Buteyko is an all-natural course of breathing modification which can be learned by anyone from children aged 4 to elders of 94. Revolutionary in concept, physiologically sound, it corrects chronic overbreathing. Many of us breathe this way without any knowledge that we are doing so, and the result can be asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, skin or digestive disorders and many other conditions. Simple breathing exercises can correct this, and Buteyko’s success rate is astoundingin study after study people average an 81% reduction in symptoms over three months, plus a large reduction in medication use. See related article.
How can such a simple process succeed on such different diseases?
Because what we teach is nothing less than fundamental. Incorrect breathing creates an imbalance in the body’s pH. Retraining the breathing system to an appropriate inflow and outflow of breath for each person will bring that pH back closer to harmonious balanceand symptoms, which can be the body’s efforts to correct itself, will diminish, or vanish entirely.
The pH is the level of acidity or alkalinity of the body. If you are a gardener, you know that the soil must be at the right pH for plants to grow at their best. It’s just the same for us humans.
Why do I need to retrain my breathing?
Overbreathing is a key cause of all sorts of stress related chronic conditions from asthma to high blood pressure to sweaty hands. It’s the physical effects of stress on the body which cause these problems.
When we get stressed, we overbreathe, or hyperventilate. Often, in today’s fast pace, we don’t get back to normal again, so we end up with chronic hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is defined as breathing more than the body needs at any one time. Chronic hyperventilation causes an imbalance in the body by getting rid of too much carbon dioxide, a product of metabolism which is not the ‘waste’ gas we often assume it is, but a regulator of several important body systems.
The body is even more stressed as it tries to correct the imbalance within itself. (Think, if you are standing on one foot and losing your balance, how much effort it takes to come back to your balance again). This stress shows up as chronic conditions such as asthma, panic attacks, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, skin problems and more.
Remove the root cause, the hyperventilation, and retrain the breathing, and the symptoms die down.
If there are other causes, of course, the symptoms won’t disappear entirely, for instance, in emphysema. There will, however, be substantial improvement.
I learned how to control approaching panic attacks and keep my blood pressure down. Now, I rarely need to take a blood pressure pill. I’m grateful to have been exposed to the method in the Lifelong Easy Breathing class.
M.C.H. 88, panic attacks and high blood pressure.
Why Buteyko is better than inhalers and pills.
Medications for chronic conditions are powerful drugs with potential side effects. The body can get used to them, and need increased doses over time. We won’t tell you to throw your drugs away. But if your experience is like that of thousands of other satisfied Buteyko clients worldwide, you’ll find your need for drugs drastically reduced.
“I took the Lifelong Easy Breathing course six months ago. After the first couple of weeks of exercises, I no longer had a stuffed nose at night and was able to give up using nose drops for the first time in years. Except for one short period during a cold, I have not used them again. After about a month of exercises, I no longer used my Albuterol inhaler for asthma and haven't had any signs of asthma since. Now I use the steroid inhaler (Qvar) only once a day instead of 4 times. My regular physician has given the ok to stop its use, provided my Peak Flow Meter registers 300 or over, which it does.”
B C.,66, asthma, rhinitis.
Buteyko for athletes?
Racewalker R.Z, 70, took a Buteyko course for shortness of breath and sent this note a year later:
I have qualified for next year’s Senior Olympic Games in the 100 meter dash, the 800 meter dash, 1500 meter run and the 1500 and 5000 meter race walk. To qualify one must finish first or second in a state-wide senior game. I don't know because I didn’t train before, but I believe the Buteyko has contributed.
Dr, Buteyko worked in a laboratory in Siberia, developing his breathing retraining for overbreathers, particularly asthmatics, refining his treatment and methods of measuring the results. He originally taught himself to control his high blood pressure using his own techniques, and over several years, his wife used them to overcome emphysema.
Along the way Dr. Buteyko helped many people, including one of the Russian government ministers. While his research was dismissed at first by the medical establishment, eventually it became widely accepted and the Buteyko Method is now taught to many hospital patients in Russia and to athletes, as well as to other sufferers.
After glasnost, in 1991, a student of his, Alexander Stalmatski, took the method to Australia and New Zealand, and from there it spread to Europe and then to the U.S. in 1999. Dr. Buteyko died in 2003, aged 80.
A doctor’s view
“This method was originally designed to help people overcome asthma, yet the benefits extend to many different maladies. If you have asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, chronic cough, anxiety or panic, insomnia or any other stress-related condition, I would encourage you to learn more about this. If it sounds a bit like snake oil, it’s only because breathing, specifically poor breathing technique, is the cornerstone to so many breathing disorders. Learning to breathe properly can result in a dramatic improvement in your health and significantly reduce the amount of medication used for chronic conditions.”
Dr. Larry Greenblatt, family and sports
medicine physician, Issaquah, WA
A True Story
In the first half of the 19th century, many births were attended by puerperal childbed fever, in which both mother and child could die.
In the 1840s, after one of his colleagues died of it, Hungarian obstetrician Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis realized that the simple act of washing hands between patients prevented many fevers and deaths.
He was ridiculed for doing it and for insisting his assistants do it. Though his patients blessed him, he was hounded by his colleagues from his job, and eventually sent to a mental asylum, where he died.
It took 40 years for his ideas to catch on among the medical profession.
We hope it does not take 40 years for the equally simple premise of Buteyko to become universally accepted.
Graduates speak about their Buteyko experiences
"I have had a morbid sense of suffocation most of my life, plus claustrophobia and fear of drowning, and the anxiety that results from feeling trapped in a malfunctioning body.I always felt that every new experience was like submerging myself in a pool of fear. I have searched for relief since I was 16. After a month of doing the Buteyko program and practicing persistently, I feel better than I have felt for most of my life. I've noticed my many fears have abated somewhat and the feeling of suffocation has receded significantly."
M.B. 54, claustrophobia, feelings of suffocation.
Buteyko has been very helpful to me. Through the breathing exercises and modifying how I use the C-Pap machine I now have a consistent night’s sleep. The whole concept makes so much sense and it works.
J.J. 60, sleep apnea