Possible symptoms of breathing pattern disorder (Fritz, Grosenbach, 2004)

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Affected area Symptom
Cardiovascular system Increased blood pressure (Chaitow, 2006)

Altered heart rhythm possibly including palpitations and tachycardia.

Chest pain & angina

Altered functioning of the venous system possibly including

  • Vasomotor instability (Unstable narrowing & widening of the blood vessels )
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (Spasms of the small arteries of the fingers, and sometimes the toes. It is usually brought on by exposure to cold or excitement. )
  • Capillary vasoconstriction (face, arms, and hands)
  • Cold extremities
Respiratory system Breathing difficulties including post-exercise shortness of breath, asthma, and tightness of the chest

Irritable cough

Excessive sighing, yawning and sniffing

Gastrointestinal system Difficulty in swallowing

Dry mouth and throat

Digestive difficulties including impaired digestion (Chaitow, 2006), abdominal discomfort, bloating, flatulence, belching, nausea, reflux, heartburn, hiatal hernia

Muscular system Cramps

Muscle pains (especially occipital, neck, shoulders, between scapulae)

Muscle tremors, twitching, weakness, stiffness or tetany

Myofascial trigger points (Chaitow, 2006)

Overuse of the accessory muscles of breathing (Forman, 2007)

Nervous system Sympathetic arousal (Chaitow, 2006)

Dizziness, instability, and sensation of faintness or giddiness

Visual disturbances such as blurred or tunnel vision, intolerance of light

Dilated pupils

Headache (often migraine)

Paresthesia – commonly of hands, feet or face sometimes scalp or whole body

Psychological effects Tension and anxiety

Depersonalisation, feeling “out of body”, hallucinations

Panic disorders, phobias

Fatigue and disturbed sleep

Impaired mental function including concentration, memory and clarity of thought.

Cerebrovascular effects Cerebrovascular constriction is a common response to breathing pattern disorder and can reduce oxygen available to the brain by about 1/2


  • Dizzinesss
  • Blurring of consciousness
  • Emotional instability