Breathing, Stress, and Seizures
Breathing is a behavior essential to human life. The body’s homeostasis, especially changes in arterial carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, is greatly influenced by an individual’s breathing behavior. As early as in the 1930s researchers have been investigating the relationship between breathing, brain waves, and seizure activity.
Chronic hyperventilation, or over-breathing, can trigger and exacerbate epileptic and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures.
Chronic hyperventilation is a learned behavior leading to Hypocapnia. Hypocapnia is a CO2 deficiency in the blood and other body fluids, leading to cerebral vasoconstriction. Hypocapnia can trigger and exacerbate a wide variety of physical and psychogenic symptoms including physiological slowing of brain rhythms, interictal discharges, and epileptic and/or non-epileptic seizures.
Bringing awareness to and regulating your breathing to a level of optimal health can lower seizure frequency.
Many people who over-breathe, which triggers a variety of symptoms such as seizures, are not aware of their behavior. Fortunately, optimal breathing behavior can be learned. At The Rocky Mountain Center for Epilepsy we use Respiratory Biofeedback to teach you about your breathing behavior. We want you to be knowledgeable and empowered to regulate your over-breathing and consequently Co2 levels.
We use the CapnoTrainer® , an educational instrument to identify, evaluate, and teach you about how optimal breathing behavior can positively impact your life. On this journey of breathing education you will learn how to identify your own behavior and how it impacts your emotional and physical health. You will be able to detect deregulated breathing chemistry through experience, notice subtle shifts in your behavior and consequently brain chemistry, and shift your breathing behavior towards health and optimal body chemistry.