BUTEYKO Method for breathing. Has anyone tried this for Bronchiectasis? How did you get it on and where did you go for the training?

I have read about this alternative breathing therapy for asthma and COPD (including bronchiectasis). I have bronchiectasis and wanted to know if anyone has been through a course of Buteyko treatment in London and if it helped their bronchiectasis. It seems to be effective with asthma but I am not so sure if it could help bronchiectasis. Thanks.

23 Replies

  • Don't know anyone with bronchiectasis who has tried the buteyko method, but this other post may be of interest to you :


  • Thanks BlakeyC. I am getting the strong impression that this method is designed for people with asthma, rather than bronchiectasis. All the Youtubes and web info I have been following seem to focus on asthma cases. However, some people claim it helps bronchiectasis, and that is where I am confused. Traditional Postural drainage techniques taught by the respiratory therapists at the hospitals are quite different for getting up sputum (although they don't seem to work well in my case) as you breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

  • yes it was something originally intended to help asthma patients. I know a person with emphysema and asthma who has tried this method but he said for COPD emphysema even with practicing daily, when push comes to shove you can't achieve the buteyko method when trying to recover breath.

    Worth checking the videos though if you want to try it and see.

    Have you seen the physiotherapist or have the respiratory nurses shown you the huffing technique I wonder. If not maybe ask about this. It is usually mentioned on the PR course too (GP referral)

  • I might ask the GP about going on a PR course as the consultant at my hospital never mentions it. In fact, they discharged me at my last visit, even though the xrays showed the bronchiectasis had spread! I had to beg for a final appointment with the consultant which isn't until March 2014. I also might ask for referral to the Royal Brompton Hospital (although I don't know if they just see advanced cases). I am trying my best not to have such a bad time again this coming winter with infections by taking as many measures I can but already, I am having recognisable signs of mucus building up and breathlessness, which preceded my previous infections. Listen to me, I should be telling the doc all this, shouldn't I?!!!!! Sorry.

  • Sometimes it helps to get it all out! Can I suggest you ring the BLF helpline they might be able to give you some advise on what is available and what you should have been offered or recommended. Please ring the BLF - at least they might be able to give you a way forward. The last thing you want is a dreadful winter with infections - fear of us all. Take care, TAD xx

  • Will do, TADAW, thanks for response.

  • The caution with this method is that bronchiectasis means your alveoli sacks are enlarged. with the retention method that Buteyko promotes, it risks damaging the lungs even more. I tried it and failed! I have bronchiectasis. Instead of breathing better, it made me more short of breath!

    There're different methods to cough up sputum, ask your physio or your pulmonary nurse or consultant. But again, caution must be said. I have tried the Flutter Device. It works well, but now I have strained my tight chest muscles and cannot cough up properly :-(

  • Thanks helingmic I have had a bit of input on Buteyko and yes, it does seem ok for asthma but not ideal for bronchiectasis. I spoke to the chest physio today and she mentioned the acapella and the flutter gadgets for stubborn phlegm. Sorry you strained your muscles, that is actually something I am likely to do too, as I have joint hypermobility and strain lots of things by overdoing it. I am grateful for your advice and will be very careful about that. Where did you get your Flutter?

  • the consultant, after I bought it, told me he could prescribe it. so if you can see your consultant, ask him! My GP didn't know it and didn't want to commit herself.

    You can find it at Evergreen for £45. But if you can get it free, so much the better. Be careful not to breathe, huff, cough too hard. that's what started my chest pain. I think I was too intense with my huffing!

  • Hi I did a Buteyko breathing course about 12 years ago in Leicester but that was for asthma. It did make a difference but I kept on getting chest infections and in an out of hospital after the course.. I still suffer from asthma and maybe have COPD now.

    The price has gone up since then, I paid for my youngest asthmatic daughter to have lessons in Richmond, £400 now, about 18months ago.

    There is a Buteyko Breathing website and they have a shop...I have an old cassette tape that I use to practice with when I remember.

    I have an old book called Breathing Free from the Hale clinic in London, but I think they have stopped doing Buteyko..the book says that the method could help with bronchitis, but I can't see anything about bronchiectasis.

    Trouble is if you ask a Buteyko practioner for advice , you don't know if they will be impartial, and its a lot of money.

    I cough up a lot of mucus everyday, but it is not infected anymore, so I am going to try the exercises again...they did help..but need dedication.

  • Thanks knitter. I've just been to GP and am now on the waiting list to do pulmonary rehabilitation. I didn't mention Buteyko to the GP but I will leave it for the moment. I am trying also to get back to the chest physio for some help on clearing my lungs with postural drainage. I haven't heard enough positive feedback about Buteyko in relation to Bronchiectasis (lots of good feedback for asthma) and I don't think I will try it just now. This is coming in to the 'infection season' for me so I am focusing on getting rid of the mucus. Buteyko may go on hold.

