Buteyko And Other Breathing Methods
with Acute & Chronic Conditions

A comparative analysis of Buteyko and other methods,
of long & short-term benefits of breathing practices And Related References
Edited by Chris Pringer, June 2010
PDF version for Print Available [ Right-Click, "Save As" will Download ]


Summary Set

Ch.Bullet   Intro On Buteyko Breathing As Related To Hyperventilation
Ch.Bullet   Critique, "Buteyko Breathing Technique – Nothing To Hyperventilate About"
Ch.Bullet   "7-11" Breathing From Wikipedia
Ch.Bullet   Paper Bag Breathing ("Not Advisable")
Ch.Bullet   Buteyko Breathing Method (Brief excerpt from Wikipedia)
Hyperventilation & Syndrome
(Excerpts from Wikipedia)

Ch.Bullet   Main
Ch.Bullet   Causes
Ch.Bullet   Mechanism
Ch.Bullet   Symptoms & signs: respiratory system
Ch.Bullet   Lungs & breathing activity
Ch.Bullet   Treatment
Ch.Bullet   Hyperventilation References
The Buteyko Method

Ch.Bullet  Main
Ch.Bullet  Reduced Breathing Exercises
Ch.Bullet  Nasal Breathing
Ch.Bullet  "How to use Buteyko Breathing to deal with stress-related symptoms"
Related References

Ch.Bullet Main
Ch.Bullet  Pranayama & Yoga Systems
Ch.Bullet  via keywords: "'Breathing Methods' yoga"
Ch.Bullet  Some Other Basic Breathing System Google Searches to try

Ch.Bullet  Copyright/Disclosure, Author, & HomePage Info

Intro Summary & References

RnbwGldBarBullet   Intro Summary: Buteyko Breathing As Related To Hyperventilation (cp, 6/2/2010)

          IMO (In my opinion), based on my 3-4 hours of research: It seems the Buteyko breathing method works well for certain chronic conditions, particularly those related to the lung, particularly asthma. It also provides a focused breathing method which will assist in hyperventilation, although this benefit is not had exclusively from long-term use of Buteyko, and may also be assisted by long-term use of other breathing systems.
          Buteyko, employing a series of reduced-breathing exercises focusing on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation, seems to work best (more effectively than other breathing systems) when the hyperventilation is a result of certain conditions or deseases, particularly related to the lung, particularly asthma.
          The key advantage of the system has to do with Carbon Dioxide/Oxygen balance. From the *Pegasus NLP Mind-Body Health Site* (excerpts & reference below): "...the research and clinical practice of Professor Buteyko and his colleagues since the late 50's indicates that most of us are doing too much breathing. We are, effectively, breathing out too much carbon dioxide. And, ironically, if we get rid of too much carbon dioxide we actually absorb less oxygen - so all of our deep breathing to oxygenate our system is in vain. This is because of a scientific principle called the Bohr Effect."

         Buteyko treats the symptoms of asthma well enough, it does not cure the cause, so far as yet found. On the other hand, long term benefits of other breathing systems, such as found in yoga for example, may treat the cause much more effectively.

         "7-11" Breathing (described & referenced below) Would seem to be much easier to remember for emergency conditions IF the condition is acute and no other applicable breathing system has been practiced long-term, or at least memorably familiarized. See appropriately titled paragraph below. EG: If you want to provide the most solid basis for overall health maintenance as you can -via a breathing system- then find one that works on a regular basis for equalizing your respiratory intake and exhalation; one that makes you feel both relaxed and energized, and also recovers your energy after mild exercise and improves your function in heavy exercise; one that does this through your breathing practice beforehand, if not also during. For most people it only takes some well invested time to find that system. And then, if there's still a tendency to panic attack or hyperventilation, try a "7-11" method, or one modified through time and experience with the breathing method you found to keep you relaxed and energized.

          Among the references [Many excerpts from & links for included below; all listed at end of this article] was the following excerpt by Joseph Albietz, in which, if you read no other part of the article, you may find well put arguments against Buteyko's "scientific basis," in the section under the header, "What of BBT's Physiologic Plausibility?"



