Welcome to Oxygen Advantage® Instructor Training!
Congratulations! You have taken the first step by becoming a certified Oxygen Advantage® Functional Breathing Instructor. It’s great to have you on board.
Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at the concepts behind the training, so you know what to expect.
What is functional breathing?
Functional Breathing is breathing that is efficient and effortless. It adapts well to rest and various intensities of physical exercise. It balances the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide (CO2), engages the diaphragm for core support and reduces breathlessness.
What is dysfunctional breathing?
Dysfunctional breathing is inefficient and effortful. It does not adapt well to rest and exercise, causes imbalances in levels of oxygen and CO2, is often fast, hard and into the upper chest, and increases breathlessness.
What is Functional Breathing training?
The Oxygen Advantage® breathing exercises target three dimensions of breathing. You will learn about these in detail during the course.
- The biochemical dimension of breathing – exercises to normalize breathing volume and levels of arterial carbon dioxide.
- The biomechanical dimension of breathing – breathing ‘low’ into the belly with normal amplitude of the diaphragm.
- Coherent/cadence breathing – slowing down the respiratory rate to between 4.5 and 6.5 breaths per minute to improve functioning of the autonomic nervous system. This is the system that controls ‘fight, flight or freeze’ and ‘rest and digest’.
The foundation of Functional Breathing Training is full-time nasal breathing. Breathing nasally during rest, sleep and exercise is instrumental in diaphragm function, lung volume and in normalizing the respiratory rate. Breathing through the nose, even during physical exercise, improves oxygen uptake in the blood and oxygen delivery to the tissues and organs. It also increases the body’s tolerance to carbon dioxide, a factor that is important in reducing breathlessness. All of this is explained in detail in the instructor manual.
During sleep, nose breathing helps to reduce sleep disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It is important for achieving restful sleep and reducing daytime sleepiness. We will explore methods for ensuring nasal breathing during sleep.
The instructor manual and practical demonstration videos that comprise this training cover a series of scientifically proven breathing exercises. These are to be used during rest and physical exercise as appropriate and can be applied to all health and wellness modalities, yoga and sports performance.
LET’S GET STARTED:
Download the Instructor Manual
In your own time, work your way through each of the videos listed below, and practice the exercises. Use your Instructor Manual to study both the theory and teaching script.
You will find a script for each exercise in the manual. This can be used to teach the exercises.
When you are satisfied that you have covered everything and feel that you are ready, proceed to the exam.
Having successfully passed the exam and submitted your case studies, you are now a certified Oxygen Advantage® Functional Breathing instructor, and your instructor profile will be added to the Oxygen Advantage® website. You will be able to call yourself an Oxygen Advantage® Functional Breathing Instructor, to coach using Oxygen Advantage® methods and use the Oxygen Advantage® brand logo to promote your services.
In order to get the most out of watching these videos, it is important that you refer to the relevant pages in your manual. The manual and videos are designed to work together, giving you all of the practical and theoretical information you need to learn. The manual should also help answer any questions that may arise. If you still have any queries after using the manual and videos, do reach out to one of the Oxygen Advantage® team at firstname.lastname@example.org
BODY OXYGEN LEVEL TEST (BOLT)
Comfortable breath hold time is a very useful measurement of relative breathing volume. The lower the breath hold time, the stronger is the ventilatory response to the gas carbon dioxide. This means that the body is overly sensitive to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood, resulting in harder breathing during rest, physical exercise and following an apnea.
A low BOLT measurement helps indicate:
- High loop gain in sleep apnea
- Dyspnea during rest and physical exercise
- Breathing pattern disorders
- A BOLT score of less than 25 seconds indicates breathing pattern disorders. The goal is to reach a control pause of 40 seconds.
BREATHING RECOVERY: MANY SMALL BREATH-HOLDS
The objective of this exercise is to gently prepare the body for a tolerable feeling of breathlessness. By holding the breath for short periods of time, the gas nitric oxide (NO) pools inside the nasal cavity, and the gas carbon dioxide (CO2) slightly increases in the blood. Upon resumption of breathing, breathe in so as to carry NO from the nasal cavity into the lungs. As you hold your breath, you may feel a light hunger for air. This signifies that the CO2 is increasing in your blood. Both gases play an important role in opening the airways, improving blood circulation and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to the cells. This exercise is ideal for a warm-up, as well as to help reduce stress, asthma symptoms and breathing recovery following physical exercise.
This exercise combines three dimensions of breathing re-education, namely biochemical, biomechanical and cadence breathing.
Breathe Light: Breathing slightly less air to create a light air hunger.
Breathe Slow: Do not take so many breaths per minute. Pace your breathing to six breaths per minute during rest.
Breathe Deep: Feel your lower ribs expanding and contracting with each breath.
Breathe Light (biochemical)
Helps to normalize breathing biochemistry. It involves reducing the volume of air you are taking into your body in order to create a tolerable hunger for air. This is the feeling that you would like to take a slightly bigger breath or the feeling that you are not quite getting enough air. When you breathe less than before you started the exercise, a feeling of “air hunger” is created. Achieving a slight or tolerable air hunger signifies that carbon dioxide has accumulated in the blood.
