The Return to Frolov

I have just had a 30-minute session with the Frolov respiratory training device, and I am surprised how well it went after a long break. I’m not sure why I stopped; perhaps it’s because I was feeling so right after the last run that I made the mistake of thinking I didn’t have to go any further. It is because I went on holiday and somehow being on holiday in a hotel room on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia did not seem compatible with spending time using this device.

The Frolov Respiratory Training Device

What device? I hear you say; The Frolov respiratory training device, an individual simulator inhaler. This is a Russian invention designed two retrain the medulla oblongata in the brain to allow you to retain more carbon dioxide say what question mark why on earth would you want to retain more carbon dioxide? Surely the point of breathing is to expel as much carbon dioxide as possible? Well actually, no, and paradoxically you can increase the oxygen into cells by retaining carbon dioxide hence the training to fool the automatic breathing centre in the brain to keep more carbon dioxide in the lungs and thus bloodstream. So as you can see from the photo, this device consists of a container, a flexible pipe and a mouthpiece. The idea is that you put some water into the pot and then breathe through your mouth a short breath in, followed by a natural long through the mouthpiece mouth so that you are breathing to a degree your carbon dioxide which increases the body’s tolerance carbon dioxide. Enough of the technical details at the moment, only to say that I am most pleased with my initial progress and my ability to oxygenate my cells has not been too severely compromised over the last 18 months. That is because I do other exercises, especially when I’m out walking, to naturally increase the amount of carbon dioxide in my lungs and my bloodstream.

Don’t waste your carbon dioxide!

Retaining carbon dioxide as a mechanism for getting more oxygen into cells is one of the Five Pillars of the Sakharoff Protocol and from my own experience has been clear that this is tremendously useful in enhancing one’s health.

For people who suffer from various lifestyle diseases such as bronchitis, bronchial asthma, COPD, hypertension, stenocardia and other chronic inflammatory conditions, this is a potent tool to use. Essentially the respiration training device is replicating the low oxygen conditions found at high altitude. Now, you may be able to remember that in the Soviet times the Russians were very keen to talk about the longevity of the residents in the Caucasian mountains and this has now been put down to among other things the fact that they live at high altitudes.

The benefits

What benefits have I had from this and what am I looking to improve? My blood pressure is normalised, I feel my metabolism is better, and I have more energy; I don’t get out of breath so quickly and cycling and walking fast is a great pleasure by using a technique called nose breathing where you keep your mouth closed when you’re doing exercise. I also feel that I am developing resilience and gaining strength. I have a gut feeling that I’m doing something that will keep me healthy for many years to come.

As well as measuring the periods of a respiratory cycle, that is, inhalation and exhalation compared to the amount of water I put in the container, I can also monitor my resting pulse. At this juncture, it is 51, although during the last period of using the device my resting pulse was as low as 41.

The Control Pause (CP)

I can also measure my so-called Control Pause, both in the evening and first thing in the morning. Let me define what the Control Pause is: if you breathe out and then try and refrain from breathing in, it is the amount of time in seconds that it takes for you to get air hungry and feel the need to inhale air. The interesting fact is that modern humans in western society have a Contol Pause (CP) of between 15 and 20 seconds whereas the records from 100 years ago show that the average CP was between 40 and 50 seconds. The Russian Doctor, Buteyko, observed that people who had cancer had a very very low CP of between 3 and 5 seconds. Conversely, healthy people have a CP of over 40 and it has been observed that cancer has a very hard time surviving when cells are oxygenated to the degree that there is enough carbon dioxide in the bloodstream indicated by a CP of over 60 seconds. At best, my CP was around 110 seconds 18 months ago, but alas, it has fallen back to about 60 seconds now. But I want to attain Super Health and build my CP up to 120 seconds and beyond. It seems that you can go all the way up to 240 seconds. If I get there, I will have attained Super Health. I don’t believe this; I know it. I have seen testimonials from those who were seriously ill and have transformed their health situation by learning how to breathe correctly and build up their CP to the Super Health level.

However, as I have mentioned in previous posts, this is only part of the story, and by combining breathing with the other factors in the Sakharoff Protocol, there can be a dramatic synergistic effect on the body and the psyche.

I will keep you posted on my progress with the Frolov respiratory training device.

PS: My average resting pulse according to my Fitbit, is 49, down from 51 yesterday and from 57 a week ago. My resting pulse last night before I went to bed was 42! Not bad for a 64-year old!

Take this drug and live to 120!

metformin

Read all about it! Take this drug and live to 120!

Metformin is being touted  as a candidate for keeping people alive until they are 120! (sourceDaily Telegraph)

Should we clap our hands with excitement? NO!