RnbwGldBarBullet   "Buteyko Breathing Technique – Nothing To Hyperventilate About"

          Published by Joseph Albietz under Science and Medicine; Albietz: "SUMMARY: Buteyko reminds me in many ways of D.D. Palmer. Starting from an erroneous observation, using flawed logic, lacking prior plausibility, forsaking scientific validation, and promoting their techniques as virtual panaceas, they each nevertheless may have found small medical niches where their techniques may have some limited utility. Palmer's niche appears to be treatment of low-back pain, and for Buteyko, it may be the symptomatic relief of mild asthma symptoms.

         "...Buteyko Breathing Therapy and the literature – not burdened by an overabundance of evidence: Buteyko and his devotees have made some remarkable claims while providing almost no evidence; an unrestricted Pubmed search of “Buteyko” yields a grand total of 21 hits. ...Virtually all of these 21 Pubmed hits discuss the use of BBT for asthma, as was indicated in the NYT article that triggered this post. There are no published studies evaluating BBT for any of the other 149 diseases Buteyko claimed to cure."


RnbwGldBarBullet   "7-11" Breathing From Wikipedia

         The same benefits can be obtained more safely from deliberately slowing down the breathing rate by counting or looking at the second hand on a watch. This is often referred to as "7-11 breathing", because a gentle inhalation is stretched out to take 7 seconds (or counts), and the exhalation is slowed to take 11 seconds. However, if a few minutes of this intervention is not effective, the patient should be seen by emergency medical personnel (paramedics or physicians). Most patients benefit from carefully, deliberately slowing down their breathing twice a day for five minutes at a time. [3][references at Wikipedia article] The goal is to reduce breathing to no more than five breaths per minute. This helps retrain their habits and convince them that faster breathing is unnecessary.


RnbwGldBarBullet   Paper Bag Breathing

         A traditional intervention for an acute episode is to have the patient breathe into a paper bag, causing rebreathing and restoration of CO2 levels. ***THIS IS NOT ADVISABLE***, and is now considered to be contraindicated.[citation needed] When patients hyperventilate, they change their blood chemistry toward alkalosis. In alkalosis, hemoglobin binds more securely to the oxygen (' alkalotic O2 clamping', also called the 'Bohr effect'), so the patient's cells become relatively hypoxic. Restricting inspired oxygen worsens this hypoxia and is detrimental to the patient. If attempting to calm the patient does not work within a few minutes, and the patient's condition is deteriorating, the hyperventilation may be caused by a medical condition (some of which are life threatening such as head injuries or drug overdose).


RnbwGldBarBullet   Buteyko Method (Brief)

         The Buteyko method or Buteyko Breathing Technique is a practice used for the treatment of asthma. The method takes its name from the late Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko (Ukrainian), who first formulated its principles during the 1960s. The method is a physical therapy [citation needed] and several small clinical trials have shown that it can safely reduce asthma symptoms and the need for rescue medication, as well as increasing quality of life scores. [1][2][3][references at Wikipedia article] However, improvement takes time and commitment, requiring daily exercises over a period of weeks or months.
          At the core of the Buteyko method is a series of reduced-breathing exercises that focus on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation. Buteyko's theory was that asthmatics "chronically overbreathe" and the exercises are designed to teach asthmatics to breathe less. The goal is to retrain breathing to a normal pattern, akin to certain forms of Yoga.
         See "The Buteyko Method" Further Below



excerpted from Wikipedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with hypoventilation.
Hyperventilation ICD-10 R06.4 ICD-9 786.01

In medicine, hyperventilation (or overbreathing) is the state of breathing faster and/or deeper than necessary. It can result from a psychological state such as a panic attack, from a physiological condition such as metabolic acidosis, or can be brought about voluntarily.

Hyperventilation can, but does not necessarily always cause symptoms such as numbness or tingling in the hands, feet and lips, lightheadedness, dizziness, headache, chest pain, slurred speech, nervous laughter, and sometimes fainting, particularly when accompanied by the Valsalva maneuver.