  • I went for a few sessions at the Archway Clinic, but this has now closed, if you go to the Buteyko website it will give you a list of practitioners in your area, you may even get one to visit you at home. I did go when I was first diagnosed and was in a state of panic and it did help me with abdominal breathing but I do think it is meant for asthma sufferers. However I found it relaxing and still practise in times of stress,the idea is to cope with less oxygen. I find the mindfulness of breath helpful and relax so much that I fall asleep. I down loaded some sessions on to my Ipod and when I am breathless just sit and meditate for ten minutes, there again check the mindfulness website. I think anything that may help you is worth a try.

    Good luck


  • Thanks Lustre I agree about meditation and relaxation helping. I have done relaxation sessions at home for about 15 mins (I especially like it when there is background sounds of the sea!) and I know it is supposed to be practised about twice a day over the longterm. I find it hard to discipline myself though or get distracted during the day and get out of the habit. Meditation and mindfulness are really helpful too, although I haven't done much of either. It is hard to stick to these things but I know I really should make more of an effort.

  • Hi stillmovin

    I have Bronchiectasis and did the Buteyko method of Breathing Course about 10 years ago. I felt it did not help me except when I get short of breath after exercise. It helped me control my breathing and stop panic setting in.On the whole I would say it did not help (if that is not a contradiction of terms). I also find Ventolin practically useless to help breathing.

    However, I know of two people who were extremely bad with Asthma, one a teenager of 17 years who was almost suicidal and the other more mature, who were practically cured of Asthma as long as they kept up the exercises. The teacher said one must do the exercises for life!

    In my experience, I would not recommend it for someone with Bronchiectasis.

    Stay well


  • Hi Tamara thanks for the feedback. I am interested too in what you said about Ventolin. I am not on an inhaler as I felt I already take a lot of medication for epilepsy and also acid reflux but this is the first time I have heard that Ventolin doesn't help breathing. I will certainly take note of that for the future. Thanks.

  • Hi Stillmovin 1, I am prescribed ventolin,for Emphysema, It does me no good at all.

  • Do you see a consultant junespoon? It may pay you to ring the BLF helpline to discuss what medications work best for COPD. x

  • Hi Stilmovin

    What I said about Ventolin not helping with breathing only refers to those with Bronchiectasis, It certainly does not help me and I have also heard this from other patients with Bronchiectasis.

    However, it does help people with Asthma, in fact probably saves their lives sometimes.

    Stay well


  • Hi Toci, I have not seen a consultant for over three years now, just have my yearly ,breath as hard as you can three times, test ,last one Jan, she just said improved a little, lost weight and so I must inform Doctor, No niceitys at all, came out feeling smaller than my five foot, where these Medical staff are trained really worries me, For nearly 20 years I was a care manager with the elderly, all the girls that worked along with me were pleasant ,caring, and respectful, Where has all this gone with the medical, pros,

  • junespoon I had to reply to this. I have been seeing a (different) consultant every 3 to 6 months at a local hospital since I was diagnosed 2 yrs ago with bronchiectasis and, although my recent x rays showed a spread of the disease and I have been feeling worse, the consultant said she was going to discharge me. I sent her an email imploring her to see me at least one more time as I was concerned about the worsening condition. She then arranged to see me in March 2014. I saw my GP last week and told her this. She mentioned that a lot of local hospitals are getting extra funds to see NEW referrals so the ones already on their files are being discharged whenever the consultant so desires. This is shocking to hear and could explain why your care has been so lax. I know my hospital has been a bit too relaxed. I am planning to be re-referred to another hospital after my March 2014 appointment and I would only suggest that you request that your GP refers you to another hospital where you may get more helpful care. Take care.

  • You may find this interesting...


  • Thanks teapoob this is a very positive reaction to Buteyko, in fact it is the only one I have seen where Buteyko has helped bronchiectasis, so it is great to read it. I haven't done Buteyko but I have started to take a walk around a field I have found in my area every other day for 15 mins which I notice has helped me a bit. I know that is not quite the same, but the exercise and regulated breathing is helping a lot. I think that is the key with bronchiectasis treatment. Being disciplined in the exercises is not easy but the debilitating effect of infection is something I try to avoid at all costs. I carried all that around with me for practically the whole of last winter and just started to get better in Spring. I am still learning how to cope with bronchiectasis and trying lots of things, so this link you sent me on Buteyko is another thing I can have there as support if I have to take that route. Thank you again.

  • I have just picked up on this thread.

    I breathe the Buteyko way, I learnt about 2 years ago.

    I have mild Bronchiecstatis and Asthma. I still get chest Infections - however, my asthma has improved greatly so I am very well inbetween infections.

    In fact I can swim the length of 30m swimming pool front crawl lifting my head out for breath only once during the length. Before I learnt Buteyko I had to breath every 2 strokes as apposed to now at 10.

    You have to be very disciplined while learning then it comes naturally.

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