The very notion of using a drug to stay alive should set off alarm bells with every person.  Metformin is a generic drug, which means that no one in particular owns the rights to produce it. At the present time, it is cheap. If a drugs giant wanted to, they could corner the market and increase the price. This is every drug company’s boss dream come true!

What is metformin (sometimes misnamed Metmorphine) currently prescribed for? It regulates blood glucose levels in diabetes patients. This is without the side effect of straight insulin, which is an increase in body weight.

In the context of longevity, what is Metformin supposed to do? According to the article:

“Metformin increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, which appears to boost robustness and longevity.”

Do we need a drug to do that? Have they not heard that a practice known as Buteyko Breathing does exactly that? I am doing Buteyko breathing as a part of the Sakharoff Path of Strong Health course. So, according to this research, I am also going to live until I am 120 – without drugs!

Why are we so keen to take drugs for every condition? Drugs are typically synthetic biochemical substances. They are prescribed to suppress the symptoms of physiological conditions. Not necessarily to cure the condition. The efficacy is based on evidence. The evidence does not show  if it affects other body systems. Especially if drug companies fund the research.

57  years more of taking a drug without side effects; are you kidding me?

According to Drugs.com, the main side effects of metformin are:

” Commonly reported side effects of metformin include: lactic acidosis, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, nausea and vomiting, and flatulence. Other side effects include: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, decreased vitamin b12 serum concentrate, and weakness.”

Now the rest:

  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  • cough or hoarseness
  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • fast or shallow breathing
  • fever or chills
  • general feeling of discomfort
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle pain or cramping
  • painful or difficult urination
  • sleepiness

Less common:

  • Anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chest discomfort
  • cold sweats
  • coma
  • confusion
  • cool, pale skin
  • depression
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • dizziness
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling of warmth
  • headache
  • increased hunger
  • increased sweating
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • seizures
  • shakiness
  • shortness of breath
  • slurred speech
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • wheezing

Rare

  • Behavior change similar to being drunk
  • difficulty with concentrating
  • drowsiness
  • lack or loss of strength
  • restless sleep
  • unusual sleepiness

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with metformin may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:

  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • loss of appetite
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • passing of gas
  • stomachache
  • stomach upset or pain
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Less common:

  • Abnormal stools
  • bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in taste
  • difficulty with moving
  • discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
  • flu-like symptoms
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose
  • swollen joints

To the best of my knowledge, Buteyko breathing has NONE of the side effects. But it does the same thing as “scientists” claim Metformin does.

In short, Buteyko Breathing encourages retention of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood. This facilitates the release of oxygen from haemeglobin to the cells. This, oxygenating cells. The Bohr Effect. Look it up.

I, for one, prefer a physical method of attaining longevity over taking drugs. Any drugs. What about you?

Swim for your life!

I have got a crazy goal – to swim 2,500 metres freestyle on my 100th birthday!

Crazy, isn’t it? WHY???? I hear you scream.

Because 1) You need to have goals in life and 2) When I am swimming, get to around 1500 metres and think of stopping, I say to myself, “Steve, if you cannot do it now, how on Earth do you expect to do it when you are 100!”

So why bother? Because swimming is damned good exercise.

Since I was 8 years old I could swim; in our town, we had a very good swimming instructor, Vic Levitt, who thought that every child should be able to swim. Great man, Vic! I never really got into swimming, though, preferring soccer, rugby and squash.

However, squash at a high level becomes risky after 35 and rugby suicidal. So I started to seriously swim some 25 years ago (running was not a realistic option – flat feet!). I started off doing a length (25m) and having a breather. I swam once a week and built up through 1,000 m breast stroke to where I am today – 2,500 m or more. I “cheat”, according to my family, because I wear flippers, but I do it in about 50 minutes.

Swimming is good for the following reasons:

  1. You exercise many more muscle groups than with running or cycling
  2. You are buoyed by water, so there is no gravitational pressure on joints
  3. Water “gives” to pressure, so you cannot over-strain joints and muscles
  4. Combined with Buteyko breathing, it helps respiration.
  5. It is ideal if you are obese, have arthritis or are pregnant.
  6. It increases flexibility, endurance, muscle tone, strength and cardio-respiratory conditioning without straining your heart.
  7. Acts as an ideal lymphatic pump, helping clear your lymph system of toxins.
  8. After an hours swimming, you release oxytocin , the cuddle-drug, into your bloodstream which makes me feel like I am floating for several hours.
  9. You also meet like-minded people at the beach or in the pool or in the sauna afterwards.

