(Measurement of Health)
How do you measure the Control Pause?
Excerpts from Doctor Buteyko’s Discovery:
The Destruction of the Laboratory
by Sergey Altukhov
How do you measure the Control Pause?
The control pause is a holding of the breath after an ordinary exhalation of
air, until you experience the first TINY desire to breathe in! Until the very first, very tiniest desire!
After an ordinary exhalation (not a deep one), you should squeeze the tip of your nose with your fingers and look at a stopwatch. If you experience the slightest inclination to breathe in after six seconds, you should immediately let go. You have measured it all correctly. What does ‘correctly’ mean in this context? – it means that after letting go of your nose you did not gasp for air, your chest did not heave, and your face was not red (or even faintly flushed). If you let go of your nose after 15 seconds and immediately gasped for air – that was no longer a control pause.
Control Pause… Pauses will not cure you
“We just use the control pause to assess a patient’s progress, and we continually tell them – holding your breath won’t cure you. What will cure you is gradually reducing the depth of your breath by relaxing your diaphragm until you feel a slight shortage of air.”
Control Pause problem (holding on too long!)
“Your control pause is not 25, but maybe ten seconds,” the Doctor rebuked him. “Look how you’re gulping air now. Twenty-five is probably your maximum pause, or even beyond your maximum.” He tapped his pointer on the middle column. “Your control pause is the time you can easily hold your breath for after exhaling. You shouldn’t need to breathe more deeply after it than before. So, can everyone see how simple this test is?”
Buteyko scanned the half-full hall. “Even the youngest medical student couldn’t manage a control pause of 15 seconds, and for the rest of you it was probably around seven to nine seconds. And Associate Professor Nikiforov could only manage four seconds,” he said, noting the Associate Professor’s raised arm. “I don’t want to frighten you, Associate Professor, but that’s in the sixth and penultimate step of the ladder towards death.” Buteyko indicated the second- bottom row. “Less than 3.5% carbon dioxide in the body means death.” The pointer moved down to the last row.”
Control Pause Progress
“And yet Sablin had an incredibly tough time of it. Having started with a control pause of five seconds, over the course of two and a half weeks he managed, with great difficulty, to increase it to 12 seconds. In the normal way, to double your pause in that short a space of time would be an impressive result. But of itself a control pause of 12 seconds indicates that the level of carbon dioxide inhis body was only slightly above 4%. That means it was only about 0.7% above the fatal level.”
Control Pause Slow Progress
“I don’t want any of you getting above yourselves,” Natalya got up from her chair. “Dr Buteyko always says that it is altruistic people who do best with the Method. People who are greedy or egotistical are destroyed by their own avarice and, as a rule, they have considerably less success with the volitional elimination of deep breathing. You must learn to celebrate even your most insignificant successes and don’t despair if your progress is not as rapid as you had hoped.
Control Pause (3 seconds)
The film director’s control pause was absolutely minimal – some three seconds.
“What does that mean?” Khodakevich wanted to know. He had avidly listened to the Doctor evenly counting the seconds.
“It means you are breathing like a steam engine!” the Doctor told him point blank. “And you need to breathe like a human being, without gulping surplus gallons of air. They are bad for you.”
“And that all your technique is about – holding your nose?” Khodakevich twisted his thin moist lips into a faint smile.
“Only airheads and cretins think so.” Dr Buteyko put him in his place firmly. “The Method involves a gradual reduction in the depth of the breathing. Grad-u-al.”
Control Pause (5 seconds)
“Of course, there are people alive with a control pause of five seconds, which corresponds to carbon dioxide content of 3.5% in the body, or more exactly, in the alveoli.” He stopped rocking. “But they don’t live for very long. And most importantly, they’re usually in poor health.” He indicated the second-bottom row of the table. “Something’s always wrong with them. And believe me, a sick person will blame anything for their illness, but they never suspect that the fundamental cause is deep breathing.”
Control Pause (25 seconds)
“Then,” Natalya took a piece of chalk and made some simple calculations on a small blackboard, “we end up with a scenario where on average we can get rid of bronchial asthma by increasing the control pause to 25 seconds. I would emphasise, however, that this is an average! It’s very approximate. A significant role is played by the age of the patient and the severity of their condition.
Control Pause (60 seconds)
“I have spent some time here explaining that the Method does not bring temporary relief, it is a lifelong weapon in the fight against illness. I said that only once a patient has achieved a control pause of 60 seconds is he or she insured against illness.”
The Table of Pulmonary Ventilation Criteria
“The table of pulmonary ventilation criteria is based on data from the complexator!” Buteyko stated firmly. His pale blue eyes glinted icily, in the way that the Professor knew so well. “Of course, there has been some interpolation and rounding, but the table is reasonably accurate. And it shows,” he raised his voice, “that practically no-one here is healthy with normal breathing. Of course, that’s to be expected. We’ve been told for years on the radio and television and in PE lessons to breathe deeply. But deep breathing removes the last traces of CO2 from the body, so how can you have the required 6.5% carbon dioxide? Most of you here will only have 4 or 5%, maximum.”
Buteyko Control Pause shown on the Buteyko Breathing Chart
“The table of pulmonary ventilation criteria is based on data from the complexator!”
Control Pause and Pulse
“‘The pulse rate should go down and the pause should increase,’” she asserted loudly, rising triumphantly from her seat.
Control Pause and Pulse (the same before and after)
“But my figures were identical today – the same before and after,” Nina Friedman exclaimed anxiously.
“Well, that’s just how it is today,” Natalya glanced at her diary. “You said yourself that you’d had trouble at home. Evidently you didn’t manage to relax properly during today’s session. Try to make up for it later on in the day.”
“But I had identical readings too! Seventy-four and 15 at the start and end of the exercise,” a woman with high cheekbones seated next to Nina Friedman looked suspiciously at Natalya. “And I’ve not argued with anyone.”
“Nevertheless, you’ve nothing to worry about,” Natalya took the diary from the woman’s hands.
“Look,” she opened the diary at the page with the patient’s most recent notes from home. Day by day your indicators are improving. Your pulse rate was 87 and now it’s 74 and your control pause has increased from six seconds to 15.
Control Pause Described by Vladimir Buteyko & Marina Buteyko
How can we identify the extent of incorrect breathing?
By measuring “the control pause” and pulse. All known publications describe measuring of the control pause quite vaguely. Below is a clearer description:
1) The control pause should be preferably measured in standard conditions, after a 10 minute breath-equalizing rest.
2) Sit conveniently.
3) Take a beautiful, correct posture, spread out your shoulders. The stomach will straighten up.
4) Inhale normally, relax the stomach. Involuntary exhalation will come out by itself.
5) As the exhalation is finished, note the position of the second hand visually and hold breath.
6) During the time of measuring, do not follow the second hand, just focus on a spot in front of you or shut your eyes.
7) Do not breathe in until it gets difficult, i.e. until diaphragm’s “push” up. Simultaneously, stomach and neck muscles get push too: patients normally describe this condition as a “push in the throat”.
8) Read of the second hand’s position at the “push” point, and continue breathing. Do not inhale deeper than prior to breath-holding.
Thus measured pairs of stable values “control pause – pulse” determine the stage of your disease by the following rule:
Healthy- longer than 40 sec with the pulse below 70.
First stage- from 20 sec (pulse 80) to 40 sec.
Second stage- from 10 sec (pulse 90) to 20 sec.
Third stage- shorter than 10 sec.
Stability of values is the “repeatability” of such values within the range corresponding to a specific stage of the disease during at least several days.