Thousands of people can testify that this is an exceptionally easy and fast method to relieve the pain and suffering of constipation and the abdominal pain caused by it. Moreover, this is the only technique that addresses the root cause of constipation and constipation pain. The spasm in the smooth muscles of the GI tract appeared due to a lack of 2 crucial nutrients in the body and the digestive tract: carbon dioxide and oxygen. How could it appear? Concentrations of both these chemicals are controlled by our breathing patterns. Hence, the answer is in breathing normalization or breathing in such a way that is closer to the normal breathing pattern. The success rate for this exercise has been dependent on instructions provided by Buteyko breathing method educators who explained this exercise to their students.
The cause of constipation pain
About 100 years ago, Yandell Henderson, Yale University Professor, MD found that arterial hypocapnia (low aCO2) due to hyperventilation resulted in loss of tone in the blood vessels located in the abdominal viscera of dogs and produced extreme intestinal congestion. Saturation of the blood with carbon dioxide quickly eliminated the congestion (Henderson, 1907). His study was published in the American Journal of Physiology (see the reference below). Do modern people breathe too much? This graph show results of 24 medical studies that measured how much modern normal subjects breathe. The small bar on the left is the medical norm (6 liters of air per minute at rest). If you click on the graph, you will get references for this graph.
Sick people breathe even more, as you can see from this Table (Minute Ventilation in the Sick)
Hyperventilation (i.e. breathing more than the norm) and correspondingly low CO2 values in the arterial blood lead to problems with perfusion and oxygenation of the digestive organs. All vital organs and tissues get less oxygen. We already proved this fact in the section devoted to CO2 vasodilation effect. For example, (Gilmour et al, 1980) showed in his article publishd in Cardiovascular Research ("Colon blood flow in the dog: effects of changes in arterial carbon dioxide tension") that low CO2 reduced blood supply to the colon.
These and other changes (e.g., of biochemical nature) cause various problems with the GI system. Other studies found that blood flow, for example, to liver and colon is proportional to arterial CO2 due to so called CO2-vasodilation effect. As result, over-breathing leads to reduced blood and oxygen supply to all GI organs, rectum and surrounding muscles and tissues included. Low oxygen level in cells triggers anaerobic cellular respiration, elevated lactic acid content, suppressed immune system, pathological flora in the gut and many other negative effects.
Furthermore, it is another known physiological fact, that CO2 is crucial for normal work of nerve cells since carbon dioxide possesses sedative and calming neurological effects. Indeed, a more recent investigation, entitled “Hyperventilation, central autonomic control, and colonic tone in humans” (Ford et al, 1995), observed that hyperventilation worsened digestive problems due to changes in haemodynamic function through central and peripheral mechanisms and suggested that some of the pathological changes in colonic function were caused by altered brain or autonomic control mechanisms.
Normally, during elimination, the descending colon and all subsequent muscles function together and in harmony, as a well-trained team. Constipation pain happens as a result of local spasms due to strained muscles, pooling of the venous blood and reduced cell oxygen content due to ineffective breathing (increased thoracic breathing and elevated minute ventilation leading to O2 and CO2 deficiencies). Hence, your goal is to normalize your breath pattern. Here is the best version that has several crucial factors that provide a more certain relief from constipation pain.
Constipation pain relief breathing exercise
1. The exercise is done when you sit on the toilet while squatting with strictly nasal breathing. (Patients with hypertension and those at risk of stroke should avoid squatting and urge their physicians to check squatting blood pressure while monitoring anti-hypertensive therapy before trying this exercise. Furthermore, these patients should avoid breath holding due to rise in blood pressure. Their instruction is provided below.)
2. Take a slow inhalation using your belly (fill or inflate your belly with air) and exhale by relaxing your diaphragm. (This slow and deep breath increases blood oxygen levels since people with constipated pain are usually chest breathers.)
3. At the end of this slow relaxed exhalation, pinch the nose and hold you breath until strong air hunger (People with heart disease, seizures, panic attacks and frequent migraines should avoid extended breath holding and use the easier version provided below.)
4. When you release the nose, instead of your natural desire to have a deep inhalation, take a shorter inhale using your diaphragm and immediately relax it. Your goal is to maintain strong air hunger (desire to breathe more air) for 1-2 minutes, while having this reduced breathing with total relaxation of all body muscles. It is not straining that damages nerves in the muscles of the GI tract, but increased O2 and CO2 concentrations, that will bring the relief from constipation pain. Hence, continue to have shorter diaphragmatic inhalations and relaxed exhalations with strong air hunger and relaxation of body muscles.
For people with heart disease, seizures, panic attacks and frequent migraines
These groups of people require a different version of the breathing exercise to relieve constipation pain due to their different cardiovascular system that requires gentle changes in CO2 and O2 in the lungs and blood. Instead of sudden CO2 surge (as during breath holding), these groups start with step 4 above: only reduced breathing while gradually increasing air hunger level.
Physiological foundation of success
Decreased ventilation leads to gradual accumulation of carbon dioxide in the lungs, blood, and all body tissues. Since carbon dioxide is a relaxant of all smooth muscles (Natural Muscle Relaxant), a dilator of the arteries (CO2 Vasodilation), restorer of the tone of veins, and a catalyst of chemical release of oxygen from hemoglobin (the Bohr effect), elevated CO2 level in the arterial blood naturally produces muscular relaxation, improved blood supply, relief from venous blood congestion, and improved oxygen content removing the spasm and bringing constipation pain relief.
Long-term solution for constipation pain: normalize your breathing patterns
Our unconscious respiration pattern has powerful effects on cell oxygen levels and blood supply to all tissues. Respiratory measurements have clearly showed that modern people breathe about 2 times air than the medical norm requires for overall health. As a result, they have reduced brain and body oxygen stores. Sick people breathe even more than 2 times the medical norm. It is important to emphasize again that over-breathing (i.e. hyperventilation) DECREASES body oxygen content due to vasoconstriction (less blood supply for all vital organs due to CO2 deficiency) and the suppressed Bohr effect (less oxygen released in capillaries by red blood cells due to the same cause, low CO2 in the arterial blood). Chest breathing has been shown to be an independent factor contributing to lower body oxygen due to reduced blood oxygenation.
If you retrain your unconscious respiratory pattern, so that after your usual exhalation, you can easily hold your breath for 30 or more s (no stress during this test), your problems with pain from constipation and many other common symptoms will disappear.
Hence, the permanent answer to the problem with constipation pain relief is to have normal breathing 24/7. then you have normal body and colon oxygen levels, normal gastric and rectal motility, normal gut flora, normal phasic contractility and many other fundamental gut parameters. Apart from breathing exercises, numerous Hyperventilation Causes influence breathing and body oxygen content. All these practical details and their theoretical background can be found on this website.