The Buyteyko Method Is Superior For Asthma
Asthma and Breathing
Breathing exercises that help to normalize the breathing pattern will always help to improve asthma, but only if practiced regularly. If you have any breathing issues such as asthma or recurrent chronic bronchitis, then regular exercise in general such as walking, swimming, yoga, Tai Chi, and relaxation exercises can help profoundly to deepen and relax your breathing. Whilst some of these techniques may be more difficult for a child, swimming is excellent, more on this later. Stress has an amazing way of increasing our heart and respiratory rates, and I’ve noticed that stress and anxiety seem to be a common with many asthmatics. It makes sense to learn to relax, and once the asthmatic learns to relax a lot more their breathing often improves a lot.
Drugs For Breathing Problems Are Crazy
Before Salbutamol (Ventolin), asthma used to be treated with breathing exercises
Dr. Buyteko’s Breathing Method
In the late 1940’s Russian medical student Konstantin Buteyko made an observation that has changed the treatment and lifestyle of thousands of asthmatics. Buteyko noticed that the condition of patients in the acute respiratory ward deteriorated when their breathing rate increased. He also noticed that those who reduced or normalised their breathing rate began to recover. For the next 30 years Dr Buteyko researched hyperventilation (overbreathing) and the effect it has on the human body.
Buteyko’s research describes why people hyperventilate, why it continues to self-perpetuate and how to reverse the cycle. The technique has been accepted as mainstream treatment for asthma and it has been taught to over one million people in the Soviet Union.
An Australian who was hospitalised during a trip to Russia, was treated with the Buteyko technique. His condition improved dramatically and he subsequently arranged for one of the Russian Practitioners to go to Australia to teach the technique there. The Buteyko method is now widely used in Australia and New Zealand and is becoming known in America, Great Britain and other parts of Europe.
Since 2008, the British Guideline on the Management of Asthma 2008 grants permission for British health professionals to recommend Buteyko, stating that the method “may be considered to help patients control the symptoms of asthma”.
What is the Buteyko Method?
The method is a program of education and simple breathing exercises that enables you to control and reduce the frequency of your asthma symptoms. The program encompasses the Buteyko breathing exercises, as well as a comprehensive description of Asthma and how to manage it.
Clinical trials show Asthmatics enjoyed an improved quality of life with reduced Asthma symptoms, as well as a 96% reduction in reliever use and a 49% reduction in preventer medication three months after adopting the Buteyko method. Buteyko Asthma Education experience in teaching this method suggests that these results are achieved by almost all Asthmatics who follow the program.
The Buteyko Method’s first priority is safety
Buteyko does not suggest asthmatics discard their prescribed medication. Course attendees are instructed to use their reliever medication on an “as needed” basis, and to reduce preventer medication only under doctor’s supervision.
Buteyko reduces asthma symptoms and drug dependency in four ways:
- Using special breathing exercises to normalie breathing and reduce the frequency and severity of attacks.
- Monitoring the condition accurately and using the Buteyko Method when it is becoming worse.
- By practicing a natural and effective method to overcoming attacks.
- Learning about what your medication actually does, and how to use the smallest amount for the greatest effect.
The Buteyko method is not a cure for Asthma. Neither is the alternative most asthmatics face – a lifetime of drug dependency. Unlike the medication option, Buteyko has no known side-effects and does not require an ever-increasing medication intake to control the condition. Buteyko works to reverse the underlying cause of asthma – chronic hidden hyperventilation.
Dr. Paul Ameisen
Dr. Paul Ameisen is an Australian doctor who has been able to make a study of over 8,000 patients treated so far in Australia, and his book, Every Breath You Take, was the result of six years of research into the Buteyko method and the results it has achieved for asthma sufferers. The results are astonishing and suggest a direct link between our breathing patterns and our level of health. In 1995 a randomised double blind placebo controlled study on the Buteyko method was run in Brisbane, from the data given the reduction in beta2-agonists (e.g. Ventolin™) was a staggering 96% and the reduction in steroid inhalers was 49%. The trial showed that the Buteyko method reduces drug usage profoundly without exacerbating the disease and without deterioration in lung function. In 2000 another trial took place in New Zealand, and again, amazingly there was an 85% reduction in beta2-agonists and a 50% reduction in steroid use amongst people who had used the Buteyko method for six months. Salbutamol was introduced to medicine in 1968, and unfortunately since its inception has become the “medical solution” to asthma, instead of looking into causes, drugs are once again the mainstay of treatment.
What is the Buteyko method? The Buteyko theory is that the basic cause of asthma is a habitual, hidden over-breathing (literally, taking in too much air when breathing). The treatment is based on bringing the breathing to normal levels and thus eradicating over-breathing (hyperventilation) and reversing the need for the body’s defence mechanisms. These defence mechanisms, according to the theory, include spasm of the airways, mucus production (in the chest, nose, throat and ears), and inflammation (swelling) of the bronchial walls. The Buteyko method’s message is that when asthma sufferers learn to alter the volume of air they habitually inhale, their asthma attacks can be significantly reduced and the use of asthma drugs and apparatus can be reduced or entirely eliminated by 90% or more.
