Asthma UK community forum

Buteyko Method

I just wondered whether anyone had done this and found it helpful. My partner has noticed that I breathe really quickly and shallowly, especially at night, even when my asthma is better controlled as it has been over the past couple of weeks.

I'd like to try some breathing exercises because I suspect one of my triggers is anxiety, as well as other more environmental things. I'd also love to find a non medical way of managing my symptoms in the hope of reducing medication sometime in the future.



6 Replies

i would recommend you put the word Buteyko in the search box on discussion forum as it brings up lots of past threads.



When I went to see the chest phsyio last Friday she did not recommend the Buteyko breathing exercises because she explained that quite a lot of asthmatics can not breath deep enough for these exercises to work properly.

It might be worth speaking to your asthma nurse to see what they recommend for you.


Hey :)

Some people find Buteyko helpful, particularly if they have a tendency to breathe too fast and not deep enough. However I must stress that I feel it is important that you speak to your GP/consultant before you choose to try the Buteyko method/alternative medicine as for some people it is not suitable and please don't stop your medications if you do go ahead with Buteyko. Like Plumie said there are some threads in the discussion forum which you can find through the search box. :)

hope that helps.


I see a chest physio who told me some of the princples used in Buteyko are a tad extreme like taping mouth up for hours so you breath through the nose. But breathing excersises are a good idea can also reduce the numberr of infections


Simi and asthmagirl have pretty much summed it up really; Buteyko can help some people with asthma, but it can also be dangerous to others - check with your GP/asthma nurse/consultant before trying it out.


(mod's hat at rakish angle)


long reply from a buteyko supporter

EmC don't say how severe your asthma is...or what level of medication you are on so make sure you consult your doctor and learn buteyko from an instructor...

Consensus and buteyko.....hard to find!

There are very very mild exercises for people with very severe conditions that are suitable and beneficial for almost everyone. It is essential in these cases to learn only these exercises which are akin to relaxation with correct (or at least a bit better) breathing and have them adapted to your own unique set of circumstances by a practitioner.

Many physios (and other medical professionals) still do not understand buteyko quite obviously.

After the initial shock(in 2003) at even being able to breathe through my nose AT ALL, i have comfortably ONLY breathed through my nose since (exceptions swimming and scuba). Taping my mouth is about the same effect as taping my elbow on my breathing.....

in the Nottingham Buteyko trial which somehow sought to assess buteyko only on the benefits of taping the nose at night, 78% (i think or else 82%) of people had no difficulty or discomfort with taping their mouths. Taping the mouth if this is the only way you can forget about having to remember to keep it closed may sound extreme but it is not. People's big breathing habit through their mouths is extreme and causes extreme consequences (and not only asthma – there are increased links to many other conditions including sudden adult death syndrome in the super fit young male category) ....unfortunately mouth breathing is still overlooked by many...

Breathing through your nose regulates volume and would agree with Bizkid that this does reduce the number of infections that you would suffer.

It is vital not to change your medication without your doctors approval. Get a doctor who understands buteyko and does not ridicule you for suggesting it....that is a way of not having to address an issue, usually reflecting a lack of knowledge and is intolerable.

I would say that the vast vast majority of asthmatics breathe far too shallowly and far too much...a sniff or sigh every five minutes is enough to maintain incorrect too high volume of breathing...

Asthmatics breathe 12-15 litres of air at rest per minute. Healthy people breathe 5 litres per minute. Medical trials support these (as averages) as do the medical books. Not hard to correlate big breathing habit and asthma (and yes, i wish it was only that simple - for many it is just they have gone beyond easy correction).

Asthmagirl, i would question your physio’s knowledge. I am not aware of a requirement to breathe deeply should just be a gentle breath in...,massive difference between a big (unhealthy) breath and a deep (diaphragm breath). Causes alot of confusion even among health professionals. The method is a step by step process from wherever you are on the breathing habit.....with practice people can do things they were unable for only a mater of weeks before.

Have any of you watched the BBD documentary on buteyko from 1998 ? Impressive results in a short period of time with very severe, very regularly hospitalised asthmatics....

Buteyko is a complimentary technique, not alternative. It supports the medication to achieve better control.

I would encourage asthmatics to try buteyko, learning it from a practitioner and under the support of their medical team. I would also encourage medical professionals to become more knowledgeable about their specialist subject matter. How come mouth breathing has become the accepted norm over the last fifty years and incraseingly it is the new normal (up to 80% of entry level school children now very unhealthily habitually mouth breath) It is not without good reason that buteyko has had worldwide trials and has been used by 100,000’s of people worldwide (Russia, Australia, NZ, Canada, US and many more).

A correct breathing habit increases stamina, reduces lactic acid build up and boosts recovery sports stars and their tells alot about their performance.

Signs of big breathing are hearing your breathing at rest, breathing through the mouth, sighing or sniffing, excessive nose blowing, blocked nose, EIA, chest tightness, wheezing, snoring, upper chest movement, shoulders forward or hunched posture, alot of movement on breathing, hayfever, allergies, chronic rhinitis, sinus, insomnia, tiredness, high heart rate, regular colds/flus or chest infections, poor circulation, anxiety, poor concentration, night time toilet trips...and that is just for starters.

On a personal note, I suffered all of the above until 2003. These issues have been resolved through changing my breathing habit and maintaining an asthma friendly lifestyle. This involved commitments to health, hydration and healthier food, exercise and monitoring my breathing regularly. Buteyko is a guide to how to correct unhealthy breathing back to more normal levels. Normal breathing is extremely powerful and allows our bodies to function as they were designed to be - healthy.


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