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Buteyko Breathing Method

I am a Certified Buteyko Breathing Instructor.  The Buteyko Method first arrived to Australia and the UK from Russia in the early 1990s. Early on the method was popular with adults and children suffering from asthma. Over the past number of years, the Buteyko Method has shown to be efficacious in helping improve a number of breathing related problems including:

  • Respiratory: asthma, rhinitis, hayfever

  • Neurological: Anxiety, stress and panic attacks

  • Childhood development: dental health, craniofacial development and ADHD

  • Sleep disordered breathing: insomnia, snoring, central sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea

Developed in 1952 by Ukrainian Dr Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, (Bhew-tae-ko) the Buteyko Method is a breathing technique designed to improve functional breathing patterns. 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.

Functional breathing involves breathing in and out through the nose. The breath is light, regular, effortless with the primary movement from the diaphragm.

On the other hand poor breathing is generally upper chest breathing, often through the mouth. The symptoms most commonly reported by people with poor breathing patterns include the inability to take a satisfying breath, disproportionate breathlessness during rest or physical exercise, frequent yawning or sighing, or the feeling of not getting enough air. Irregular breathing is often a feature of poor breathing patterns. However, breathing patterns in these individuals can also be regular from time to time which makes detection difficult.

The Buteyko Method involves exercises to decongest the nose, switch to nasal breathing along with exercises to restore functional breathing patterns. Progress is determined by a special breath hold test called the Control Pause (see below for more details)

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.

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.

Since breathing is a natural process and so vital to life, it begs the question: why do we all breathe so differently? The answer to this is that our breathing habits are greatly influenced by lifestyle, environment and genetic predisposition. The best way to understand how breathing patterns can be altered over time is to think of a person who has developed a habit of eating too much. In times of stress, this person may turn to emotional eating, using food as a crutch to help them relax. But if they continue eating in this way over a period of weeks or months, their body soon adapts to habitual over-eating and begins to demand more food than they need.


Similarly, sitting at a desk, watching TV and playing video games, eating processed foods, excessive talking along with stress and anxiety are all factors influencing breathing. When the body is exposed to these perpetuating factors for extended periods of time, the body becomes accustomed to a larger volume of breathing, along with all its negative manifestations.

Information above is from the Buteyko International website which has more information for those interested 

Patrick McKeown, with whom I trained, is one of the leading instructors of Buteyko Breathing and he also trains Olympic Athletes on how to use the Butekyo Method to optimise their performance with his Oxygen Advantage Programme.  He explains more about the Buteyko Breathing Method in his TED talk "Shut your Mouth and Change your Life | Patrick McKeown"  CLICK HERE to watch

For more detailed information, read my Breathing Fact Sheet

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“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates
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