How good is YOUR breathing?

This test is an assessment of various aspects of your breathing, including measurements, abilities, and qualities. It also includes a comprehensive set of questions for assessing diet, fitness, lifestyle, and overall health. We designed this test to be personalized so that we may better assist you.

Did you know?
Breathing volume is the primary marker for how long you will live?

We know we can lose muscle mass but few realize the average person reaches peak respiratory function in their mid 20's. Then you begin to lose breathing capacity by 10-27% for every decade of life.

What is going on while your breathing slowly slips away?

Did you know clinical studies show that anyone can greatly improve their breathing?

Breath is life.

High blood pressure, anxiety, energy, weight loss, stress management, sleep, speaking, singing, sports endurance, weight management, concentration, longevity, sex and much more are aided or worsened by the way you breathe.

Click the 'Next' button below

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.

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To reduce possible distortion of your answers, we suggest you take the test no more than once in 24 hours.

Use the test as a way to learn more about your own current way of breathing. And whatever the numbers seem to tell you, don't be frightened or elated by the results.

With breathing, it may or may not serve you to compare yourself with someone else.

What is most important is to feel how to breathe properly each day so that your breathing is becoming freer, stronger, more like yourself, and more natural.

Tests for Limitations, Causes, and Positive Indicators of Optimal Breathing Functionality A-Z

© 2001-15 Michael Grant White. All rights reserved.

Please answer the questions on the following pages, and fill out your name and e-mail address at the end of this test. As soon as you finish the test, you will be forwarded to your test answers and our recommendations. You will also receive a copy of your answers and our recommendations by email.

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A. Breathing Volume and Oxygen Uptake Efficiency

Lie, sit or stand. Standing is best, sitting next. If you stand, then bend your knees very slightly. Take as large an in-breath as possible and then as fast as you can but still be understood, quickly, quietly, cleanly, and clearly as you can (like an auctioneer who is almost whispering or a speed talker but still clearly understood), count up to as high of a number as you can on this one long extended exhale. Be sure to count out loud, do not just count in your head. Squeeze that last bit of air out with your stomach muscles pulled inward to get to as high a number as possible. Note the number down and try it again. Try it a third time if you think the number will be much different.

Do not:
- Inhale during counting
- Skip any numbers
- Hold your breath
- Breathe IN and count at the same time
- Whisper

- Start again at 1 if you reach 100
- Make sure you include the beginnings of each number such as the thirty in thirty-three.
- Repeat the test in the same position you were in for the previous tests.

OK, try it now.

How high a number did you reach in that ONE long exhaled breath?

Answer #A

B. Breathing Rate at Rest

While standing, sitting, or lying down, observe your natural breathing pattern at rest.

Using a watch, or an observant friend, count your complete breaths in one minute. Then repeat this two more times and take the average.

A complete breath is one inhale and one exhale and possibly a pause at the end of the exhale.

How many complete breaths did you have in one minute?

Answer #B

C. Breathing Pauses

The breathing pause refers to any period of time between the end of a natural exhale and the beginning of the next inhale. That is, a period of time when the breathing seems to PAUSE and not do anything at all.

If the next inhale begins immediately after the exhale before, then there is NO breathing pause.

Observe your natural breathing pattern at rest, and notice whether or not there is any pause for a second or more between the exhale and next inhale.

Do you have this much breathing pause or not?

Yes     No

D. Breathing Pause Extension

At the bottom or end of a natural exhale, resist breathing in as long as you possibly can, even when moderate discomfort arrives, but without trying to exhale further and/or tightening your stomach muscles.

Do not do it so long that you pass out.

Time it in seconds.

How many seconds long is your extended pause?

