Published: March 3, 2019
Hyperventilation hides in ambush; the belt is your protection.
Konstantin Buteyko, MD-PhD, often wore a wide leather belt around his torso, just underneath his outer garments. He would say, “Hyperventilation hides in ambush; the belt is your protection.”
When I heard this story from his widow, Ludmila Buteyko, I was surprised: Aren’t we supposed to gain control over our breathing so that we naturally stop hyperventilating?
Certainly, this is possible, yet it is important to understand that there are some factors that promote hyperventilation. Here are a few of them:
- Many people were born as hyperventilators, and therefore have a strong predisposition toward over-breathing.
- Because some people have been over-breathing for a very long time, they may have developed a strong hyperventilation habit, which might be difficult to eradicate completely.
- The common Western lifestyle is conducive to hyperventilation.
- A polluted environment contributes to over-breathing.
- Due to atmospheric changes that have gradually occurred on this planet for millions of years, humans have a mild propensity toward hyperventilation.
The belt is a tool that helps to increase awareness of breathing, and as such, it is very valuable.
It is helpful for people who hyperventilate terribly (for example, those who suffer from asthma or obesity), for those whose air consumption is mild, and even for those who have won the battle against hyperventilation by normalizing their breathing. In the second part of his life, Dr. Buteyko belonged to the last category, and yet he chose to wear a belt every day for the rest of his life.
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