Hi, I wanted to give an update. Capnometry biofeedback worked better than I expected. My baseline ET CO2 went from around 27mmHg to around 40mmHg in the first 1.5 weeks of using the device, and stayed there for the whole month I had access to the device. (I've now returned the device.) The key thing I discovered was that even though I was already nasal breathing 99.9% of the time, my nasal breaths were still quite audible and so I was overbreathing because of that. The biofeedback+coaching allowed me to switch my breathing to a silent nasal one in stages. I still experience air hunger, but it is a lot more subtle than before. I still have trouble talking, some of the time (I think talking makes me overbreathe, so if I start out with no air hunger then I can talk for quite a while, but if I start talking when I already have some air hunger, then I quickly reach my limits). I still on occasion mysteriously have a lot more air hunger than normal and feel like I "forgot how to breathe", and I wonder if that means I have some sort of autonomic problem... I've been writing up a lot of my thoughts here. I might retry capnometers in a few months or a year or something, but for now my plan is to go back to (original Russian-lineage) Buteyko method and really logging the time (rather than half-assing it, which is what I was doing previously with Buteyko). Feel free to ask any questions.

Interesting, I don't know anything about the quality of different SLIT manufacturers, but $2600 sounds a lot more affordable than $7000. I'll try to remember to ask my allergist about this if I ever see them again.

My understanding (based on watching some YouTube lectures and talking to my allergists) is that SCIT (aka allergy shots) and SLIT are equally effective but (at least in the US) SLIT is not covered by insurance so SCIT ends up being a lot cheaper for most people. The main problem with SCIT is that it requires going to the allergy clinic every week for a while, then every month for a while over a period of about 3 years (but it is possible to speed things up quite a bit by doing cluster shots or double shots). I tried doing SCIT last year but my chronic illness made it too difficult to go to the clinic each week so I eventually had to stop (I imagine this won't be a problem for most other people). My allergy clinic gave me an estimate that SLIT would cost roughly $7000 total over 3 years, whereas SCIT for me was free with my insurance.

How were you getting SLIT for $25/week, how much did SLIT cost in total for you, and were the doses tailored to your particular allergies based on tests?

I had a couple more questions about the CONTEC device:

  1. What's the lag time from when you breathe to when the waveform is displayed on the screen, and when the number updates?
  2. How does it prevent water (from exhaled air) from getting into the device? The CapnoTrainer uses water traps inserted between the cannula and the device itself, and these water traps need to be replaced every once in a while. But I haven't seen anything similar for the CONTEC device.

I haven't verified the correctness of what this person is saying, but this Reddit comment seems relevant:

Most yoga breathing techniques have been completely misinterpreted from the ancient texts, and incorrectly teach people to breath larger amounts of air, when true deep breathing (deep as in from the diaphragm) is very still and almost imperceptible at rest. Buteyko teaches how to reset the part of the brain that controls autonomic breathing back to this very gentle still breath. Lau Tzu said 'the perfect man breathes as if he is not breathing' . The things that throw out the breathing pattern/volume (and in turn the whole body's biochemistry) are stress and diet, and environmental toxins mostly, but once this happens its hard to reset the breath back to normal without a correct breath practice. And most yogic breathing as taught in the west is the sadly exact opposite of what is needed.

Thank you, this is helpful!

I found someone in my local area who has a CapnoTrainer and was willing to rent it out to me and coach me, so it was a lot cheaper than the official route. But yeah, in general rentals are quite expensive unfortunately. If I couldn't find anyone who would rent one out to me for a reasonable price, I would probably have just gone with the CONTEC device as you did.

When I originally wrote this LW post, I had never used a capnometer of any kind (it just seemed quite promising and I was confused why basically no one was talking about it). After writing the post, I found someone who would rent a CapnoTrainer to me, and have been using the device now for about a week. The CapnoTrainer is still the only capnometer I have used. It's still too early for me to say whether the device "worked" or not, but so far it's been a quite promising experience (I'm planning to write more in maybe a month when the rental period ends).

The contec does show the waveform, it's just on a tiny screen so not the most detailed. 

Huh, okay, that is good to know. I was looking at images like this one where the wave form is clearly the SpO2, rather than CO2:

But scrolling through more of the images, I do see this, which looks like a CO2 curve:

I am guessing there must be some way to switch which graph you see?

Talking is really bad too for me. If I talk for a sentence or less, let myself breathe a few breaths while not moving, then resume talking and keep pausing for a while after talking only a bit that helps a lot.

This sounds so much like me... (Luckily I don't seem to have the problem with movement, but eating (specifically swallowing) makes me nervous too.) I don't know if you've looked into Peter Litchfield's work (he has a bunch of videos on YouTube too), but he talks a lot about altering your subconscious/unconscious breathing habits instead of consciously using techniques as crutches to save you from an episode. I recently got access to a CapnoTrainer so that will be my plan for hopefully fixing my breathing (I already did this once when going from ~80% nose-breathing to ~99.9% nose-breathing -- it took about a month of anxiously paying too much attention to my breath, but after a month or so it became totally natural).

I self-studied a bunch of math in 2017-2019 in order to do AI alignment research (specifically, agent foundations type stuff), and have a lot of thoughts about how to do it. Feel free to message me if you want to discuss.

Thank you, this is really fascinating! After writing this post, I talked to someone who does biofeedback using a capnometer, and they also mentioned that same CONTEC device as a cheap but still accurate capnometer. Their main gripe with it was that it responds more slowly compared to the CapnoTrainer and doesn't show the wave form, so it is not as good for doing biofeedback with (e.g. apparently the CapnoTrainer can show things like aborted breaths or weird exhalation patterns, whereas the CONTEC device can't show that), but it is still good enough for detecting CO2 levels.

I would love to read more about your experiences with your breathing issue and what you've tried. Your description of your problem seems similar to my own -- for example, I notice that talking out loud seems to dysregulate my breathing pretty quickly.

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