If body activity stays the same, an increase in breathing will increase the rate of CO2 diffusing from the blood into the lungs. This can cause the CO2 concentration in the blood to fall, which will cause the acid level of the blood to drop, and its pH will become alkalotic (too alkaline)…. When the pH exceeds 7.60, hyperventilation tetany takes place. If breathing is depressed, CO2 concentrations in blood will rise, causing the acid level to rise and the pH of the blood will become acidic. (Caldwell and Victoria, 2011)
Gradually, the respiration returns to its habitual dynamic.
The drawbacks of such a method of self-exploration are important. First, the euphoria resulting from such exercises often renders individuals dependent on the therapist with whom this experience was triggered and on the method he used. Then, with the momentary lowering of the defense system, individuals can become aware of affects and memories that they are unable to integrate, especially if they are intensely relived. Such an experience can be traumatizing, and generate a form of retraumatization during therapy. Finally, in the case of impulsive personalities, the experience of boundaries diminishes dramatically. They no longer fear that expressing what they experience can become dangerous for them and their entourage. For these reasons, most schools of body psychotherapy avoid using these methods or use them only in specific cases.35 It is difficult, in such instances, to sort out memories from fantasy, delusions, and hallucinations. They are often intermingled. Some psychotherapists have an excessive confidence in the material imagined in such states and may even suggest to the patient that all that is perceived is true. This attitude has proven itself dangerous, because the patient is inclined to reorganize himself on the bases of an unfounded belief.36 The case in point is that of individuals who reconstruct their self-understanding on the belief that they suffered from abuse in their early childhood or in a past life when nothing of the sort existed.37 The proper manner to use this material, sometimes available in abundance with this method, is to explore if the same material can be found through other methods (e.g., dream analysis) and take it up anew. Therapist and patient can then separate out what is remembered, what is delusional, what is a blend of both, and what is impossible to evaluate.
When a patient hyperventilates, it is better for the psychotherapist not to worry about it. Such crises tend to subside. It is essential to stay present with the patient in a reassuring and containing manner while he is going through it. There is usually no hyperventilation if the patient spends the energy taken in through inhalation by moving and speaking. If the patient’s hands take on the characteristic position that announces a crisis of tetany (fingers are hyperextended and touch each other while getting closer to the interior of the wrists), the therapist can encourage still more movements and more vocalizations to use up the excess oxygen.