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Buteyko

Buteyko

Breath training techniques for health and vitality

How Buteyko can nourish your soul?

Buteyko (pronounced Bu-tay-ko) or Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT) teaches people to breathe correctly when sleeping, exercising, speaking, eating, and performing daily activities. Buteyko is believed to help balance the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream for improved circulation and open airways. This method is often applied as a complementary technique to assist respiratory issues such as asthma, snoring or nasal congestion. 

This modality is named after its founder, Soviet doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, who formulated the method in the 1950s after observing that people often breathe too rapidly or hyperventilate. Buteyko discovered that slow, deep, nose breathing, and breath holds after exhalation may re-establish a balanced breathing pattern. 

The Buteyko method is based on principles of respiratory physiology, biochemistry and physics. According to Buteyko, improved breathing can increase oxygen levels in tissues and organs such as the brain. Excessive breathing can contribute to breathlessness, wheezing or coughing, and a range of conditions including anxiety and fatigue.

Qualified Buteyko practitioners will have completed basic or advanced Buteyko Instructor Training and have a certificate from the respective training organisation. In Australia, Buteyko practitioners may be accredited by the Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health (BIBH) who sets standards for practitioner training and registration. Internationally, reputable Buteyko training organisations include the Breathing Center International Online School and the Buteyko Clinic International.

Benefits of Buteyko

There is mounting evidence to support the efficacy of the Buteyko Breathing Technique, particularly for people who suffer from asthma. A report prepared for the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that Buteyko delivers “medium to large improvements” in asthma symptoms while reducing medication usage. 

These findings were supported by other studies which concluded that Buteyko breathing exercises assisted with nasal symptoms of asthmatics, with one reporting a significant decrease in symptoms and an improvement in peak expiratory flow rates in people with bronchial asthma.

Buteyko can assist in relieving symptoms related to:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Asthma
  • Breathing
  • Children’s health
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Circulation
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Sinusitis
  • Sleep Issues

What to expect from a Buteyko session

The Buteyko Breathing Technique can be taught in group and solo sessions either in person or online. Only schools and practitioners registered with BIBH are authorised to teach Buteyko to patients on a professional level in Australia.

It is best performed at least two hours before or after eating, comfortably seated in a quiet room. Initially the Buteyko practitioner will review your symptoms and breathing pattern. This includes assessment of your posture, rhythm, rate and pattern of breathing, the use of the diaphragm, the ability to nose breathe and the tendency to hyperventilate. 

During a Buteyko breathing workshop you will learn breathing exercises, postural awareness, relaxation exercises, health tips and lifestyle guidelines to support functional breathing. The program is then tailored to your specific needs. Classes are usually conducted over five ninety-minute sessions. 

You should not stop taking or change the dosage of your asthma medicines without consulting your doctor. As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing Buteyko. If you have any concerns at all, also speak to your Buteyko instructor, who will be happy to address these and evaluate whether Buteyko is a suitable treatment for you.

References

The Science of Breathing Retraining | buteykobreathing.nz

The life of Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko | Buteykoclinic.com

Buteyko Institute Method | Buteyko.info

Hyperventilation and exhaustion syndrome | Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences

Who are we? | Buteyko Breathing Association

Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health | Buteyko.info

Teach Buteyko | breathingcenter.com

Breathing Exercises and/or Retraining Techniques in the Treatment of Asthma| Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Effect of Buteyko breathing exercise in newly diagnosed asthmatic patients | International Journal of Medicine and Public Health

Role of Buteyko breathing technique in asthmatics with nasal symptoms | Clinical Otolaryngology 

Effect of Buteyko breathing technique on patients with bronchial asthma | Egyptian Journal of Chest Diseases and Tuberculosis

The Buteyko Institute Method of breathing retraining: what you should expect | Buteyko breathing clinics