4 Dec

History of Buteyko

Konstantin Buteyko was born in 1923 in Russia into a peasant family. His family background deterred him in no way as he graduated with an honours degree in Medicine in1952. He was very interested in Respiratory Problems of a recurrent and chronic nature. Initially, his technique met with very little support but is now widely practised in Russia. This incredible therapy came to the West in 1990, spread quickly to Australia and New Zealand who have more asthmatics than anywhere else in the world. It is only in the last couple of years that it is used in Ireland, which has had an alarming rise in asthmatics in young and old.

The Problem

Carbon dioxide is one of the most important regulators of the human body. When levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the blood are lowered, the chemical bond between oxygen (O2) and haemoglobin (Hb) increase. If CO2 drops in the blood, it is more difficult to release O2 to the cells that need it. This leads to further breathlessness and a vicious cycle ensues. As breathing increases, CO2 is further reduced with each breath. CO2 is very important in helping the body to use to O2 properly. It is a natural bronchodilator.

Buteyko practitioners believe that over breathing is habitual in our society, especially in asthmatics. Many people, especially children breathe through their mouths, taking in more than they need. In Eastern systems breath control is encouraged – meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, etc, breathing through the nose is much healthier and natural. 
In Butekyo, it is believed that the spasm of the airway and the development of mucus and phlegm is the body's ability to trap CO2. Conventional medicine chooses broncho- dilators, which force open the airway, and the body responds with a stronger asthmatic attack.

The Solution

Simply, teach asthmatics to breathe in a shallower way...the lungs will then return to normal and the symptoms will disappear. Children respond very quickly, regardless of how severe. The principle is to 1.Breathe out through the nose then hold for as long as possible (aim for 40 - 60secs) then 2.Breathe in slowly through the nose as calmly as possible. With practise, interval of breath holding will lengthen. Inability to hold the breath for less than 30 secs. suggests over-breathing or hyperventilation. Under 10 secs. is very poor.This is a technique which 'practise makes perfect.' Practise every day for at least 10 mins. Severity, duration and frequency of attacks are lessened until the breathing problem subsides completely. Do not discontinue conventional medication without Dr's consent.

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