What is the Buteyko Breathing Method?
The Buteyko Method is a set of breathing exercises to develop healthy breathing patterns and to maintain the correct oxygen:carbon dioxide ratio in the bloodstream. Buteyko comes from the last name of the creator of this method, Prof. Konstantin Buteyko.
When we breathe through our nose, air passes over the mucous membranes and into the sinuses. Nitric oxide, produced in the sinuses, acts as a potent germicide and it also helps the body’s smooth muscle that is found in the heart and blood vessels to function. Mouth-breathers may not be getting all the oxygen they need, which can lead to fatigue and, in some situations can cause stress to the heart and lungs, as well as raised blood pressure.
How does it help people with asthma?
This method is used by many people who have of asthma. Many people automatically tend to over-breathe when they start to experience asthma symptoms. They may start to hyperventilate while breathing through their mouth, which leads to more breathlessness. It also dries out the mucous membranes of the lungs, which irritates them even more, leading to coughing and inflammation.
Many asthmatics, and others that have respiratory disorders have experienced great improvement in their conditions using this kind of method. People who use the technique will often give positive feedback like having a better sense of well-being and an overall improved quality of life.
Some tips on how to perform Buteyko Breathing Method
It teaches you how to breathe properly through the nose (not the mouth) and with the diaphragm to improve nitric oxide and carbon dioxide levels in the body.
- When you start doing these exercises, check your pulse control pause time. The control pause time is the length of time you can hold your breath.
- When you first start practicing this technique, allow your feet to rest well by sitting in a straight-backed chair. Make sure that your head, shoulders and hips are aligned, just sit in the tall chair.
- Feel the air moving in and out of your nostrils by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing.
- Relax your shoulders and any tension may be holding in your body, including your hands and face.
- Place an index finger under your nose in order to check the volume of air flowing through your nostrils
- Just take a normal breathe in through your nose and release through your nose. Don’t over accentuate your breathing, just doing it normally.
- Once you complete 10 cycles (or what number you feel comfortable with), after the last breath out through the nose pinch your nose. Record the time you can hold the breath comfortably (as mentioned this is called your pulse control time or control pause). After the control pause, start breathing normally without any big inhales.
- Take a few minutes before starting again, you will slowly see improvements in the length of time you can hold your breath.
When Buteyko breathing is done properly, it encourages the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in a reduction of blood pressure, a reduction of stress and the strengthening of the immune system.