Breathe Deep (Biomechanical)
The diaphragm breathing muscle is important for postural control, and it functions through its generation of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). During inhalation, the diaphragm moves downward and IAP is generated. Similar to an inflated balloon, this has a stabilizing effect and provides support for the spine and pelvis. Immediately prior to a lift, a weight lifter will breathe in and hold her breath to generate high levels of IAP to “stiffen the spine”. Functional breathing patterns generate more optimal IAP and spinal stiffness to help ensure postural support during movement. When breathing patterns are healthy, there is lateral expansion of the lower rib cage. This only occurs if there is sufficient generation of IAP acting through the zone of apposition “to push the ribs out” (Key, 2013).
Breathe Slow (Cadence Breathing)
Changing the cadence of breathing to six breaths per minute helps provide numerous benefits, including improved breathing efficiency. With a reduced respiratory rate, a greater volume of air per minute arrives at the alveoli (small air sacs in the lungs where gas exchange takes place). This is because less volume of air per minute is lost to “dead space”. There is a substantial body of research supporting improved heart rate variability (HRV) for a variety of disorders and for performance enhancement. Both HRV and baroreflex sensitivity are maximized when respiration is slowed to six breaths per minute.
FUNCTIONAL BREATHING DURING WALKING
The objective here is to take the Breathe Light exercise into physical movement.
Breathe light, slow and deep. Breathe slow by breathing fewer breaths per minute, breathe light by creating a tolerable air hunger, and to breathe deep by feeling lateral expansion and contraction of the lower two ribs.
FUNCTIONAL BREATHING DURING WALKING AND JOGGING
This exercise brings functional breathing into movement. The exercise involves jogging with the mouth closed for one minute, followed by walking for one minute. While this exercise is a challenge, it should not be stressful. The objective is to push yourself, but not to lose control of your breathing. For those unable to jog, fast walking will suffice.
SPORTSMASK AND OXYGENADVANTAGE
Wearing a SportsMask will slow down your breathing and generate a feeling of air hunger through that resistance. To help counter the feeling of air hunger while wearing the mask, it is easier if you breathe only through the nose, slowly and deeply. In other words, the mask provides biochemical and biomechanical breathing practice.
WALKING, JOGGING USING SPORTSMASK
Helps generate carbon dioxide by engaging in physical exercise Improves functional breathing during physical movement Helps strengthen the breathing muscles Helps reduce breathlessness and condition the body to tolerate increased arterial carbon dioxide Improves breathing efficiency during physical movement
MYOTAPE does not cover the mouth. Instead, it surrounds the mouth, bringing the lips together with a light, elastic tension that helps to maintain lip closure and ensure nasal breathing. This elastic tension serves as a continuous reminder to keep the lips together. When you or your child open your mouth to breathe, the feeling of tension from the tape will prompt the mouth to close.
PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION 2
FUNCTIONS OF THE NOSE
Members of the general public are often unaware of the importance of breathing through the nose. In this video, I explain some of the benefits of nasal breathing to patients. Having an anatomical model of the nose provides a useful visual.
DECONGESTING THE NOSE
Congestion of the nose caused by inflammation can be significantly reduced by holding the breath after an exhalation. This exercise is not suitable for pregnant females, or persons with severe health issues. Repeat five to six times with 30 seconds to 1 minutes rest between each repetition.
BREATHE LIGHT THEORY
What to look for in clients breathing:
- Speed of breathing (respiratory rate)
- Amplitude of the breathy (tidal volume)
- Regularity of the breath
- Upper chest or abdominal movement during rest
- Natural pause between breaths
Two ways to reduce breathing volume
1) Slow down the speed of the air as it enters the body. Allow a relaxed breath out. Respiratory rate reduces. Tidal volume to remain the same.
2) Take a shorter breath in than usual. Allow a relaxed breath out. Respiratory rate remains relatively the same. Tidal volume reduces.
The goal is to achieve a tolerable hunger for air. When the air hunger gets too strong, the breathing muscles will contract to cause irregular breathing.
- Deliberately interfering with breathing muscles
- Holding of the breath
- Achieving too strong an air hunger
- If stressed during the exercise take a rest for half a minute and start again.
BREATHE LIGHT BIOCHEMISTRY PRACTICAL
This video demonstrates reduction of breathing volume to create a tolerable need for air. A tolerable air hunger is necessary to increase the BOLT score, improve functional breathing patterns, and reduce the ventilatory response to carbon dioxide.
BREATHE LIGHT USING BUTEYKO BELT
Specifically designed as an aid to enhance and support your practice of functional breathing, this tool will encourage you to breathe light with the minimum of effort as you go about your daily activities. Simply by wearing the Buteyko Belt, you can effortlessly practise functional breathing as you work, rest and play.
EXERCISE FOR PERSONS WITH ANXIETY AND PANIC DISORDER
Excellent exercise for people prone to panic attacks and anxiety. It involves holding the breath until a tolerable air hu8nger is experienced. Persons prone to panic attacks often experience a strong ventilatory response to carbon dioxide. This exercise gently reduces the ventilatory response without creating a fear response.