How does breathing into a paper bag stabalize breathing problems?

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Offline Nobody's Confidant

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Is this just an old wives tale? Or does it actually work? I don't see how it could help.
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Offline RD

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Exhaled breath has a much higher concentration of carbon-dioxide (CO2) than fresh air.
Re-breathing CO2-rich exhaled breath from the paper bag can regulate hyperventilation.

Overbreathing as a result of stress causes the delicate balance of gases (especially
carbon dioxide) within our bodies to become disturbed.
A rapid, shallow or irregular breathing pattern causes carbon dioxide to be breathed out
from the lungs, in turn producing chemical reactions within the body. These chemical
changes produce many of the symptoms of hyperventilation such as breathlessness,
palpitations, tingling and feelings of anxiety.

Don't try paper bag breathing for obstructive breathing problems such as asthma, emphysema.
« Last Edit: 06/05/2008 14:06:32 by RD »


Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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You are also rebreathing the humidity / moisture breathing high humidity causes they system to slow down. For example, a restless child with croup cough in a crib / cot with plastic padded sides receives a mist spray and within a few minutes stops coughing and goes to sleep. Observed this several times during vists to my son in hospital following surgery for a broken wrist In this case Co2 levels were not increased.

I can explain how this affects the respiration and circulation causing it to slow down after hyperventilating. But you won't find a reference to it in the literature :)
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