Breathing Rate

Breathing into a wrapping tube that’s quite long will most likely have the same effect as when breathing through a paper bag, a practice most commonly associated with trying to relieve hyperventilation. Although the wrapping tube is open at the other end and will not totally hamper breathing, it seems long enough to contain the carbon dioxide that the child exhales so that when the child inhales again he will probably breathe in a considerable portion of the carbon dioxide that he breathed out earlier. Naturally, this would lead to an increased amount of this gas in the lungs and in the blood.

Although what our body utilizes in the production of energy is oxygen, it is the carbon dioxide levels which the brain monitors, so that when it falls below or rises above its normal level, the brain sends signals to the body to regulate breathing correspondingly. This is irregardless of the oxygen levels, i. e. the amount of oxygen in the blood might stay at normal levels but if the amount of carbon dioxide fluctuates, the body will alter the breathing or respiration rate accordingly (Science Museum of Minnesota).

As the child breathes repeatedly into the wrapping tube, an increase in carbon dioxide levels in the blood will tell his brain that his body needs to take in more oxygen so that the normal carbon dioxide-oxygen balance is restored. This will therefore lead to an increase in the respiration rate so that more oxygen can be taken in. However, if the child goes on breathing through the tube, then he will continuously inhale air which has more carbon dioxide and he will be at risk for more serious physiological effects (e. g. headaches, dizziness) as the carbon dioxide levels in his blood continues to rise (Smith).

This is the reason why there are arguments against the use of the “paper bag technique” to alleviate hyperventilation. For mild cases, breathing into a paper bag may help counter hyperventilation since doing so will increase the carbon dioxide levels just enough to induce the appropriate breathing rate that will restore the carbon dioxide-oxygen balance in the body. However, it is not advisable to breathe continuously into a paper bag (Youngerman-Cole) since, as with the case of prolonged breathing into a wrapping tube, the inhaled carbon dioxide levels may reach levels that are high enough to cause serious physiological effects.

Works Cited: Science Museum of Minnesota. Habits of the Heart : Ins and Outs of Respiration. 2000. 5 Mar. 2008 <http://www. smm. org/heart/lessons/lesson8. htm>. Smith, Garry K. Nucleo De Espeleologia De Condeixa: CARBON DIOXIDE, CAVES and YOU. 1997. 5 Mar. 2008 <http://www. nec-espeleo. org/noticias/co2. htm>. Youngerman-Cole, Sydney . CIGNA : Hyperventilation. 21 Nov. 2006. 6 Mar. 2008 <http://www. cigna. com/healthinfo/hypvn. html>.