Glenn White in New Zealand
It is imperative that you work with a highly experienced and certified Buteyko practitioner if you want to get the best out of your Buteyko method. I have known Glenn White for many years and have had a few consultations with Glenn, he is legendary in New Zealand when it comes to teaching patients the correct way of applying Buteyko’s teachings. I have referred many patients to Glenn personally and have been most impressed with the results, those diagnosed with asthma were ably to lessen their dependence on ‘puffers’, and many could actually discard these pharmaceutical devices after learning how to learn to breathe properly. If you live in New Zealand, be sure to visit Glenn’s clinic in Auckland. You will be able to find an experienced Buyteyko practitioner in your part of the world by going to Google and doing an appropriate search. Glenn’s website is http://www.buteykobreathing.co.nz
The 4 Buteyko Method Exercises
Caution – this information posted here is educational only, it is important that you are instructed by a certified Buteyko practitioner to get the very best results from Buteyko’s method.
2. Tape the mouth up whilst sleeping. Don’t laugh! Unless there is some severe nasal condition, this should not represent any problem and should be adopted for the first few weeks at least to encourage nose breathing. Adults can easily adapt to this, but for children this concept frightens parents easily. However, doctors and Buteyko practitioners worldwide have not seen any harm come to children after recommending this practice for many years. Partial taping can be practiced until children and parents become more confident. Use a light, easily removable micro pore tape.
3. Sleep on the left side. Avoid sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back causes the most over- breathing Professor Buteyko’s research has shown that sleeping on the left-side causes the least over-breathing.
4. Increase your Control Pause. The control pause is described as the time it takes someone to breathe out normally, then to hold his/her breath in the out position until the very first signs of discomfort occur. This measurement is recorded then the person continues to breathe through the nose in a shallow pattern. Most people can only achieve 10 to 20 seconds, at rest. Some cannot even achieve one second, while others can easily achieve 40 seconds! The idea is too eventually to succeed in holding the breath in the out position for up to 50 to 60 seconds, until first difficulty is reached, to achieve the desired improvement. This is the measure of success with the Buteyko method. A person with a control pause of 15 seconds is breathing a volume of air per minute that is enough for 4 people. A person with a control pause of 30 seconds breathes for 2 persons; a control pause of 60 seconds indicates correct breathing, i.e., for 1 person. Some websites mention the “maximum pause”, see below why this is not a good idea.
Glenn White’s Expert Comment On The Maximum Pause:
The now outdated “Maximum Pause” stems from a practice used by Alexander Stalmatski in the early 90s to get quick results. It is now only practiced by a handful of practitioners that still adhere to his teaching. A Maximum Pause could trigger a migraine, heart attack, epileptic seizure or hypoglycaemia in susceptible individuals so practitioners control its use very carefully. It was not condoned by KP Buteyko and he took great pains in retraining BIBH practitioners in gentler and safer approaches during advanced practitioner training in NZ in 2000. The Maximum Pause should never be attempted without supervision by a qualified practitioner.
Holding your breath (the maximum pause) can result in a dramatic increase in PaCO2 (medical symbol for the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood found in the arteries ) and trigger a hyperventilation response as the body tries to compensate. This can trigger the very symptoms we are trying to resolve and at the very least trigger a hyperventilation attack. In my breathing classes I stress the importance of controlled reduced breathing for 5 minutes immediately following any extended breath hold to override this response. Even with careful supervision clients can get it wrong.
I also preclude any with the following conditions from doing the Maximum pause unsupervised: Diabetes I and II, those with severe cardiovascular disorders, epilepsy (including individuals with family history), OCD (for obvious reasons), panic/anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.
The other factor with Maximum Pause exercises is that they are specifically designed to provoke a cleansing reaction. Most Buteyko practitioners prefer to teach a more gentle approach that this. In fact very few Buteyko practitioners prescribe this exercise today and I would add that only a handful of the practitioners I know would be competent and qualified to guide their clients through the possible cleansing reactions maximum pauses can provoke.
Eric’s 10-Step Asthma Plan
1. Is it really asthma?
2. Stop being so “germ phobic”
3. Breastfeed your child
4. Giving the lowest possible amount of drugs to control the symptoms
5. The Buteyko Method will be one of the best decisions you can make
- Do you live in New Zealand? Then you are in luck, you should pay a visit to one of the world’s best Buteyko teachers, Glenn White, who lives in Auckland. Click here to be directed to his website.
- Do you live in America? Then my suggestion is that you contact the Buteyko Breathing Educators (BBEA) in North America. Here is a page that will show you different Buteyko practitioners, it is best to contact somebody who is fully qualified: www.buteykoeducators.org
6. Back and chest massage
7. Diet changes
Diet can be a hidden source of many problems for the asthmatic. The early onset of asthma is sometimes even triggered by a child not being breast-fed at all, or only having been breastfed for a few weeks and then placed on a cow’s based infant formula. With adults, a source of concern is alcohol and preserved fruit, which may contain sulphur dioxide. An asthmatic who is particularly sensitive may even react to as little as a few parts of sulphur dioxide per million!
