The most important thing in our lives is usually the ones we barely exert effort for. They remain to be our bridge between the living and the opposite—like breathing. Breathing is the most important thing in our life. Without it, the very basics of existence become moot. Just like how plants need oxygen to bring out their best colors, humans need it to, well—live.
But in some cosmic lottery of odds and even, many of us face the day-to-day challenges of doing the most basic of all basics. In different interpretations and descriptions, some of us experience the dreadful feeling of having air sucked out of our lungs. Why do we experience it? Lottery of odds and even. Some were just not built with the mechanism to perform even the bare minimum of all human bodily functions.
ENTER, BROWN PAPER BAG.
A person who has been having difficulties in breathing already know by now the tricks to address the problem. Someone who often experience hyperventilation, anxiety, or panic attacks often take prescription medications. But another thing they do to catch up with their breathing is by grabbing a paper bag and breathing into it.
As someone who takes these episodes as part of life, since my adolescence, this technique saved me from irreversible instances. Even though it may not work for all, when it does work for you, consider yourself lucky—the lottery of odds and even. The technique of breathing into a paper bag has proven to help balance a person’s oxygen flow in the body.
While the science of the technique makes sense, medical research is divided on whether it really works or not. Again, if it works for you, you are lucky. The technique mostly helps people hyperventilating or having panic attacks, but it will not work for a person with heart and lung condition, or asthma. In fact, it could make things worse since you are not going to get enough oxygen into your body by simply breathing into a paper bag; medications for asthma or nebulizing is still the best solution there is for them.
WHEN IT WORKS, IT DOES WORK.
The main purpose of breathing into a paper bag is to balance the oxygen flow in your body through respiration (inhalation and exhalation). When a person “overbreathes”, too much carbon dioxide leaves the body. When that happens, your body will experience imbalance which is usually presented by shortness of breath, fast heart rate, numbness, and even fainting.
The use of a paper bag helps in regulating the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. But, this technique must be done the proper way for it to work.
- Hold a small paper bag over your mouth and nose.
- Take 6 to 12 normal breaths.
- Remove the bag from your mouth and nose.
- Take a few breaths.
- Repeat as needed.
It is also very important to remember that you should not breathe more than 12 breaths in the paper bag. After every 12 breaths, you need to remove the paper bag from your mouth and nose to see if your breathing improves.
You should never use a plastic bag for this technique as it would not work the same way paper bags do. It is also dangerous to breathe into a plastic bag as the lightweight plastic could get sucked into your mouth.
When the most basic function of your body becomes laborious to execute, this calls for a trip to the doctor. Many cases of hyperventilation and panic attacks remain undiagnosed. Not being able to breathe properly is a nightmare no one should endure. Seeking professional help and finding the best ways to address the problem is key to preventing it from ballooning into a bigger one.