Counterintuitively, such effects are not precipitated by the sufferer's lack of oxygen or air. Rather, the hyperventilation itself reduces the carbon dioxide concentration of the blood to below its normal level because one is expiring more carbon dioxide than being produced in the body, thereby raising the blood's pH value (making it more alkaline), initiating constriction of the blood vessels which supply the brain, and preventing the transport of oxygen and other molecules necessary for the function of the nervous system.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Causes

Stress or anxiety commonly are causes of hyperventilation; this is known as hyperventilation syndrome. Hyperventilation can also be brought about voluntarily, by taking many deep breaths in rapid succession. Hyperventilation can also occur as a consequence of various lung diseases, head injury, or stroke (central neurogenic hyperventilation, apneustic respirations, ataxic respiration, Cheyne-Stokes respirations or Biot's respiration). Lastly, in the case of metabolic acidosis, the body uses hyperventilation as a compensatory mechanism to decrease acidity of the blood. In the setting of diabetic ketoacidosis, this is known as Kussmaul breathing - characterized by long, deep breaths.

Hyperventilation can also occur when someone exercises over his/her VO2 max, when he/she can't transform oxygen into energy beyond a certain level but hyperventilates in an effort to do so.

Hyperventilation is not the same as hyperpnea. In hyperpnea, increased ventilation is appropriate for a metabolic acidotic state, this is also known as respiratory compensation. Whereas in hyperventilation, increased ventilation is inappropriate for the metabolic state of blood plasma.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Mechanism

In normal breathing, both the depth and frequency of breaths are varied by the neural (or, nervous) system, primarily in order to maintain normal amounts of carbon dioxide but also to supply appropriate levels of oxygen to the body's tissues. This is mainly achieved by measuring the carbon dioxide content of the blood; normally, a high carbon dioxide concentration signals a low oxygen concentration, as we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide at the same time, and the body's cells use oxygen to burn fuel molecules, making carbon dioxide as a by-product.

If carbon dioxide levels are high, the body assumes that oxygen levels are low, and accordingly, the brain's blood vessels dilate to assure sufficient blood flow and supply of oxygen. Conversely, low carbon dioxide levels cause the brain's blood vessels to constrict, resulting in reduced blood flow to the brain and lightheadedness.

The gases in the alveoli of the lungs are nearly in equilibrium with the gases in the blood. Normally, less than 10% of the gas in the alveoli is replaced with each breath taken. Deeper or quicker breaths as in hyperventilation exchange more of the alveolar gas with ambient air and have the net effect of expelling more carbon dioxide from the body, since the carbon dioxide concentration in normal air is very low.

The resulting low concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood is known as hypocapnia. Since carbon dioxide is carried as carbonic acid in the blood, hypocapnia results in the blood becoming alkaline, i.e. the blood pH value rises. This is known as a respiratory alkalosis.

This alkalinization of the blood causes vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction); it is theorized that myofibrillar calcium sensitivity is increased in the presence of high pH value.

The high pH value resulting from hyperventilation also reduces the level of available calcium (hypocalcemia), which affects the nerves and muscles, causing constriction of blood vessels and tingling. This occurs because alkalinization of the plasma proteins (mainly albumin) increases their calcium binding affinity, thereby reducing free ionized calcium levels in the blood.

Therefore, there are two main mechanisms that contribute to the cerebral vasoconstriction that is responsible for the lightheadedness, parasthesia, and fainting often seen with hyperventilation. One mechanism is that low carbon dioxide (hypocapnia) causes increased blood pH level (respiratory alkalosis), which causes blood vessels to constrict. The other mechanism is that the alkalosis causes decreased freely ionized blood calcium, thereby causing cell membrane instability and subsequent vasoconstriction and parasthesia.