It is important that you swim correctly. I swim TI (total immersion) freestyle with a little bit of latitude due to the flippers. If you want to learn this, visit Terry Laughlin’s Youtube pages. Many women try to keep their heads above the water, which causes neck problems. Get some goggles or a face mask to avoid this.

Personally, I don’t like swimming in the sea. Therefore I am very glad to swim in a local pool that has Denmark’s best water quality. It is not overheated either.

One thing the Buteyko breathing is taught me is how to swim a full length underwater. I generally do this every 10th length. You feel like a dolphin, but alas, I have not mastered moon walking with my flippers or leaping 6 metres in the air.

I also do a “high intensity burst” every 10 lengths between underwater swimming. This is supposed to be very good conditioning for the body. I give it everything and swim 25 metres in 15 seconds on one breath. It is absolutely exhilarating!

I have also been inspired over the years by the octogenarians who swim on a daily basis at the pool. I am working towards swimming at this age and beyond.

So, get your swimming togs out and go down to your local pool. If I can do 2,500 lengths at 61, so can you and who knows? We could start a  100 (25m lengths) at 100 club!

 

 

 

 

Please Close Your Mouth When You Run Past My House!

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What is wrong with this picture? Yes, yes, they all have blurred faces. I have done that to protect the guilty!

The problem is that they all have their mouths open while they are running. Is that a problem? It is not that they have bad breath as they run past my house on the bi-annual “Griseløb” . No, they are possibly causing immense damage to their bodies.

Why? Each and everyone of them is hyperventilating. They are expelling all of their carbon dioxide. I hear you say “That is a good thing, isn’t it? – Isn’t respiration  about getting oxygen in and CO2 out?”. Wrong – that is a bad thing. And yes, getting oxygen in is correct. How would we otherwise stay alive? But where do you need the oxygen when you are running? In the muscles, the cells and the organs.

If you are not retaining some of the carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (the “Bohr Effect“), you are not releasing the oxygen from the haemoglobin. Moreover, it is lowering the PH value of your cells (“acidosis”) and their are some enlightened doctors and researchers who say that this creates conditions for cancer.

How do you counter this? Learn to breathe in and out through your nose only. It is called Buteyko breathing and has long been used to cure asthma. Another good reason to breathe through your nose is that the nose extracts the majority of the microbes we don’t want in our bodies, before they get to the lungs. It also warms and moistens the air that you inhale.

Misha Sakharoff has written an excellent piece on this “Asthma is common among Olympic athletes – but why?”

They knew about this in India a long time ago with Pranyamic breathing. As they say “The more you control your breathing, the longer you will you live”, and this is especially true when we are exercising heavily.

So at the next Griseløb, I may well stand outside with a big sign “Luk munden”, which means “close your mouth”!

Can you cure cancer by holding your breath?

No! Well, not as far as I  know.

So what is all this with breathing and cancer and other lifestyle diseases?

It is about reverting to the way humans in the past used to breathe. How is that different from the way we breathe today? Many of us breathe using the top of our lungs only, we have our mouths open, we hyperventilate and we have a notion that taking in lots of air in a deep breath is good for us.

What is the connection? In a nutshell, we do not get enough oxygen into our cells, which leaves them vulnerable to common lifestyle diseases.

I will attempt to explain simply: Our cells need oxygen to function. Oxygen is carried in the bloodstream, and the catalyst that allows it to be taken up by cells is carbon dioxide. That’s right – CO2, the same stuff that is giving us global warming concerns. Only  in the atmosphere, the concentration is 0.04%, up from 0.o3% this last century. In the bloodstream, it should be 6.1%. You heard right. 6.1%. Even higher in the brain (7%) If you have less than 3% you are dead! Probably due to bad breathing, stress, bad diet and lack of exercise, many people are down closer to that level than the ideal.

Have a look at this diagram showing the effects of hypocapnia. This is where hyperventilation leads to a shortage of carbon dioxide in the body and results in hypoxia, which is a condition that sick people suffer. You can see this in the way sick people breathe – very mechanically – in,out,in,out – many times a minute.

Simple man’s conclusion? sick people breathe badly? Bad breathers are sick? Yeah, something like that.

The point is that their seems to be a correlation (to me) between cancer,diabetes, cardiovascular disease and breathing and the consequence of this: namely lack of oxygen to the cells.  There are many references to research that bear this out, but here are some interesting facts:

  1. People who are sick take more breaths per minute than healthy people. (between 18 and 30 breaths as opposed to 6-12 for healthy people.
  2. Even this healthy level is not ideal
  3. People had far better breathing performance 100 years ago.

