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Thread: 4-7-8 breathing technique Dr. Weil for: anxiety, cravings, sleep

  1. #1
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    4-7-8 breathing technique Dr. Weil for: sleep, cravings, anxiety

    I've recently run across this breathing technique that could turn out to be really helpful in a lot of the things that are troublesome to those on the HCG protocol, particularly:

    disturbed sleep
    cravings that lead to cheating
    anxiety that leads to cheating

    Its called 4-7-8 breathing and has its roots in Indian/Ayurvedic medicine. You can learn about it from this 8 minute video that includes a demonstration:

    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/VDR00112...nstration.html

    Basic steps:

    The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise
    This exercise is utterly simple, takes almost no time, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

    Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
    Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
    Hold your breath for a count of seven.
    Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
    This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
    Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

    The only tricky part is keeping your tongue in the right position. The effect gains in power with repetition and practice. You must do this twice a day at a minimum and will see the full effects after 30 days. You can do it more than that if you like. You can't overdo it.


    ==========

    I'm going to try this and see it if really can help me sleep better, or at least get back to sleep faster after my frequent wake-ups. If anyone else tries it, please report if it worked for you for that or for help with any stress situation you've been using it for.

    ==========

    UPDATE: After the discussion in this thread and my own experience with this method, I'm now using at 1:2 inhale/exhale sequence. This is working just as well to get me back to sleep quickly. The breath-holding part of 4-7-8 breathing seems to cause a blood pressure spike right after doing the method for me. The effect is only temporary and levels go back down in a few minutes. On someone without pressure issues to begin with, it might not be a problem, but thought it was worth a warning for anyone else already compromised.


    So just a caution to anyone that might be thinking of trying this and is already dealing with high blood pressure issues.

    I really don't know if 1:2 breathing will work as well for cravings or anxiety (probably for anxiety, I would imagine.) But... its a lot easier to do 4 measured breath sequences than it is to do the tapping thing. So probably worth a try.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  2. #2
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    OK. This might be too soon to say, but I'm going to post anyway, because I'm starting to get hopeful!

    I've done this two nights now. The first night, I just did it before falling asleep and didnt really notice anything. I didn't expect to, as Dr. Weil says it take about a month of doing this twice a day before you get the full effects. But last night I did it again before bed, and I also did it everytime I woke up.

    Normally, I will be awakened every 1-1/2 to 2 hours by a hot flash. Sometimes I can get back to sleep, other times, I might be up until the next flash.

    Last night, I had TWO bouts of staying asleep for 3-1/2 hours each. This is astounding. I'm doing all kinds of other stuff too that is supposed to help, but this is the first thing that has made any difference at all.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  3. #3
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    A few days later. That one night was apparently a fluke, as it hasn't repeated.

    However, I am doing the breathing sequence after my wake-ups and it is helping me get back to sleep quicker. So thats good for now. I'll update again the next time I notice any further changes.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  4. #4
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    Another fortnight, and just checking in to report that I've noticed that right after doing the breathing technique, I have a blood pressure rise of about 20 points. It comes down within a couple of minutes, but it's something that might be an issue for someone that is already dealing with a high number. I don't think people that are already stable would have this response, in fact, Dr. Weil says it should actually lower blood pressure. But for those of us who are on meds for this, or have a history, just something to watch out for.

    I imagine its the breath-holding part that is responsible.

    I'm continuing to use it though, because it does help me get back to sleep after my multiple night-time wake-ups.

    I've experienced the 3-1/2 hour sleep stretches a few more times since I last posted. Usually in the early morning part of the night. But its not consistent.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  5. #5
    Senior Member River57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leez View Post
    Another fortnight, and just checking in to report that I've noticed that right after doing the breathing technique, I have a blood pressure rise of about 20 points. It comes down within a couple of minutes, but it's something that might be an issue for someone that is already dealing with a high number. I don't think people that are already stable would have this response, in fact, Dr. Weil says it should actually lower blood pressure. But for those of us who are on meds for this, or have a history, just something to watch out for.

    I imagine its the breath-holding part that is responsible.

    I'm continuing to use it though, because it does help me get back to sleep after my multiple night-time wake-ups.

    I've experienced the 3-1/2 hour sleep stretches a few more times since I last posted. Usually in the early morning part of the night. But its not consistent.
    That is interesting about the blood pressure change. Who would have thought that something that should relax you would have that effect? But then everyone is different. I can see why you would be reluctant to let it go, even if it is helping sporadically.
    I use something called Square Breathing. Breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 at the top of the breath, exhale for a count of 4, and then hold at the bottom of the breath for a count of 4 before starting the whole process over. This often helps me get back to sleep. I generally sleep for about 4-5 before having a wakeful period that can last from a few minutes to 2 hours. It makes me miserable the next day if I don't get back to sleep and that makes me hungry! There are insomnia issues in my family too. Vitamin D is important in helping with that I think. I take 5000IU generally, but since it is an oil base I have stopped it, along with my fish oil until I get to P3.
    start weight 200.8#
    Load Weight 201.0#

