Breathing Into Paper Bag for Anxiety, Hiccups, Asthma, Hyperventilation


Who would have thought that when Francis Wolle invented the paper bag back in 1817, to become much more than just a sack to make groceries? From the very beginning, the paper bag has been manufactured in many different shapes, colors and sizes that it is difficult to imagine life without it. In fact, a few paper bags that have become synonymous with lunch in school canteens around the world can help control the level of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.

paper bag breathing
Psychology Today

Ease the Hiccups

Hiccups are indeed involuntary diaphragm spasms. In addition, although the tripping is often associated with overeating and drinking too much carbonated drinks, such as stroke and traumatic brain injury, they can also be responsible. Breathing in a paper bag is a proven and true home remedy that has stood the test of time. A paper changer is placed on the nose and mouth, carbon dioxide, that the exhalation is trapped in the bag. Therefore, when you inhale, you are actually taking in the carbon dioxide that you just exhaled. Merck explains the stumbles are a result of reduced carbon dioxide in the blood stream. Inhaling carbon dioxide in the bag helps to complete the level.

Stop Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation is sometimes referred to as a dramatic form of breath or “on the breath” that can be caused by anxiety or a sense of panic. Sometimes it can hyperventilate in response to excessive exercise or physical exertion. The University of Colorado Health Pharmacy explains that using a paper bag can be an effective way to control hyperventilation and stabilize your breathing. This technique is described as “re-breathing” which simply means that the breeze we breathe in the paper bag is actually recycled and transported back to the body. Re-breathing raises the concentration of carbon dioxide, and restores the normal breathing pattern.

Relive Asthma

Asthma is the result of inflammation that occurs in the bronchial phone. Bronchi lead the air to the lungs, and when they become narrowed, breathing becomes a challenge. Asthma over reports that the growth of carbon dioxide can reduce hyperventilation of the associated asthma and increase the airflow to the bronchi. Breathing in a paper bag can help to increase the flow of carbon dioxide to the lungs through re-breathing. However, patients who have prescribed a long-term medication, or asthma inhaler corticosteroid, should not replace the paper bag for relief that asthma medications can provide.

Retinal Artery Occlusion

Occlusion of the retinal artery caused by blocking in the artery of the central retina or smaller arteries branch. This blockage can reduce the flow of oxygen to the eye, which can ultimately lead to blindness. According to the Harvard Medical School, breathing in a paper bag can increase the level of carbon dioxide in the blood that actually extends the arteries of the retina; allowing valuable oxygen to enter the eye.


There are times when you are breathing in a paper bag, it is not advisable. If you feel that your breathing rate has increased, and I suspect there may be a heart attack, do not reach the paper bag to help save breath. Instead of calling 911 immediately. Lack of oxygen that the body will receive if you breathe into a paper bag can actually work against you; depriving the heart of oxygen that she needs very much. Cleveland Clinic explains that the jump can rob your precious oxygen cells. So, if your breathing becomes fast due to an impending stroke, using a paper bag to control it can further deplete oxygen levels in the body.

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