The Buteyko Method is a complementary therapy for controlling the symptoms of asthma and other breathing related disorders. It is based on the work of Professor Konstantin Buteyko from Russia who pioneered the radical method in the 1950’s.
The Buteyko Method involves very specific breathing exercises together with reduced breathing work and some dietary and life-style changes. It is now being used increasingly throughout the western world, particularly in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. It is taught by specially trained Buteyko practitioners. The therapy has been featured on the BBC’s QED science programme, ITV’s “Tonight with Trevor McDonald” and also on the Pride of Britain awards on ITV.
The basis behind the Buteyko Method
The assumption behind the Buteyko Method is that asthma and other breathing related disorders result from chronic over-breathing, the technical term for which is hyperventilation.
Over-breathing commonly occurs without you being aware of it happening. However, if you observe your breathing pattern when you experience breathing difficulties, you may notice the rate of your breathing, and sometimes the depth, has increased. What the Buteyko Method can do for you is teach you how to relax and normalize your breathing, thereby reducing your symptoms and the need for rescue medication.
Normal breathing (4-6 litres per minute) results in 98% oxygen saturation. Breathing more than this internationally recognized amount cannot increase your oxygen uptake but will deplete Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
This is important since CO2 is not merely a waste gas as many people mistakenly believe. CO2 when lost in abnormal quantities alters the whole body chemistry, and directly or indirectly affects every system in the body. In relation to asthma, its effect on opening up airways and facilitating the transport of oxygen, is of prime importance.
How do you learn the Buteyko Method?
The Buteyko Method is taught in workshops consisting of five sessions of two hours each. Clients are taught how to retrain their breathing to enable them to breathe correctly when sleeping, exercising, speaking, eating and performing all daily activities.
None of this is arduous but it does require commitment and effort from you. Benefits arrive quickly and you will almost certainly experience an improvement in your condition within the first 5 days of practising the exercises.
The breathing exercises are tailored to your individual condition and medical history. You are encouraged to attend follow up classes for as long as it is necessary or desirable.
Clients who practise the Buteyko Method can expect:
Reduction or elimination of asthma and preventer medications (the reduction of preventer medication is done in consultation with the client’s medical practitioner).
A reduction or elimination of asthma symptoms and attacks, and also the relief of other respiratory disorders.
Clinical trials have indicated that asthmatics using the Buteyko Method reduced their use of reliever medication by 90% during the first week (maintained at 3 months), and over 3 months a reduction in steroid medication of 49% was achieved. The full text of the trial undertaken at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, Australia can be found at the following website address:
Who can be helped by the Buteyko Method?
The Buteyko Method is suitable for children from 5 years of age and adults of any age, as well as people with other respiratory disorders such as chronic cough, emphysema, COAD, COPD, rhinitis, sinusitis, hay fever, snoring and sleep apnoea.
Other conditions such as anxiety, migraine and allergies can also be helped by the Buteyko Method, as Professor Buteyko identified a connection between dysfunctional breathing and over 200 diseases during his research work in Russia.