiratory efficiency, and also in implementing techniques and rhythms to retrain breathing back to ideal, or functional levels. In so doing, with regular practice, clients experience greater energy levels, relaxation, and reduced symptoms of illness.
In addition, as clients can see significant differences on a screen of their baseline breathing efficiency and when they introduce optimal breathing techniques, so compliance of clients to their at home breath training improves significantly also.
Finally, as a result of measuring and observing the breathing of thousands of clients over the years, my understanding of breathing function and ideal techniques has grown exponentially.
If you’d like to have your breathing efficiency assessed , or learn how to breathe optimally, please contact me for a one on one clinic appointment, or inline consultation.