Answer #D

E. Unbalanced Breathing

1. Accessory Breathing Muscles

Stand and look into a mirror or close your eyes and feel what occurs or ask someone to observe you, or recall similar situations in the past. Take a very deep breath, as deep as you can. When you breathe in very deeply:

Do you raise your collar bones?
Do you raise your shoulders?
Do your neck muscles bulge out?
Do your ribs flair outward at bottom during inhale?
Do you get a headache when trying to breathe deeply?
Do you get dizzy when trying to breathe deeply?
None of the above

E. Unbalanced Breathing

2. Day To Day Breathing Experiences That Seem Too Often or Excessive

Shortness of breath
Cannot walk and talk to someone at the same time without becoming short of breath
Any hobbies affected by breathing?
You can become severely out of breath when engaged in heavy exercise.
You have to breathe harder than normal when walking on inclines or when you are hurrying on level ground.
You can still function adequately, but you cannot keep up with people of your own age and physique during a stroll on level ground.
Even the mildest exertion makes you out of breath. You cannot walk one city block or climb a flight of stairs without stopping to gasp for air.
Hold breath a lot
Breath heaving
Breathing is heavy or labored
Breathing is forced instead of easy and effortless
Breathing is jerky, erratic, or irregular
Breathing is shallow
Frequently have tentative or hesitant breathing
Breathe through mouth often
Hyperventilation or overbreathing
Breathing is easily audible
Sigh or yawn often
Often catch yourself not breathing during waking hours
Feelings of suffocation
Breathing feels small, unsatisfying, or inadequate
Breathing feels weak or like it's barely there
Breathing is suppressed or held back
Breathing seems to go in the wrong place or just doesn't feel right
Are you frequently concerned or worried about your breathing?
None of the above

F. Belly or Chest Breather?

Stand and place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly.

Now breathe in.

Does your left hand rise first?

Yes (Chest)    No (Belly)

G. Physical Restrictions

Take the deepest in-breath you can and see if you experience:

Shortness of breath, unsatisfying breath, breathlessness, or air hunger
Can't catch breath or deep breathing curtailed, can't get "over the hump"
Breathing feels stuck
Feel a hitch, bump or lump right below your breastbone when you try to take a deep breath
Breathing feels like a series of events instead of one smooth internally coordinated, continuous flow
Breathing is labored or restricted
Tightness, soreness or pressure in the chest or below breast bone
Sore deep pain feeling like a band across the chest
Pulsing or stabbing feeling in and around ribs
Tense overall feeling
Side stitches
Chest wall tenderness
Chest is large and stiff
Sunken or depressed chest
Scoliosis or abnormal curvature of spine
Jaw tension
Shoulder tension
Stiff neck
Tightness around the mouth
Tension around the eyes
Lump in throat
Wear tight or restrictive clothing including belts and bras
Washboard abs
None of the above

H. Posture

1. Waking hours

Do you slouch, slump, bend forward, lean to one side, or sit/lie in a twisted position often?
Do you look down towards the floor or ground often?
Do you have good, relaxed, non-slouching posture?

2. Sleeping hours

Do you sleep on your (check any that apply):


I. Sitting Positions

Do you often experience:

Get drowsy driving a vehicle
Often fall asleep while sitting up when you would rather have watched the program, heard the speaker, seen the game, etc.?
Get really bad jet lag
Do you sit in a car, bus, train, plane or office seat more than a few hours daily?
None of the above

J. Positive Breathing Factors

1. Good Breathing Mechanics

Which of the following describe your usual breathing?

Deep and easy
Smooth and fluid
Abdominal, belly, or diaphragmatic
Through nose
None of the above

J. Positive Breathing Factors

2. Day To Day Conditions Associated with Good Breathing

You are never sick AND you do not take any prescription or over-the-counter medications
You wake up refreshed
You have steady to great energy throughout the day
You recover quickly from physical exertion or stress
You have a good mood and positive can-do attitude
You are clear-headed
You have a strong and free self expression and self esteem
You use your breathing to focus and center yourself to stay in present time
You recognize that fear, anger, rage, gasping and breath heaving and extreme forms of excitement such as exhilaration may invite restricted breathing and you know how to offset this
You recognize cold or clammy hands, muscle tension, and high blood pressure as signs of stress and control your breathing to help reduce them
You use easy, balanced, deep breathing as a means of helping your body heal itself of physical, as well as mental, and emotional, pain
You avoid polluted environments and minimize your contribution to air pollution
You have 5 or more healthy relationships with other human beings
None of the above

