Why Buteyko Breathing?
“The essence of my method is in decreasing the depth of breathing.” Professor K.P.Buteyko
I am a total convert and a big fan of the Buteyko breathing method and regularly refer patients to a Buteyko specialist in New Zealand called Glenn White. Were you aware that many people in fact over-breathe (hyperventilate), and all too many believe that deep breathing is one of the best ways of stimulating the PNS when in fact it stimulates the SNS, the stress response!
Professor Konstantin Buteyko was born into the small farming community of Ivanitsa (about 150km from Kiev) in 1923. In 1946, he enrolled into the First Medical Institute in Moscow to train as a medical doctor. In 1953 Dr. Buteyko was given a practical assignment that involved monitoring patients’ breathing, and spent many hundreds of hours recording their breathing. It was during this time that Professor Buteyko discovered that incorrect and deep breathing caused a wide range of health problems. There after, most of his professional medical life was devoted to researching, studying respiration and refining his breathing method that has helped thousands of people throughout the world to overcome their asthma and other breathing conditions.
Breathing is one activity that has a most profound effect on your parasympathetic nervous system, and most people will be quick to tell you that deep breathing is the correct way to induce relaxation, and that to practice deep breathing on a daily basis is most advantageous during times of stress and anxiety. Currently, a popular e-book on overcoming psoriasis states that “Correct breathing is deep breathing”, when in fact deep breathing is not the right way to breathe; Buteyko in fact states (after studying respiration and its effects on human health for 50 years) that “the essence of my method is in decreasing the depth of breathing”. Professor Konstantin Buteyko, a Russian physician, developed a slower breathing method that has been named the Buteyko breathing method; it has been used since the 1940s to alleviate many different health conditions. Buteyko found that hyperventilation is the primary cause of many medical conditions and thus his program is based on slowing down breathing rates to within normal parameters. The Buteyko program includes guidelines for correct diaphragmatic breathing and learning to breathe in and out through the nose only.
The reason that slow breathing is so effective is that during times of stress, heart rate and respiration rapidly increase as the sympathetic nervous system takes over.
Correct breathing (which helps to balance the correct oxygen/carbon dioxide level) helps convince the body there is no immediate danger and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to regain control.
The Buteyko breathing method is a strategy to retrain dysfunctional breathing based on the theory that many diseases result from an abnormal breathing pattern. To be more specific, conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, panic disorders, high blood pressure, etc. are believed to be the body’s responses (a defense mechanism) to hyperventilation or in simple terms; over-breathing. The Buteyko theory is based on the understanding that over-breathing disturbs the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our lungs, according to Professor Buteyko, more than 200 different chronic diseases are essentially just one, which he called “the deep-breathing disease”. By simply decreasing the depth of breathing, thus allowing carbon dioxide in the lungs to reach the desired level of 6.5, breathing normalizes and symptoms can disappear.
Though most people may think of it as a poison, carbon dioxide may, in fact, be the “breath of life”.
If you want to really learn how to breathe properly and overcome excessive yawning, coughing, sneezing, sniffing, sighing or any one of a host of breathing related problems then I can highly recommend that you get in touch with your local certified Buteyko practitioner. This technique requires only a small amount of practice each day and will soon become second nature.
Here are some of the benefits of the Buteyko method of breathing:
- Deal with stress and anxiety quickly and effectively
- Enjoy more energy and a happier state of mind
- Control the feeling of panic attacks
- Safely reduce or eliminate medication in time
- Sleep soundly through the night
- Have a clear nose – experience the joy of being able to smell again
- Eliminate snoring for a better night’s sleep for you and your partner
- Monitor your condition without gadgets or machinery
- Return to activities or places you love, but have avoided because of your health
- Enjoy physical activity without fear of asthma attacks or other breathing problems
- Improve your athletic performance, stamina and recovery time
- Have freedom from symptoms related to chronic conditions
- Reduce snoring, sniffing, wheezing, shortness of breath
- Gain knowledge about your medication and its side effects
- Eliminate sore throats and hoarseness
- Reduce the incidence of headaches, earaches and stomach aches
- Enhance exercise and sports performance, have more stamina
- Greatly reduce your absentee rate at work or school
Nasal Breathing, NOT Mouth Breathing
The Buteyko method emphasizes the importance of nasal breathing, which protects the airways by humidifying, warming, and cleaning the air entering the lungs. Many people breathe through their mouth however, do you? By keeping the nose clear and encouraging nasal breathing during the day, nighttime symptoms can also improve. Nasal breathing only during any physical exercise is another key element of the Buteyko method, and you will find that your performance will improve if you adhere to this.
Reduced Breathing Exercises
The main focus of the Buteyko method involves controlling your breath, and to consciously reduce your breathing rate and volume that is in contrast to deep breathing exercises recommended by most. Once you have spent time practicing and retraining yourself it will become instinctive and you won’t look back. The Buteyko method uses a measurement called the CP or controlled pause that means the amount of time you can hold your breath comfortably after you exhale, until you need to breath again. The MP or maximum pause is the same, but with specially taught exercises that distract your brain, you learn to push out your controlled pause. Success comes as you are able to comfortably hold your breath in the out position for a minute or longer, and this will signify that you are breathing for one person. The less you can comfortably hold your breath for, the more you are over-breathing and the more people you are breathing for.
I cannot recommend the Buteyko Method of breathing highly enough, it is suitable for many people and will help those with a wide variety of health problems. It has changed my life so much and has helped me sleep better, I rarely yawn or sniff anymore and my breathing and ability to relax has never been better. Be sure to make serious enquiries about this amazing therapy that may well have the same incredible benefits to your life as it has had with mine and to the countless patients I’ve recommended to Glen White in New Zealand, our country’s leading Buteyko breathing expert.
You may like to read more on Glenn’s website at http://www.buteykobreathing.nz