A restrictive diet for the first 12 weeks to see if there is any food involvement
Avoid the key allergenic foods temporarily
I often tell parents to watch their child and see which food/s they want the most, because there will often be a food they strongly desire which belongs to the allergenic group. For children who are in separated family situations, take care when they go to dad’s place for example on the weekend. I have seen a few children develop “mysterious coughs” on a Monday or Tuesday after dad got them a double scoop ice cream on a Sunday. The child’s mother may well have them on a restrictive diet and adhere to a strict regime of dairy avoidance, so checking out when the asthma is at its worst can help a lot to establish the triggers. Watch grandma or grandpa or aunt too, they may think it “unfair” that you are depriving the kids of treats, not fully understanding the immune involvement with an asthmatic and may potentially undo all your good work, so be firm.
Be aware of food intolerances.
Eat more anti inflammatory foods.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, onions and kelp contain a flavonoid called quercetin, and grapefruit contains naringin, an anti inflammatory flavonoid, all of these foods can help reduce inflammation in the body. Methionine is an amino acid found in protein rich foods, and it binds to excess histamine, making immune reactions much less severe. Grade-A proteins contain large amounts of methionine, and include tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon, chicken and tofu.Avocado, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on the other hand are rich in vitamin E, which has been found helpful in calming inflammation in the lungs as well.
Watch the fats in your child’s diet – give omega 3 daily
8. Build immunity to reduce need for antibiotics
9. Herbal medicine.
10. Nutritional medicine.
The addition of a high quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement is recommended to counter any deficiencies here. In addition, a porcine glandular extract can have a most positive effect on the asthmatic’s immune system by helping to normalise the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, (the body’s innate stress response) by allowing cortisol, the powerful immune-boosting hormone produced by the adrenal gland, to normalise, which in turn will “down regulate” an over stimulated immune system (IgE). The end result is that the IgE responses eventually settle right down. A glandular extract is a particularly helpful addition if steroidal “preventative” puffers have been used for some time. Why? Because steroidal drugs effectively suppress the body’s production of its own steroidal (adrenal) hormones, allowing the immune response in one sense to be suppressed, thereby “preventing” an asthma attack, but on the other hand allowing the hypersensitivity (IgE) responses to continue unabated by suppressing the production of cortisol. I have personally verified this glandular approach clinically now for the past two years and even witnessed one severe asthmatic’s peak flow volumes more than double in less than twelve weeks. The doctor was astonished to say the least, and quickly weaned the patient off more than four different antibiotics. When you have asthma as severe as this lady (more than 40 years), you get to the point where you become permanently dependent on steroids and antibiotics because you are always sick. Your bones begin to crumble and your skin becomes as thin as tissue paper as the Prednisolone takes its toll. Ask your practitioner, as adrenal glandular extracts are again “practitioner only” and not available in the health food shops.
Treating asthma can be a most difficult and frustrating endeavour, especially for the parent. However, the above mentioned environmental modifications, Buteyko method, dietary avoidances, nutritional supplements and herbs can in combination dramatically help to reduce the overall burden. In many cases, my 10 step asthma plan can help prevent the asthmatic from even having to use beta-agonist bronchodilator or steroidal puffers, or they can be used as an adjunct to these drugs to allow lesser usage or lower drug dosing. However they are used, it is important for the practitioner to fully investigate the patient’s reactivity to substances in their diet and environment and promote avoidance of those substances, as well as encouraging proper nutrition and lifestyle practices that will reduce the overall immune burden. You can make a real difference here, and asthma truly is one of those chronic conditions where the best results will come with an integrated and holistic approach.
|Every Breath You Take: Revolutionary Asthma Treatment|
|Dr. Paul Ameisen. This is updated book published in 2004, the original was first published in 1997. This book is a must have if you have asthma and are serious about quitting the drug regime. An excellent read. My favourite asthma book about the Buteyko Method.|
|Asthma-Free Naturally: Everything You Need to Know to Take Control of Your Asthma|
|This revolutionary book by Patrick McKeown teaches readers how to take control of their asthma safely and effectively without any side effects. The approach encompasses the Buteyko Breathing Method as well as guidance on diet, sleep, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes that can provide a natural alternative to Asthma medications. The author was a chronic asthmatic who applied the Buteyko Breathing Method to free himself from his asthma condition. In this book, he details the Buteyko Breathing Method and provides guidance on diet, sleep, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes that can provide a natural alternative to Asthma medications. The Buteyko Breathing Method is considered by many to be the single most effective self-help treatment for asthma and can be used by adults and children|
Breathe Well, Be Well
Thank you for taking an interest and delighted to see you promote Buteyko, “Breathe well, be well”
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