The way to test for this is the CP (control pause). Breathe out and see how it takes before you need to take  a breath. If you are somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds, you are “normal”. However, “normal” was over 40 seconds 100 years ago. Under 10 seconds and you have very likely got a problem.

That is interesting: Why has the CP fallen over 100 years? I put forward these reasons:

  • Sugar. We consume a lot more sugar than 100 years ago. Also as corn syrup.
  • Wheat products. We eat a lot more of these. Bread, pasta, etc.
  • Crap fats. We don’t have the right types in the right balance.
  • Stress. Our wonderful modern lifestyle means we are pressed and it affects our breathing.
  • Lack of exercise.  Our forefathers (and mothers!) generally did a lot more manual work and walked a lot.
  • Obesity. The result of the above.

I am not going to document the above here, but in a later post, I will attempt to take each one and point to the research.

So, what else does good breathing do? It causes the blood vessels to dilate, thus allowing more blood flow. In my own case, my resting pulse rate is between 43 and 50 beats per minute and my blood pressure is 120/70. (I am male, aged 61). It also adjusts how alkaline your blood is (slightly) but more importantly, reduces the acidity of cells.

The link between cancer and breathing.

I have seen Micha Sakharoff’s data, and he thinks that cancer cannot exist in cells where there is a good supply of oxygen. This equates to a CP of 40 seconds. And no, there has not been any clinical research on this (to the best of my knowledge)*.  Along with the no-carb ketogenic diet, the acidity of the tissues is reduced, Again, cancer will not thrive in an alkaline environment.

Bring on Buteyko Breathing

What is it? It is a series of breathing exercises, originally designed by a Russian, Konstantin Buteyko, to help asthma patients. If you have asthma and you do the Buteyko training, you will most likely stop suffering asthma attacks. What are we training? We are reprogramming the brain (the medula oblongata, to be precise), to accept more carbon dioxide in the body (as bicarbonate and carbon dioxide gas). I have been doing this for 3 months now. I have improved from 17 seconds to an average of 35 seconds. Sometimes, in the evenings, especially after yoga, I can get to 60 seconds. Do I do this because I have cancer? I trust not – but I believe that prevention is better that cure. Given the latest research in the UK (“One in two people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime“), I owe it to myself  to do something to protect myself.

Apparently, there are some great benefits to be had if you get to a CP of 90 seconds.

Unfortunately, Buteyko is a business franchise, so I cannot explain more. However, there are some excellent videos by an Irishman, Patrick McKeown  on Youtube and there is a lot more information by Artour Rakhimov on normalbreathing.com. Having said that, I really believe that Misha Sakharoff’s holistic approach is well worth giving attention to.

*Of course there are no clinical trials. There is no serious money for drug companies in teaching people to breathe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did Raimundas’s recovery mean to me?

I described the sequence of events that led to Raimundas’s “spontaneous remission” on the first page. 

As with anyone, I was very happy to hear this and then sceptical. How could he be cured when the best and most expensive treatment the Danish health system could throw at it fail? How was it done? What was I missing?

Vanessa asked me to do a simple test: She wanted to test my “CP”. I had to breathe in, breathe out, then see how long it took before I was forced to take another inhalation; 17 seconds. “Not bad”, she said ,”a cancer patient can do about 5 seconds” I was relieved – I must be OK, right? Like most people I know, I have a lurking fear of the Big C.  I know so many people who have been cut short in their prime because of it. And to cap that, a recent BBC article said that it is expected that half the UK population will get cancer. Hey, I am a Brit, so it is statistically even money!

Vanessa said that this CP is the test for how much carbon dioxide is in your bloodstream. Carbon Dioxide in my bloodstream? Surely, I don’t want that? I want oxygen – not carbon dioxide! (or so I thought). Well, yes, I do want oxygen, but what I didn’t know that I need carbon dioxide to be able to release the oxygen from the oxygen-rich blood into my cells. Why? Because essentially, cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated cell. I will explain that later.

So what had Raimundas done? He had, through careful monitoring of a training course, increased his CP (short for “control pause”) from the cancer-sufferer’s 5 seconds to 60 seconds. And according to Micha, cancer is unlikely to survive in someone with a CP of over 40 seconds.

And what does the training do? It is designed to reprogramme your medula oblangata (the control centre for the body’s automatic functions) to accept more carbon dioxide in your body. Up to 7% actually. Pretty fantastic considering the atmospheric concentration is  0.4%.

I have to say at this point that Raimundas also did other things, such as centering, calorific restriction and ketogenic diet. All this is explained on Micha’s web site.

Anyway, I wanted to find out more. Reading some of the theory behind this led me to adopt some of the practices, although not all. I figured that I was in pretty good shape, but I knew there was room for improvement.