Hyperventilation can be useful in the management of head trauma. After head injuries fluids can leak into the cranial vault, thus elevating intracranial pressure. Since the total cranial volume is relatively fixed, and the brain is much more compressible than the skull, in settings of increased intracranial pressure, the brain is preferentially compressed and damaged. Hyperventilation, and the resultant cerebral vasoconstriction, is useful in this situation, since it decreases the volume of blood in the brain. Less blood volume in the cranial cavity results in less pressure compressing the brain. However, this vasoconstriction comes at the cost of reducing blood flow the brain, which can potentially result in ischemic damage.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Symptoms and signs: respiratory system

          ¤ Epistaxis ¤ Hemoptysis

Abnormalities of breathing
          ¤ Respiratory sounds: Stridor ¤ Wheeze ¤ Crackles ¤ Rhonchi ¤ Hamman's sign ¤ Dyspnea ¤ Hyperventilation/Hypoventilation ¤ Hyperpnea/Tachypnea/Bradypnea ¤ Orthopnea/Platypnea ¤ Biot's respiration ¤ Cheyne-Stokes respiration ¤ Kussmaul breathing ¤ Hiccup ¤ Mouth breathing/Snoring ¤ Breath-holding

          ¤ Asphyxia ¤ Cough ¤ Pleurisy ¤ Sputum
          ¤ Respiratory arrest ¤ Hypercapnia/Hypocapnia
          ¤ Pectoriloquy: Whispered pectoriloquy ¤ Egophony ¤ Bronchophony
          ¤ Pleural friction rub
          ¤ Fremitus
          ¤ Silhouette sign

Chest, general
          ¤ Chest pain (Precordial catch syndrome)  

RnbwGldBarBullet  Lungs and breathing activity

          ¤ Bradypnea - decreased breathing rate
          ¤ Dyspnea or shortness of breath - sensation of respiratory distress
          ¤ Eupnea - normal breathing
          ¤ Hyperaeration/Hyperinflation - increased lung volume
          ¤ Hyperpnea - faster and/or deeper breathing
          ¤ Hyperventilation - increased breathing that causes CO2 loss
          ¤ Labored breathing - physical presentation of respiratory distress
          ¤ Tachypnea - increased breathing rate


RnbwGldBarBullet  Treatment
(excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_Hyperventilation_Syndrome)

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2008)

         The first step that should be taken is to treat the underlying cause of the hyperventilation. The patient should be encouraged to control his/her breathing. If this cannot be achieved, supplemental oxygen may be given to reduce tissue hypoxia. For possible behavior therapy see Treatment in Hyperventilation syndrome. Drug management is sometimes necessary. Parenteral drugs may have to be administered to reduce the patient's anxiety and to slow the rate of breathing. Diazepam or midazolam are sometimes used.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Hyperventilation References
(via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_Hyperventilation_Syndrome)

See also:
          ¤ Hyperventilation syndrome
          ¤ Hypoventilation, too shallow or too slow breathing
          ¤ Control of respiration
          ¤ Respiratory alkalosis
          ¤ Shallow water blackout, the role of hyperventilation in some drowning incidents
          ¤ Hyperpnea
          ¤ Tachypnea
          ¤ Hyperventilation Syndrome Discussion Forum



excerpted from Wikipedia

Although variations exist among teachers of the technique in different countries, the three core principles of Buteyko remain the same: Reduced breathing, nasal breathing and relaxation.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Reduced Breathing Exercises

The core Buteyko exercises involve breath control; consciously reducing either breathing rate or breathing volume. Many teachers refer to Buteyko as 'breathing retraining' and compare the method to learning to ride a bicycle. Once time has been spent practicing, the techniques become instinctive and the exercises are gradually phased out as the condition improves. A common theme in Buteyko exercise is to hold one's breath until it is uncomfortable - producing a feeling of air hunger. This feeling mimiks the feeling of breathlessness that asthmatics typically experience during an asthma attack.

Rather than using traditional peak flow measurements to monitor the condition of asthmatics, Buteyko uses an exercise called the Control Pause (CP), defined as the amount of time that an individual can comfortably hold breath after a normal exhalation. With regular Buteyko reduced-breathing practice, asthmatics tend to find that their CP gradually increases and in parallel their asthma symptoms decrease.


