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What do you want to know about breathing? Answered in our newsletter



Breathing too much.

In science it is also called hyperventilation, dyspnea, hypocapnea. In music it is called overbreathing.

I say it is miss named and call it UDB because it stems from poorly developed  breathing. When the breathing development improves the so called overbreathing symptoms often reduce and disappear.  I believe overbreathing is largely a byproduct of UDB.

A Russian system for asthma believes that breathing too much is the cause.  I have observed that UDB is the primary cause of overbreathing, not necessarily breathing too much.

Both timed breathing and overbreathing are covered in "The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System". Must reading for any serious trumpet player.  Now for the full breath on every note or phrase. Have you ever had to play 1 note by itself to fill out a chord in a song? What about the 3 or 4 measure phrases? These do not require as much air as a full 8 measure phrase. At the end of a very short phrase an inexperienced brass player will feel a need to exhale before he or she can take a breath. If this overbreathing continues for any length of time the player will sometimes turn red or gasp for air. No you didn't run out of air for playing however, your body NEEDS to have oxygen in your lungs. What has happened is you took a full breath and used less than half. Now when you take a full breath you only replace half of the stale oxygen depleted air in your lungs. As this continues you end up gasping for air. Does this sound familiar?

Overbreathing really is a kind of self suffocation (in the extreme). In the extreme upper register overbreathing becomes more apparent. Have you seen people get dizzy, lightheaded, or blackout. They were overbreathing. I know some people say if you release the pressure really slowly it will not happen. If you did not overbreathe and have so much leftover air under pressure it would not happen either.

The summary of the effects of overbreathing should address subsequent loss or gain of carbon dioxide and the exact form of the carbon dioxide--for example, dissolved carbon dioxide gas, carbonic acid, bicarbonates, carbonates, etc.  It also should discuss the obvious paradoxes that may result from the various shunts between defensive and compensatory mechanisms. Examples of such paradoxes include high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood of asthmatics, and compensating shifts between respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis.

Whether over-breathing causes hyperventilation, or hyperventilating causes over-breathing, the two are linked but the underlying cause of both is very often a dysfunctional breathing pattern aka UDB.

Do you often experience a little or a lot more of any of the following:

Panic attack
High blood pressure
Voice troubles
Chest pain
Asthma-like symptoms of wheezing
Sleep disturbance
Blurred hazy vision
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
Chronic muscle tension
Cold hands and feet
Irregular heartbeat
Constant sighing or gasping
Poor concentration or focus
Yawning episodes
Mental confusion
Getting sick more often
Poor digestion
Tightness in the chest
Overreacting to stress
Feeling of not being able to take a big easy breath and/or
Can't take a deep breath or can't get over the hump as it is often called
Gas, constipation, or diarrhea
Tired yet cannot sleep
Feeling on edge
Chest pain


Regardless of the so called diagnosis, develop your breathing and many or all above symptoms will improve or disappear altogether.
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The breathing improvement techniques, practices and products outlined in this publication are extremely gentle, and should, if carried out as described, be beneficial
to your overall physical and psychological health. If you have any serious medical or psychological problem, however, such as heart disease, high blood pressure,
cancer, mental illness, or recent abdominal or chest surgery, you should consult your health professional before undertaking these practices.