Breathing Assessments

“Reconnecting with one’s Breathing is the
first step in self-healing and self realization”

Dr Peter Litchfield


Breathing Well Underpins Good Health

When stressors, whether lifestyle, diet, environmental or psychological, become too great, they alter our breathing and over time these patterns become habitual. Functional healthy breathing is at the heart of wellness and resilience in our fast paced ever-changing world. 

Do you know how well you breathe?

What does healthy (functional) or unhealthy (dysfunctional) breathing even mean – after all it’s automatic and you can’t change it – right? WRONG!! Breathing is one of the few functions of the body that can be both automatic and altered with conscious training. That’s why a Breathing Assessment is so useful.

You may be aware already that you have trouble with your breathing if you have asthma for example. Did you know however that breathing poorly can also cause many other problems such as  anxiety or limited brain function? Some symptoms are not so obviously breathing related, yet could be alleviated by improving your breathing.


So what’s included in a Breathing Assessment?

A Breathing Assessment includes:

  • An in-depth health questionnaire checked by practitioner prior to the consult.
  • 60 – 90 minute consultation at one of the two Breathe Free Clinic locations.

  • Capnography and oximetry  (visual observation and assessment during the consult).

  • Functional or dysfunctional breathing identification.

  • Breathing education to help you understand the findings.

  • Report on findings and recommendations sent to you and if requested to your health provider/s.

  • Recommendations of next steps whether tips on how to improve breathing dysfunction, or continuation with a Breathing Retraining Course.


Breathing Assessment Fee

A capnometer is a biofeedback instrument used to evaluate breathing. It measures your breathing rate and patterning along with the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) at the end of your exhale. 

​Clients see in real time how their baseline (normal) day-to-day breathing looks, when at rest, on a screen trace. 

They also discover how their breathing alters with simple breathing challenges, and how fast or not they recover, which will depend on how healthy their breathing is in the first instance.

Sample Capno-Traces Before and at the End of a Breathe Free Course:

FIGURE 1: Baseline Capno-trace of 11 year old girl at Assessment Before Course.

Client had a history of asthma and poor sleep along with many breathing related symptoms. Capno-trace shows highly irregular

breathing pattern and dysfunction.

FIGURE 2: Baseline Capno-trace of 11 year old girl at week Six on the Last day of her Breathe Free Course.

Breathing patterning hugely improved with self-reported 66% reduction in breathing related symptoms, including sleeping

through the night and the ability to play hockey without the need for medication.


A fingertip pulse oximeter is a commonly used clamp-like device placed on a finger in order to measure the pulse  (heart rate) whilst also reading the amount of oxygen  (saturation levels) in your blood.

It does this by passing small beams of light through the blood in the finger. By measuring changes of light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood it can measure the amount of oxygen. This is a painless process.

Although breathing assessments can be carried out both in-person and online, capnography and oximetry can only be used for in-person assessments.


Dysfunctional Breathing 

Dysfunctional breathing can present in many less-than-obvious ways that may seem unrelated, however it can affect every system in your body. Did you know that any of the following can indicate unhealthy breathing:

  • Upper chest breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad breath on waking
  • Excessive yawning and sighs or the need for catch-up breaths
  • Breathlessness at rest
  • Headaches 
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Reflux or flatulence
  • Cold hands or feet

These are just a few of the 80 or more symptoms which may be helped with breathing function improvement. If you would like a full list of symptoms email Breathe Free Clinic.


Respiratory and Sleep-Related

  • Upper chest breathing


  • Dry mouth


  • Fast/erratic/heavy breathing at rest


  • Frequent need to clear throat


  • Excessive mucus or congestion 


  • Yawning or sighing


  • Runny nose or constant post nasal drip


  • Mouth-breathing


  • Chest tightness 


  • Nasal polyps, enlarged or inflamed adenoids


  • Wheezin
  • Swollen tonsils


  • Shortness of breath at rest 
  • Prone to colds


  • Coughing (other than with infection)


  • Insomnia
  • Loss of sense of smell


  • Snoring or audible breathing during sleep


  • Hay fever, sneezing


  • Grinding teeth


  • A lot of yawning or sighing or deep breaths


  • Breathing stoppages in sleep noticed by       others


  • Grinding teeth


  • Bad breath (on waking)


  • Insomnia


  • Headache (on waking)


  • Frightening/intense dreams


  • Sleepiness during the day/wanting a nap


  • Restless legs


  • Waking up tired
  • Bedwetting


  • Falling asleep sitting, reading, watching TV,   driving



  • Muscle tension, spasms or cramping


  • Irregular, pounding, or racing heart 


  • Muscle pain, weakness


  • Chest pains that are not heart disease related 


  • Muscle tremors, twitching or tics


  • Flushing


  • Tight diaphragm
  • Cold hands or feet 


Nervous System/Psychological 


  • Anxiety, tension, apprehension 


  • Generalised weakness or “weak at the knees 


  • Feeling revved up, jumpy, irritable 


  • Feeling light-headed, dizzy, unsteady or faint 


  • Feeling down


  • Headaches


  • Panic attacks 
  • Migraine
  • Disturbance of consciousness
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Poor concentration, memory, confusion
  • Numbness or tingling of hands, feet, limbs, face
  • Fear without reason



  • Abdominal bloating


  • Difficulty swallowing


  • Belching, flatulence


  • Irritable bowel


  • Heartburn, reflux





  • Easily tired, exercise intolerant


  • Chronic exhaustion


  • Chronic exhaustion


  • Chemical sensitivities


  • Weight gain/loss


  • Dry, itchy or inflamed skin


  • Excessive sweating or clamminess


  • Red or itchy eyes


  • Allergies – food


  • Dry lips


  • Allergies – pollen, dust, mould etc.


  • Increased thirst


  • Easily tired, exercise intolerant


  • Ringing, buzzing or hissing in ears