Leading Integrated Healthcare

Breathing Pattern Disorder, Hyperventilation, Overbreathing


Breathing Pattern Disorder (BPD) is a combination of individual symptoms which, on their own, may all be attributed to other causes, but collectively, may make up a breathing pattern disorder. These symptoms are all actually due to low levels of CO2 (carbon dioxide), as opposed to the common misconception that the cause is insufficient intake oxygen.

BPD is diagnosed using physical assessment, a validated questionnaire (the Nijmegen) and a machine that measures respiratory CO2 levels (a Capnometer). Symptoms of Breathing Pattern Disorders can cause fatigue, abdominal bloating, brain fog, muscular aches and pains, pins and needles in arms and hands, feeling of anxiety, palpitations, muscular fatigue, and headaches. They can also cause sighing or yawning, gasping for air during speech, a feeling that breathing is unnatural or difficult, breath holding and clenching of the teeth.

Hyperventilation Syndrome (HVS) is a disorder that often presents with chest pain and a tingling sensation of the fingertips (paresthesia) and around the mouth, as well as deep and labored breathing (causing hyperventilation), although chronic but subtle hyperventilation can cause these symptoms too. Hypocapnia is a deficiency of carbon dioxide in the blood, resulting from hyperventilation and eventually leading to alkalosis.

People who over-breathe often complain of symptoms that include

  • Light headedess
  • Head neck and upper body aching/pain
  • Giddiness/Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Numbness
  • Chest pains
  • Dry mouth
  • Clammy hands
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue


Breathing re-training is usually helpful for people who

  • Feel depressed
  • Feel exhausted
  • Feel tense or achy
  • Have difficulty sleeping
  • Have difficulty concentrating
  • Feel agitated or anxious

Breathing Pattern Disorders influence health due to

  • Altered blood pH, creating respiratory alkalosis
  • Increased sympathetic arousal, altered neuronal function (including motor control)
  • Sense of apprehension, anxiety, affecting balance (and possibly panic)
  • Depleted Ca and Mg ions, enhancing sensitization, encouraging spasm, reducing pain thresholds
  • Smooth muscle cell constriction, leading to vasoconstriction (and possibly altering fascial tone)
  • Smooth muscle constriction can also lead to colon spasm and pseudo-angina
  • Reduced oxygen release to cells, tissues, brain (Bohr effect) – encourages ischemia, ‘brain-fog’, fatigue & pain
  • Evolution of myofascial trigger points
  • Biomechanical overuse stresses that compromise core stability and posture, and cause pain


Experiencing Provocative Therapy

Provocative Therapy has had a significant and ongoing impact on me. The session itself forced to the surface a few truths about myself and my life which I had previously been reluctant to admit to myself. That I found helpful and enlightening. However the real shock came when I watched myself on film afterwards. I was rather dreading having to view myself, especially in such an open and vulnerable position. But nothing prepared me for the shock I had when I firstswitched on the tape. For the first time, I think ever, I was able to view myself objectively. It was not like looking in the mirror or seeing myself on film; never before had I seen myself interact naturally like that. I was surprised how pertinent the contradiction was between the idea I had of myself and how I really appeared. This initial jolt certainly had the most impact but now I’m grateful to have the film so that I can revisit it whenever I need to. Each time it’s almost like going through another session. It forces me toreally look at myself and listen to what I’m saying and to understand that there is a difference between my own, often warped perspective, and the truth in front of me. Louisa Gamon - London