If your child suffers from asthma, breathing difficulties or anxiety, you will know how distressing it is when they can’t catch their breath. These symptoms have been linked to something known as “chronic hidden hyperventilation”. This is when we breathe a little bit too much all the time, for what our body requires. It might mean our breathing is constantly a little bit too fast or shallow or big breathing, which might not be that obvious – which is why it is known as “hidden”. It may mean we are breathing more than 12 breaths a minute at rest in the upper chest or mouth breathing due to a blocked nose. Our nose and airways can block just because our body is trying to slow the breathing down to regain balance in our body functioning.
The good news is that breathing is a behaviour and it is one of the easier behaviours to retrain. It takes 4 weeks to retrain your breathing habit and for you or your child to improve their breathing behaviour. Breathing Mastery is designed for age 8 plus and for adults who are young at heart!
Each level will take you one step closer to achieving breathing mastery.
You will be guided through a series of daily exercises designed to move you and your child away from mouth breathing and upper chest breathing associated with asthma and anxiety.
Through Billy’s quest into the dark forest, you will be guided to practice nose breathing and diaphragm breathing with short pauses at the end of the out-breath that are lengthened in each level and designed to enable you to become comfortable with and relax into the feeling of a little bit of air hunger. This is the feeling that causes an increased desire to breathe more.
With each level once you feel comfortable with the breath pause length you will gain a chakra stone as you work through all seven levels. Move onto the next level only when you are comfortable with the breath pause length in your current level.
Practice one or two levels at least 2 times a day.
For those age 7-9 you may prefer to practice the levels without the timing option. For those able to do nose holds and press the pause and play buttons your breath holds for each level can be timed and recorded.
For each days practice you can add a comment to record how you are feeling and whether you have needed your reliever inhaler/ how many times.
This breathing training program is not designed to diagnose or treat asthma, but to enable better breathing habits that have been shown in studies based on the Buteyko method to reduce the need for asthma medication and reduce anxiety. Any change to your medication should be done in conjunction with a registered healthcare professional. If you have any of the health conditions listed on the contraindications list please seek further advice before using the Breathing Mastery for Kids and Teens.
Buteyko training recommends not making any changes to asthma medication until you can comfortably pause your breathing for 25 seconds or more at the end of the out-breath. Do not stop steroid medication suddenly as this can cause serious side effects.
There may be additional changes to diet and lifestyle required to enable a health improvement.
Chronic hidden hyperventilation has been well documented and associated with many chronic health conditions. For further guidance read Breathe with Ease by Alison Waring.
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