The Buteyko breathing method is a strategy to retrain dysfunctional breathing based on the postulation that many diseases result from an abnormal breathing pattern. To be more specific, conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, panic disorders, hypertension, etc. are believed to be the body's responses (a 'defence mechanism') to 'hyperventilation' or in simple terms; over-breathing.
Professor Konstantin Buteyko, a Russian physician, developed the method in the 1940s to alleviate such conditions. He found that hyperventilation is the primary cause of these conditions and thus his programme is based on slowing down breathing rates to within normal parameters. The programme includes guidelines for correct diaphragmatic breathing and learning to breathe through the nose.
Professor K P Buteyko and
Glenn White, Manchester, UK 2001
Buteyko theory is based on the understanding that over-breathing disturbs the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our lungs.
Read more about the scientific principles here.
An asthma attack is the body’s way of attempting to reduce the airflow passing through the lungs in order to reduce carbon dioxide loss.
According to Professor Buteyko, 200 different chronic diseases are essentially just one, which he called “deep breathing disease”. When breathing is normalised which can be done simply by decreasing its depth thus allowing carbon dioxide in alveolar air to reach the desired level of 6.5%, symptoms can disappear.
Though most people may think of it as a poison, carbon dioxide may, in fact, be the “breath of life”.
Read about what you can expect from the Buteyko Institute method of breathing retraining here >>
About Professor K P Buteyko
Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko was born into the small farming community of Ivanitsa (about 150km from Kiev) on January 27, 1923. In 1946, he enrolled into the First Medical Institute in Moscow to train as a medical doctor. In 1953 Buteyko was given a practical assignment which involved monitoring patients' breathing, and spent hundreds of hours recording their breathing.
During this time, Professor Buteyko discovered that incorrect breathing caused a range of health problems. Thereafter, most of his professional life was devoted to researching and refining the breathing method which has helped thousands of people throughout the world to overcome their asthma and other breathing conditions.
In 1990, Alexander Stalmatski, a Buteyko Practitioner and former student of Professor Buteyko, took the method to Australia, the first western country to use the Buteyko method. Many thousands of people worldwide have since benefited from the method which Professor Buteyko developed.
"The essence of my method is, however, in decreasing the depth of breathing."
Professor K P Buteyko