    LIW -- 175.6
    P3/ D24--- 176.6
    P4/ D7---- 177.6

  6. #6
    I don't generally like to hold my breath. i'm a yoga teacher with a 500 E-RYT, which just means I've had a lot of training and I've been teaching a long time. The best technique for me, which does not include breath retention, is to inhale for a certain number, and double the length of the exhale. The duration depends on the person. Some people can only do 3:6 and some people who have practiced a long time can do 10:20. I learned this from one of my yoga books, "The Anatomy of Hatha Yoga" by PhD David Coulter. This type of breathing soothes the nervous system. My meditation teacher said a person should never hold their breath. He said holding your breath strains the heart. Sometimes a person must hold their breath, but his stance was that if was not necessary, you should never do it. So, while I have learned and even practiced and taught many methods of breathing (pranayama) I believe doubling the length of the exhale is the safest and is effective, and this is the one I almost always teach. Oh, and I was also taught that pregnant women or people on blood pressure meds should never hold their breath. So, even if for some reason I am teaching a different method, I caution certain people to abstain.

    Good luck with your exploration!



    Doing Whole30!

  7. #7
    Senior Member River57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by River57 View Post
    That is interesting about the blood pressure change. Who would have thought that something that should relax you would have that effect? But then everyone is different. I can see why you would be reluctant to let it go, even if it is helping sporadically.
    I use something called Square Breathing. Breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4 at the top of the breath, exhale for a count of 4, and then hold at the bottom of the breath for a count of 4 before starting the whole process over. This often helps me get back to sleep. I generally sleep for about 4-5 before having a wakeful period that can last from a few minutes to 2 hours. It makes me miserable the next day if I don't get back to sleep and that makes me hungry! There are insomnia issues in my family too. Vitamin D is important in helping with that I think. I take 5000IU generally, but since it is an oil base I have stopped it, along with my fish oil until I get to P3.
    Booklover, thanks for sharing. Will try that to avoid the breath holding.
    start weight 200.8#
    Load Weight 201.0#

    LIW -- 175.6
    P3/ D24--- 176.6
    P4/ D7---- 177.6

  8. #8
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    That's a really good point about the breath holding being hard on the heart.

    I have some guided breathing CD's that do the 1:2 inhale/exhale method you talk about, set to a musical background. You can choose from several breath speeds, and each track is about 15 minutes long. The intend of the CDs is to help promote relaxation and thereby lower blood pressure. I'm now thinking it might be a better idea to do those than the Andrew Weil method. What I really liked about Weil's method was that you only had to do 4 sequences, so really quick and easy.

    I might play around with just doing 4 inhale/exhales instead though. It might work just as well.

    I'm a trained singer, so I have good control of my breath and can do long inhale/exhale sequences. I'm not sure if longer is better for this purpose though. Possibly.''

    River: you can get Vitamin D in capsule form. I always change over to that for P2. I take it with my meals in hopes that the tiny bit of fat in my protein will help absorption.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  9. #9
    Leez, from the yogic perspective, yes, longer is better. You are meant to work up to longer inhales and exhales, but never at the expense of agitation. Some people try too hard and they end up creating anxiety in the body, which is the opposite goal! But, I believe any mindful breathing without retention is good for you, and I do also think 4:4 would be good.

    The benefit of the 1:2 ratio breathing has to to with the oxygen exchange. It has the same effect on the human body as when someone is having a panic attack and they need to breathe in a paper bag. I'd have to look it up to get the exact scientific wording and maybe I will later today. I usually only do ratio breathing when I'm upset or anxious. Like, if you're speeding and get pulled over for a ticket, you could use ratio breathing to calm the limbic system-your fight or flight reaction. If you're waking in the night and your heart starts to pound or you get anxious about not being able to fall back asleep, you could do about 5 of these breaths, then move onto 4:4 ratio. To your point, you're not supposed to do this all day. It's more of a calming down pranayama (breath work) then move onto conscious deep, even breathing.

    And, when I said the ratio breathing is the one I always (or usually) teach, I mean, we do it in the beginning of a class to settle down. We don't breath like that throughout the class.



    Doing Whole30!

  10. #10
    Chief Moderator (my happy place :) Leez's Avatar
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    UPDATE: 1:2 breathing works just as well for me

    Just wanted to report back to say that I believe that doing the 1:2 ratio inhale/exhale breathing is working just as well to get me back to sleep as the 4-7-8 method. I'm just doing 4 sequences.

    But after my experience with the blood pressure rises, I think 1:2 breathing is a safer way (especially with anyone already compromised) to do a breathing relaxation technique.

    I'll put a disclaimer in the first post.
    At goal since 2015. \(ᵔᴥᵔ)/ Total HCG loss: 77# [5'5" 210-133] Maintenance strategies overview
    Please note that any suggestions I make are based on the Original Protocol.

    My recent HCG round was with DietDoc. Our site owner has generously arranged for me to earn a small fee if you use my DietDoc or Nu Image Medical link to order your Hcg and supplies. (All HDI site discounts and coupons apply.) A full review of my experience and how the round progressed: my Diet Doc review and my Hcg coaching blog here

    Medical Disclaimer: My statements are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical condition.

  11. #11
    Yay!!! I'm happy it's working for you.



    Doing Whole30!

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