Buteyko Method (Buteyko Breathing Technique)
The Buteyko (Bew-tay-ko) Method has shown to be effective in helping to improve a number of breathing related problems including:
Respiratory: asthma, COPD, rhinitis, hay fever.
Sleep disordered breathing: insomnia, snoring, sleep apnoea.
Neurological: Anxiety, stress and panic attacks
Childhood development: dental health, craniofacial development and ADHD
While breathing is an involuntary activity, it is subject to change by stresses of everyday life, processed foods, excessive sitting and talking, lifestyle choices and environmental factors. Breathing is such an intrinsic function that it can be hard to appreciate that we can do it better, or to realise that the way we breathe can have significant impact on our health and wellbeing. Even then, we may not realise that the problem could be addressed simply by retraining the way that we breathe.
Dr Konstantin Buteyko (1923-2003) was a Ukrainian doctor, who observed that his sick patients typically had heavy and irregular breathing patterns. It occurred to Dr Buteyko that certain diseases may develop as a result of over-breathing (hyperventilation). In the 1950s he developed the Buteyko breathing technique, designed to improve functional breathing patterns. Through practising the method he was able to resolve his own hypertension (high blood pressure). Functional breathing involves breathing in and out through the nose. The breath is light, regular, effortless with the primary movement from the diaphragm.
Breathing patterns have a profound impact on health. Poor breathing patterns literally cause the airways to narrow, and blood circulation and oxygen delivery to be reduced. Researchers have listed up to 30 common symptoms and conditions contributed to by poor breathing patterns. These include asthma, wheezing, coughing, blocked nose, chest tightness, snoring, sleep apnoea, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, anxiety, stress and general exhaustion.
The Buteyko Method involves exercises to decongest the nose, switch to nasal breathing along with exercises to restore functional breathing patterns. The application of the Buteyko Method is very direct and students should experience notable improvements to their breathing and health within a few days. Expected benefits include easier breathing, deeper sleep, more energy, reduced asthma and nasal congestion along with increased feeling of calm. Exercises are simple and taught to all adults regardless of age or health and all children over five years of age. Children are taught alongside a parent or guardian who can help support practice with the exercises at home.