What is the Buteyko Method?

The Buteyko Method is a training system that is aimed at normalizing a person's breathing, reducing chronic hidden hyperventilation, teaching good posture and breathing habits, combined with advice on diet, exercise, sleep and lifestyle.

It is not a medical intervention but will, through normalization of breathing, impact beneficially on almost all medical conditions and consequently a review of the patient's medical treatment by their doctor may be needed. Often this may mean reduced need for prescribed drugs as their general physiology improves.


Benefits of the Buteyko Method Training

The health benefits of the Buteyko Method training arise from the normalization of the patient's breathing, the reduction in chronic hidden hyperventilation and other associated lifestyle changes taught on the full Buteyko programme.

The alternative way of understanding the impact of the Buteyko Method is to recognize the serious effect on our health of chronic hidden hyperventilation, inadequate physical exercise, unhealthy diets, poor sleep, persistent mouth breathing, over-use of drugs or alcohol, chronic stress from childhood to old age, over-eating etc. All these factors are addressed in the full Buteyko Method training.

After training patients will usually experience a general improvement in their health and well-being often as improved sleep, more energy, better digestion and eating habits, reduced reliance on medication, better concentration, less stress, as well as reduced symptoms of their presenting conditions.

Once trained every patient has the understanding to be re-empowered to improve their own health; the tools for this are there for life. This surely is the very best kind of health care?  

As regards the cost to society of this approach, it is generally shown that there is a substantial cost saving year on year on drugs and medical interventions. With asthma alone the training costs are recouped in savings in just a few months.

For an increasingly financially strained western health service, the Buteyko Method made widely available, would release £ billions that could be better used to treat others needing more intensive medical intervention.
History of Buteyko

The Buteyko Method was developed by Russian medical scientist, Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko (1923-2003) , who researched the effects of breathing patterns on our health. Dr. Buteyko   discovered that hyperventilation was linked to several conditions, including asthma, sleep apnoea and snoring and developed techniques to normalise breathing patterns, reversing symptoms and lessening the need for medication.

He devised a highly structured programme to retrain the involuntary breathing mechanism. No drugs or surgery were employed but instead, a supervised training programme of tailored breathing manoeuvres was taught to patients.   Dr. Buteyko found that when patients improved their breathing, symptoms in a large variety of chronic conditions diminished in severity.

When he formally presented his findings and a detailed theoretical explanation to the medical elite in Russia in 1960, they were outraged at the proposal of a non-medical treatment that claimed superior results. However, by 1967, official statistics cited over 1000 people "cured" of asthma, hypertension and other related conditions through Respiratory Reconditioning. The response from the medical establishment was to prohibit publication, or even lectures on the phenomenon. To this day, the vested interests of drug and surgical intervention have invariably slowed down the spread of knowledge about this drug-free approach.

Despite objections from Soviet medical authorities Dr. Buteyko's work received support from grateful patients including academics, the political elite, athletes and the military.

Dr. Buteyko's persistent research over a number of decades, and the possibility of a great reduction in medication costs for a strained Soviet health budget enabled him to have the method formally accepted as a mainstream management system for breathing disorders in the 1980's. It is reputed that the technique has been successfully taught to over one million citizens of the states that made up the Soviet Union.

In 1980 the Buteyko Method was endorsed by the Ministry of Health after successful trials, but conservative medical resistance thwarted its general implementation.

In 1990 the Buteyko Method was introduced to Australia where published medical trials in 1994 showed that severe asthmatics reduced symptoms and their need for reliever medication by 90% and inhaled steroids by 49%. Over ten thousand Australians have successfully learned the Buteyko Method. The Buteyko Method has been featured in numerous major news articles and television documentaries.

In 1994, it was introduced to the UK and was widely supported by patients, acclaimed by the media and, again, featured in several television documentaries including BBC's QED . Because of the support of individual medical doctors , the claims of tens of thousands of patients, the time and effort put into Medical Trials , news articles and television documentaries, the drug-free approach of the Buteyko Breathing technique is being recognised as a viable complement to allopathic medicine and has been endorsed by The British Thoracic Society .


www.buteykokent.co.uk - Michael Lingard - Buteyko Practitioner - Hawkhurst - Kent - UK