WORLD’S LEADING AUTHORITY ON THE BUTEYKO BREATHING METHOD
Founded in 2002 by Buteyko instructor and author, Patrick McKeown
WHAT IS THE BUTEYKO METHOD?
Named after Dr Konstantin Buteyko, the Buteyko Method consists of a series of breathing exercises and guidelines specifically designed to reduce over-breathing (clinically known as ‘chronic hyperventilation’). The simple fact is that many people breathe too much, which alters the natural levels of gases in the blood, reduces oxygen delivery to tissues and organs, and causes constriction of the smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels and airways. This can lead to numerous health problems. Bringing breathing volume towards normal and making the switch from mouth to nose breathing helps to alleviate such health problems.
Patrick McKeown is founder and Director of Training and Education at Buteyko Clinic International. Throughout his childhood and into his twenties, he suffered with severe asthma, breathing problems, poor concentration and disturbed sleep. His asthma left him hospitalized and on ever-increasing medication. Even an operation to relieve his nasal obstruction did not stop his breathing symptoms, sleep-disordered breathing and constant feelings of exhaustion.
Who Is Patrick McKeown?
In 1998, Patrick happened upon an article in an Irish newspaper which described the Buteyko breathing method. He tried one of the Buteyko breathing exercises – a simple technique to unblock the nose by holding the breath. He was surprised by how well it worked. After a lifetime of breathing problems, this simple experience of the Buteyko breathing method was so profound that Patrick McKeown made the switch to full time nasal breathing and began to slow down and normalize his breathing volume. The immediate improvements he experienced in his health launched him on a deep dive into study of the breath and of respiratory physiology, which saw him travel to Russia to train with Dr. Buteyko and become a certified teacher of the Buteyko breathing method.
Buteyko Clinic International is the result of Patrick McKeown’s commitment to share this work with as many people as possible. Since first experiencing the power of the Buteyko breathing technique – which he often says has changed his life for the better in unimaginable ways – he works tirelessly to introduce the practice to adults and children with chronic health conditions. His long-term goal is to educate professionals including yoga teachers, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and dentists, especially pediatric dentists, about the Buteyko breathing method so they can better help their clients.
Breathwork is currently riding a wave. Since 2002, when only a few people were working with the breath and breathing exercises were the domain of elite athletes, committed yogis and other high-level professionals, awareness of breathing has changed and become more mainstream. Now, breathing and sleep are hot topics in health and wellbeing. Both can be transformed using simple Buteyko breathing exercises like the one Patrick found in a newspaper more than twenty years ago.
What Are Breathing Exercises?
Patrick McKeown explains the physiology behind the Buteyko breathing exercises:
“Dr. Buteyko saw that sick people breathe hard. He asked, is the sickness causing the hard breathing, or the hard breathing causing the sickness? People are often told to take deep, full, big breaths in the belief that this will increase oxygen delivery to the tissues. If we look at the science, it doesn’t work that way. If you take big breaths that increase the volume of air beyond what it should be, you get rid of too much carbon dioxide. Due to the Bohr Effect (first described by the Danish biochemist Christian Bohr in 1904) this causes red blood cells to actually hold on to oxygen instead of releasing it. By practicing the Buteyko breathing technique and developing subtle, soft, slow, light breathing while also maintaining diaphragmatic, nasal breathing, you’re increasing oxygen delivery to the cells. This is where it’s going to transform health.”
Re-educate your breathing to support lifelong health and well-being!
Buteyko Clinic International provides the following services:
Zoom Clinics with Patrick
Self Instructional DVDs and online courses
Instructor Trainings Worldwide
Online Certification for Instructors
Buteyko Professionals International
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BUTEYKO HELP WITH?
Asthma, Rhinitis/ hay fever, COPD
High Blood Pressure
Hypotension, Hypertension Slow breathing, coherent breathing, improved sleep quality
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Panic Attacks &
Reduce Stress, Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Buteyko Can Help
Improve your child’s asthma, breathing and health
More on how Buteyko can help
- How can Buteyko help with quality of sleep?
- How can Buteyko help with asthma?
- How can Buteyko stop your cough?
- How might the Buteyko Method help with exhaustion?
- Buteyko Method to help with Hay fever
It is widely recognized that breathing through the mouth during sleep reduces quality of sleep as the sleeper wakes up tired, with a dry mouth and often a stuffy nose.
Numerous studies report that individuals who breathe through their mouth during sleep experience lighter sleep and have an increased risk of insomnia, snoring and sleep apnea.
There are nineteen published clinical studies investigating the Buteyko Method as an adjunct treatment for asthma in the Western world. All studies report positive results including significantly reduced symptoms of coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness, along with improvements to asthma control and reductions in the need for asthma medication. One study reports that the Buteyko breathing technique can effectively reduce total serum IgE which is an inflammatory marker of inflammation.
It is evident that children and adults with asthma experience symptoms of air hunger, or the feeling that they cannot take a satisfying breath. A natural response to alleviate this feeling is to breathe more air into the lungs, which is often taken through the mouth. It is also common for children and adults with asthma to experience nasal congestion as inflammation from the lungs can travel to the nose.
