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I am not using this for weight loss per se, although I wouldn't mind losing some weight [update: I have lost 6 pounds without trying in the last 2.5 months]. I am using it, rather, for improvement of overall health, a long bought with insomnia, and severely under-functioning adrenals. I originally learned about the off-label use of this device from Dr. Mark Sircus, found some great in-depth information on the site "normal breathing dot com" (click on the "learn here" tab), and finally got some super practical knowledge from author/trainer Patrick McKeown.
There is a great deal of medical science around breathing, and why it's actually beneficial to slightly increase the amount of CO2 in the body SO THAT more OXYGEN can be released into the body's tissues (including the brain and organs). The aim of Buteyko (an MD) is that patients will reduce their breathing down to a shallow normal level, to maximize the amount of oxygen in the body's tissues at all times. This method has been widely recognized as being extremely effective for treating asthma, and it makes sense that it can help other ailments as well, due to the increase in body oxygenation. I have been researching this now for several months, and being skeptically minded, I can say that there is a lot of sound science to back up the claims.
After 10 days of use of this Breathslim device, I had the quite miraculous result of eliminating heavy heart pounding that occurs for me during sleep for FOUR nights in a row. I still remain skeptical of what lies ahead, but this is a REALLY impressive result so far, since nothing else that I've tried has had this kind of effect (and I've tried a LOT of natural therapies). UPDATE: it has now been 2.5 months with no heart pounding.
I would also like to respond to the many misleading reviews that are posted here on Amazon, which almost caused me not to buy this product. First of all, while this item is all plastic, and it is simple in construction, and probably costs very little to manufacture, I do not see this as an adequate "debunking" of the product as several others have stated. It is most certainly NOT just a sippy cup, and you can NOT reproduce the results of this device by breathing through pursed lips. There IS some truth in what these reviewers are saying, but it's not the whole picture.
As I see it, this device uses a water barrier and a mostly enclosed container to (1) give some controlled resistance to breathing for both inhalations and exhalations, and (2) cause the breather to inhale a measured portion of the previously exhaled air (to increase the CO2 in the inhaled air). You can't breathe too hard through this device or else the water spills out the top.
I was able to create a similar device which was effective, using a thinner-than usual drinking straw taped deep inside a mostly-closed plastic bag. It took a bit for me to find a straw that was the right diameter--a cocktail straw was too small and I wasn't able to keep up the breathing for more than a couple breaths. A normal drinking straw was too easy to breathe through and did not give any resistance. I eventually found a straw that was in between, which, for me, was the perfect amount of resistance to make it difficult but not impossible. I have read about others who used a regular straw and pinched it, but this is not very scientifically controlled.
Having done this experiment, I do think that this device is superior in design. I can feel a different kind of resistance (less rigid, yet still controlled) and I like that the quantity of CO2 is more controlled. The rigid resistance of the straw can be difficult on some days when I'm a little more breathless, and a little too easy on days when my breathing is easier. And I think too much oxygen comes into the top of my plastic bag; if I close it up too much then it collapses while I'm breathing.
It's very interesting that while using this devise my nose starts to get a little runny. I also frequently get warm hands, or a sudden urge to have a bowel movement (sorry! TMI).
My criticisms of this particular device, although I'm not giving them much weight because this is a relatively low-cost device (I paid $25), are (1) the seams on the plastic are a little rough on the mouth piece, and (2) the hose a slight chemical odor which bothers me a little (but I am extremely, extremely sensitive to these things). UPDATE: I bought a longer silicone hose to replace the plastic hose. It is much heavier than the plastic one, but I like that I can set the unit in my lap without having to hold it during sessions.
The doctor who wrote the normalbreathing dot com site sells a book telling how to construct your own DIY device like this, made from plastic bottles and hosing. Of course he is charging a whopping $37 for his plans, so it is cheaper to buy this unit here than to make your own, but I share this just so that readers can understand that the concept here is quite simple. The idea is to slow down your breathing and inhale some extra CO2 with every breath.
What this device does not necessarily do, but is a very important technique according to Patrick McKeown, is to RELAX your body while slowing your breathing. I found instead, for the first couple months, that I was using "determination" to breathe slower, but this is counter-productive. I get much better results with active relaxation, now that I know about it.
A person could maybe learn Buteyko Breathing from reading online or books, at no or little cost, but I myself did not have much luck until seeing it demonstrated on video by Patrick McKeown. It sounds like a simple exercise, but it is not easy to accomplish. Having tried all these different things, I am partial to this device, since it makes it so easy and gives me something active to do. My next phase, though, is to learn how to do the real Buteyko breathing so that I don't have to carry this device around with me anymore.