RnbwGldBarBullet  Nasal breathing

The Buteyko method emphasizes the importance of nasal breathing, which protects the airways by humidifying, warming, and cleaning the air entering the lungs. In addition, breathing through the nose helps the body to maintain higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and nitric oxide in the lungs. [5][6][references at Wikipedia article]

A majority of asthmatics have problems sleeping at night, and this is thought to be linked with poor posture or unconscious mouth-breathing. By keeping the nose clear and encouraging nasal breathing during the day, night-time symptoms can also improve. Other methods of encouraging nasal breathing are full-face CPAP machines - commonly used to treat sleep apnea - or using a jaw-strap or paper-tape to keep the mouth closed during the night. However, a study in 2009 showed that nasal breathing alone was not enough to cause an improvement in asthma symptoms. [7][references at Wikipedia article]

Strictly nasal breathing during physical exercise is another key element of the Buteyko method. A study in 2008 found that it made exercise safer for asthmatics.[8] While breathing through the nose-only, asthmatics could attain a work intensity great enough to produce an aerobic training effect. [9][references at Wikipedia article]


RnbwGldBarBullet  "How to use Buteyko Breathing to deal with stress-related symptoms"

from "Buteyko Breathing" at Pegasus NLP Mind-Body Health Site

If you would like to experiment with using Buteyko Breathing to calm yourself

1. Find a comfortable place to sit quietly and relax for a few minutes. It may help if you use a couple of Sigh Breaths followed by Easy Breathing (These are not Buteyko methods but are merely to help you prepare for Buteyko Breathing if you are particularly stressed.)

2. Pay attention to your breathing. If you are in a stressed state it will likely to erratic, deep and slightly gasping, or you may be doing some intermittent breath-holding.

3. Now begin to gradually allow your breathing to become slower and slower. And more shallow. Initially this may be difficult to do for more than some seconds - aim to train yourself over a few weeks to tolerate very shallow breathing for a few minutes at a time. What you are doing, in the Buteyko Method, is developing an ability to tolerate slight 'breath hunger'. It must be introduced very, very gradually. For example, if you find yourself gasping or gulping or beginning to breathe even a little more deeply during your practise then you are over-doing it. (See our Caution! article, too: http://www.pe2000.com/caution!.htm)



RnbwGldBarBullet     REFERENCES

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     "Buteyko Breathing" at Pegasus NLP Mind-Body Health Site, topic headers: "Why consider it?", "More information on Buteyko Breath Control", "How to use Buteyko Breathing to deal with stress-related symptoms", "The Breathing pages" includes links to: The Sigh Breath: A quick anti-anxiety tool; Easy Breathing: Use this tool to relax and let go; Breathing tips: To get the most from using your breathing methods; Diaphragmatic Breathing: The healthiest way to breathe; Buteyko Breathing: Reportedly good for overall balancing of oxygen/carbon dioxide; includes link to "Caution Article"

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     "Scientific Research" at *The Buteyko Institute of Breathing & Health (BIBH) "recognises the need for evidence-based research, to complement the increasing anecdotal evidence of health improvements following application of the Buteyko Institute Method."

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     "Buteyko Breathing Technique – Nothing To Hyperventilate About" Published by Joseph Albietz under Science and Medicine [summarized above]

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     "Panic and Anxiety" at *The Buteyko Institute of Breathing & Health (BIBH)*
"Hyperventilation (over breathing) and anxiety form a 'vicious circle', one leading to the other. The process may be 'pushed' or initiated from either end. In one person they will experience anxiety which then leads to hyperventilation, another person will hyperventilate leading to feelings of rising anxiety and/or panic. The Buteyko Institute Method program teaches people how to alter their breathing, which may reduce acute anxiety producing hyperventilation, thereby reducing the resultant anxiety and panic. It also teaches participants how to retrain their breathing back to a more normal level with the result that they may no longer have to live constantly with anxiety or in the 'Fight or Flight' state."