K. Diagnosed Conditions

1. Diagnosed with (by a Physician or State Licensed Alternative Health Practitioner):

Abnormal ECG changes
Addictions to substances (eg. cigarettes/nicotine, alcohol, recreational drugs, etc.)
Addictions to activities (eg. over-work, over-achievement, compulsive gambling, spending money, sex, anger management issues, etc.)
Diagnosed Conditions:
Anxiety and/or panic attacks
Attention issues (ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc.)
Bowel disorder
Chronic fatigue
Circulation disorder
COPD or other respiratory dysfunction
Eating disorder
Emotional disorder
Gland disorder
Heart disease
High blood pressure
Liver disorder
Nervous system disorder
Obsessive/Compulsive disorder
Organ disorder
Overweight or Obese
Skin disorder
Speech or voice disorder
Post Traumatic Syndrome (PTSD)
Sleeping disorders
Stomach disorder
Thyroid disorder
None of the above

K. Diagnosed Conditions

2. Medical Care

Are you presently

Taking prescription medications?
Taking over-the-counter medications often?
Under a medical doctor's or alternative practitioner's care?
Planning immanent medical testing?
Received recent thoracic surgery?
Planning surgery?
None of the above

L. Body Signals

Frequent colds or flu (at least once a year)
Chronic cough
Clear throat often
Get tired from reading out loud
Chronic pain
Reduced pain tolerance
Repetitive strain injury
Pain between the shoulder blades
Aching, stiff, or weak limbs
Cramps in belly or below sternum
Lower chest, upper abdominal pain or tension
Chest pain
Back pain
Phantom pain
Excessive stress
Hormonal fluctuations
Do you find that you often press your tongue to the top of your mouth?
Grind or clench teeth
Seizures, epileptic, grand mal, etc.
Sallow complexion
Blurred vision
Dry mouth
Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations
Resting pulse rate over 62
Sweaty, clammy, or cold hands or feet
Tingling in the hands and around the mouth
Are you ticklish in the rib area?
Bluish cast to lips
Cold temperatures make breathing more difficult
Often shift your weight from side to side while standing
None of the above

M. Mental Signals

Poor memory
Negative attitude
Racing thoughts
Confusion or disorientation
Trouble concentrating or easily distracted
Light headedness, feeling spaced out, dizziness
None of the above

N. Emotional Signals

Anxiety and/or panic attacks
Apprehension, phobias, or excessive fear
Low self esteem
Excessive shyness
Emotional swings
Grief or loss of loved one
Hyper-vigilance or Type A
Road rage
Excessive anger
Abusive to others
History of being abused
Recreation drug usage
Teenage stresses
Extreme recent stress or emotional trauma
Job loss or change
Facing retirement
Relationship troubles
Irritable, short tempered, or overreacts
Always on the run or in a hurry
Get nervous easily
None of the above

O. Sleep and Energy

1. Sleep Quality

Do you snore?
Do you often suddenly wake up not breathing (ie. apnea)?
Do you often have trouble falling asleep at night?
Do you wake up in the middle of the night often?
Do you not sleep deeply or soundly enough?
Do you often have nightmares or bad dreams?
Do you wake up tired a lot?
Do you need to take naps often?
Do you take any sleep medications?
None of the above

O. Sleep and Energy

2. Energy and Vitality

Work a night shift
Wake up tired
Energy is low
Just want more energy
Want increased sexual energy
Blood sugar is low
None of the above

P. Food and Nutrition

1. Specific Foods

Indicate which of the following you consume on a regular basis.

Red meat (eg. Beef, pork, deer etc.)
Breads, cereals, grains
Pasteurized or homogenized dairy products
Refined sugar or artificial sweeteners
Salt your food before tasting it
Fried foods
Processed foods
None of the above

P. Food and Nutrition

2. Water

How many 8-ounce glasses of water do you consume daily?

