I understand the following background: normally, our breathing rate, depth and rhythm are controlled by the brainstem. Other central and peripheral regulatory factors influence our breathing, including chemoreceptors. Chemoreceptors can influence breathing rate by detecting oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

I was told that with regular practice of a specific breathing technique, by exposing the central chemoreceptors to higher levels of co2 repeated, I could reduce their sensitivity to CO2 levels and reduces sympathetic nervous system activation.

Setting aside any health claims for these results, I simply wish to know if it is possible to reduce chemoreceptor sensitivity to carbon dioxide through training?

For example, is there evidence that freedivers (or others who practice apnea training) have reduced chemoreceptor sensitivity to carbon dioxide?


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