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     The Buteyko Method at Wikipedia, including "reduced breathing exercises"

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     Hyperventilation Syndrome at Wikipedia including topics: "Symptoms and signs: "Respiratory System", "Causes", "Mechanism", "Treatment", "'7-11' BREATHING", "Paper Bag Breathing (not advisable)", "References"


RnbwGldBarBullet   Some References for Pranayama & Yogi Systems

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     via the Reading Page at the web site of Parashakty, Jothi Radiant Light of Grace, find articles "What is Prana ?", "Union of individual prana with cosmic prana", "Kundalini"

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     Jon Kabat-Zinn & PAIN CONTROL
For a non-medicated approach to PAIN CONTROL you may want to see Jon Kabat-Zinn's article at Be Mindful .Org. NOTE: To paraphrase Jon Kabat-Zinn (in reference to his perspective): control of pain is not purpose for the approach he teaches, but it can be one benefit. Zinn is the author of the book, *Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness*. Some other references for him include Wikipedia on Jon_Kabat-Zinn or EOmega .Org and his voluminous resources via University of Massachusetts Medical School

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     "Tensing Yoga" and other Self-Applications (and Breathing)
          For Self-Healing, Body-Mind Awareness, & Preventative Maintenance (rev. 7/02, ..7'13).
Technique is explained for context and self-application. TY is about specific applications for chronic muscle pain, related injuries, without need to learn asanas (poses). However, TY may be used to get into positions quicker, easier, and without injury. All of which is critically related to healing or preventing injury. TY could be considered an optimized form of self-applied, neuro-muscular re-education, reinforced with a body-mind connectivity that insures a more comprehensive and long-term response (High Preventative Maintenance Gains). Page sections include those with emphasis on Tension Range, *Work/Rest Ratio*, Muscle Energy Efficiency, individual muscle focus, teamwork/ "edgework", and learn that as we interface with our cells in the way that TY leads us to do, we can directly, and naturally engage that capacity for neuroplasticity - for re-organization of the brain and other neural networks (including proprioceptors in muscles) especially when we include all elements of the approach, including focus, attitude, and rapport with the cells [as covered on the page]. Also on the page: "Low-Intensity Low-Back Exercises" Chart and "Before Rising..." instructions, a fun "Exercise for Illustrating Tension Range...", as well as about focus on breathing, including a "Breathing Ratio Chart" - method & application. Subtopics including the extremely common myths about *Muscle Stretching*, a number of yoga ref-links for specific ailments/conditions as well as for selecting the right form of yoga for you, about Inversion /Traction, and about a "Muscle Madness" game!? "Origins of Tensing Yoga & Related Ref's from More *Traditional Yoga*" include my own self-healing story.


RnbwGldBarBullet   via Google using keywords, " 'Breathing Methods' yoga":

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     Yoga Breathing Methods at Yoga Fitness Today | Yoga For Meditation | Yoga Breathing Techniques. "...The practice of yoga leads a person to a state of eternal bliss. Through different asanas and proper breathing methods, yoga sadhana enables a person to ..."

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     Yoga Breathing Methods at *LIVESTRONG.COM* Apr 12, 2010 "...Yoga Breathing Methods. In Sanskrit, prana means vital energy carried to life through breath. Part of yoga is practicing pranayama ..."

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     Yoga Breathing Methods at Ezine Articles .Com, Oct 30, 2007 "... In a world of corporate stress, traffic jams, bill collectors, and unending debt, it comes as no surprise that a large number of deaths are ..."


RnbwGldBarBullet   Some Other Basic Breathing System Google Searches to try:

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     breathing exercises yoga

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     nostril breathing yoga

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     hatha yoga breathing

3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     abdominal breathing yoga

RnbwGldBarBullet   3DCh&Dblstar-Bullet     More Keywords: Enjoy using any combination of these terms in your web searching: Chi Gung, Chi or Ki, Pranayama, Prana, Yoga

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