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Why modern children are so sick

Low body oxygenation is the key factor for development of many diseases in children. How to measure oxygenation and how to increase it are the main topics of the article.

During the last 20 years, there were numerous medical publications about various chronic diseases present in very young children. We had clinical cases of infants, 4-8 months old, who had severe asthma and were given cortisol. Other publications revealed that children, 2-4 years old, developed cancer, malignant forms of heart disease, and other chronic conditions with very low life expectancy. Such cases were not known to medical science 30-50 years ago.

In order to understand the reasons of this epidemic of paediatric diseases, we have to realize that all chronic conditions have one feature in common: low body oxygenation. It is always present in cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and many other disorders. In order measure oxygenation of the child, one can gently the nose of the child and observe how long it would take before the child opens their mouth to breathe. Typical breath holding time of young children (up to 5-7 years old) is around 5 seconds. Such children usually breathe through the mouth and this is another definite factor of poor health.

Healthy children can easily hold their breath up to 40-60 seconds. They can have long dives under water and this is another indicator of poor body oxygenation. Low body oxygenation is produced due to chronic over-breathing. Normally, breathing of sick children is audible and visible.

Doctor Buteyko, a leading Soviet physiologist, trained about 200 medical professionals how to apply breathing retraining therapy in order to increase oxygenation of tissues and treat chronic conditions. These doctors revealed that chronic diseases quickly disappeared when body oxygenation is about 40-60 seconds. Many of his doctors were paediatricians. They found that the following factors cause poor health in modern children;

1)      Women hyperventilate during pregnancy without noticing it and this is as dangerous for the health of the fetus as smoking or drinking alcohol.

2)      Many hospitals do not use swaddling anymore. If a child is not swaddled until the time when they can exercise, then this child develops over-breathing.

3)      Mouth breathing, as mentioned above, is another factor.

4)      As it was noticed by Dr. Lapa, who was practising the Buteyko breathing method in Russia for children:

“The most serious damaging factors leading to uncontrollable growth of the depth of breathing are over- feeding of kids, over-heating and a lack of physical activity. Children's development depends greatly on their environment. The smaller they are, the bigger the dependency. That is why they often copy a character, views, habits of their parents, including their attitude to health. If mother and father do nothing to improve their health, any attempts to do something for children in this respect are taken by them as unjust and a constraint. The best encouraging motivation for kids is an example from parents, a competition with them. That means rehabilitation must be a family business.”

Some Features Of Using DVBM (The Buteyko breathing method) For Children

Dr. N. A. LAPA, Pediatrician of the Children Hospital No. 8, Novosibirsk

Lapa NA, Some features of using DVBM [the Buteyko method] for children, published proceedings of the conference, The Buteyko method. Its application in medical practice, ed. by K.P. Buteyko, 2-nd ed., 1991, Titul, Odessa.

More information on breathing, oxygenation, history of the Buteyko therapyFeature Articles, and original Russian translations can be found at

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Dr. Artour Rakhimov ( is one of the leading world’s breathing educators and teacher of the Buteyko self-oxygenation medical therapy. He is the author of books and the educational website devoted to natural self-oxygenation, breathing education and breathing retraining.

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