Answer #P2

3. Sunlight

Do you get less than 20 minutes of direct sunlight a day?

Yes   No

4. Raw and Cooked Foods

How much of your diet consist of fruits, vegetables, soaked or sprouted nuts, seeds, or grains that are raw (that is, uncooked, not canned, not frozen, and not processed)?

Note: Food items such as irradiated foods, breads, cereals, potato chips, roasted nuts, pasteurized milk, pasteurized orange juice etc. are NOT raw foods.

Less than 75%    75% or more

Q. Bowel Movements

1. How often do you have a bowel movement?

Answer #Q

2. Do you often force a bowel movement?

Yes    No

3. Do you often spend more than 2 minutes on the toilet at one time?

Yes    No

R. Digestion

You don't chew your food very much?
You fall asleep or get very tired after meals?
You eat quickly and talk a lot at meals?
You drink liquid(s) during meals?
You eat proteins, starches, grains, or fruit in any combination in the same meal?
Candida (diagnosed)
Frequent air swallowing and/or belching
Irritable bowel syndrome (diagnosed)
Yeast infections
Diarreah often
Excessive gas (more than 10 times daily)
Take stomach medicine such as Tums, Rolaids, etc?
None of the above

S. Environmental Risk Factors

1. General Environment

Are you often:

In an area with bad outdoor pollution/smog, etc.
In a building or home without open windows
In a building or home with indoor pollution
In a dusty home, office, or neighborhood
In a building or home with mold or mildew
None of the above

2. Exposure to Substances

Have you been repeatedly exposed to:


2. Exposure to Substances Cont'd

Have you been repeatedly exposed to:

Candles or incense
Cigarette or other tobacco smoke
Fibers or fiber dust
Chemicals- Industrial, landscape, house-hold, environmental, or war-time
Paints or glues
Parasites (inside or outside the body)
Wood dust or smoke
Other possibilities of noxious exposure
None of the above

T. Allergies

Air Allergy -- Toxic/Pollutants
Do you sometimes get a stuffy or runny nose even when you don't have a cold?
Clears throat often
None of the above

U. Smoking

1. Do you smoke tobacco, marijuana, hashish, etc.?

Yes    No

2. If you smoke, are you planning or trying to quit?

Yes    No

V. Tasks, Abilities and Skills

1. Tasks and Abilities Needing or Wanting Improvement In

Sing, speak or play musical instrument better
Sports performance enhancement
Improved concentration
Better meditation
Improved stamina
Improved coordinated movement
Improved physical flexibility
Reducing performance anxiety
Increased productivity
None of the above

V. Tasks, Abilities and Skills

2. Voice Quality

Check any that apply

Clear, natural, dynamic, strong, or smooth
Weak, thin, whispery, strained, or squeaky
Nasal, throaty
Nervous quiver
Mumbles, slurred speech, or monotone
Choppy, disconnected, fragmented speech
Hoarse, raspy, broken, or crackly
Clears throat often
Spasmodic Dysphonia
Feel short of breath when speaking or singing

W. Exercise

Sedentary-little to no exercise-desk job, etc.

Somewhat active-light exercise or sports such as walking or light weight training 1-3 days a week

Active-moderate exercise or sports like cycling, skiing, tennis, heavy weight training 3-5 days a week

Very active-Hard exercise, life saving, hospital emergency room, police, firemen or sports such as soccer or basketball 3-5 days a week

Extremely active-Hard & daily such as training or professional athlete

X. Weight Loss Goals

1. Present Height:

feet   and    inches  

2. Present Weight:


3. How much weight would you like to lose?


Y. Desired Longevity

1. Present age

2. Sex: Male or Female

3. Science has proven that your breathing quantity and quality largely control how long you will live. Imagine your last day on earth. To what age do you wish to live?

years old

Z. Top Priority

The last question and most important. Which wellness or performance issues would you like to improve first? In the three boxes below, type your top three, in order of importance. If some were not included in the above tests answers, then add them too.

I want to improve:




Are there any comments you have about anything that was not included in the test?

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