With increased nasal stuffiness (rhinitis) nose breathing is replaced by mouth breathing. Herein lies part of the problem, as the inhalation of unconditioned cold dry air into the lungs causes inflammation of the lungs. A vicious circle ensues as asthma causes one to breathe harder which in turn contributes to asthma. To improve asthma control, it is necessary to improve breathing patterns by learning to breathe through the nose and normalize breathing volume.
Breathing more air into your lungs, whether it is through the nose or mouth will cause the airways to become irritated and depending on genetic predisposition may result in coughing. Clients attending Patrick McKeown’s clinics should expect a 50% reduction to their coughing within two weeks. If you cough, it would be helpful for you to measure your control pause. You will continue to cough until your morning control pause is at least twenty-five seconds.
Researchers in Sweden have noted that chronic stress is one of the most common diagnoses and that it often presents as exhaustion. Using the Nijmegen Symptom Questionnaire, it was discovered that the majority of patients studied with exhaustion syndrome also had disturbed breathing patterns in the form of chronic hyperventilation. Furthermore, teaching patients with exhaustion syndrome to address their hyperventilation led to significant reductions in exhaustion, as well as scores of depression and anxiety. (Scand J Caring Sci; 2014; 28; 657–664)
During hay fever season, the child or adult inhales pollen into their body. The immune system mistakenly identifies harmless pollen as a threat, and so launches an attack to fight. This results in symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and throat. Breathing a normal volume of air through the nose helps to ensure that the body has adequate levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Carbon dioxide has been studied for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) to good effect (Journal Allergy Clinical Immunology Practice 2017). It is important that children and adults who suffer from hay fever learn how to decongest their nose, switch to nose breathing and normalize their breathing volume.
Dr. Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko
The Buteyko Method, (pronounced Boo-tay-ko) was developed by Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Buteyko. While studying medicine at the First Moscow Institute of Medicine. Dr. Buteyko observed a relationship between breathing and a person’s state of health. As a person’s health deteriorated, their breathing became faster, more upper chest and was often through the mouth. Buteyko wondered whether it was the increased sickness that changed breathing patterns or whether it was the change to breathing patterns that contributed to sickness. With the theory available at the time, he studied the role of carbon dioxide in the human body.
The Bohr Effect which was discovered in 1904. Stated that the pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood influenced the release of oxygen from the blood to the cells. Based on this, Dr. Buteyko began teaching his patients. To breathe through their nose and to deliberately slow down their breathing to create a feeling of air hunger. With many of his patients experiencing improvements to their health. The ‘voluntary elimination of deep breathing method’ was born. When his work arrived to the West, the name was changed to the Buteyko Method. In the early 1980s, Buteyko breathing received approval of its widespread use in Russia from the State Medical System. Konstantin Buteyko passed away on the 2nd May, 2003 aged 80 years.
The Buteyko Method in the West
More on learning Buteyko Breathing Method
How to learn the Buteyko Method
There are a number of ways to learn the Buteyko Method. Patrick McKeown has written popular self-help Buteyko books and DVDs for a number of complaints including stress, anxiety, panic attacks, asthma, snoring, sleep apnea and childhood mouth breathing. Patrick also provides live online clinics which can be accessed from anywhere in the world where you can learn firsthand from one of the world’s leading Buteyko instructors.
What are the Buteyko exercises?
At Buteyko Clinic International we teach breathing exercises through the following format:
- Control pause measurement- (provides feedback of relative breathing volume)
- Nose unblocking exercise by holding the breath until strong air hunger is experienced
- Three approaches to Buteyko breathing exercises- a deliberate reduction of the volume of breathing by relaxation of the breathing muscles until a light feeling of air hunger is experienced.
- Applying Buteyko during your walk and physical exercise
- Walking with breath holds to create air hunger from easy to strong
- Steps exercise
- Light steps for persons with panic attacks, anxiety, and asthma symptoms
- Medium intensity steps tailored to the child, teenager or adult
- Strong intensity steps tailored to the child, teenager or adult
- Many small breath hold exercise to help stop asthma or panic attack symptoms
- Advice on breathing during sleep, physical exercise, diet and more
The Buteyko Method is a lifestyle choice. It involves re-educating your breathing pattern to improve blood circulation, oxygen delivery, and airway functioning.
Why Learn with Buteyko Clinic International?
Founded by Patrick McKeown in 2002, the mission of BCI is to disseminate the work of Dr. Buteyko in a thorough, understandable and accessible fashion throughout the Western world. Through our books, DVD sets and online courses, adult and children’s courses, live online clinics and trained instructors worldwide, we have reached out to hundreds of thousands of children and adults teaching them to breathe better for optimal health. BCI certified instructors now practice in over 40 countries worldwide, making us one of the largest Buteyko training organizations in the world.
How does Buteyko differ from other breathing techniques?
Breathing techniques as taught by some yoga and Pilates teachers as well as stress counselors encourage the student to take more air into their lungs. The instruction is to ‘take a deep breath’, and this is demonstrated by inhaling a large volume of air into the body. If one were to take ten of these big breaths, a feeling of light-headedness or dizziness may be experienced. This is not due to an increase of oxygen delivery to the brain. In fact, it is because of the opposite.
When one breathes more air than what is required, blood vessels constrict and less oxygen is delivered. Ironically, to open up your blood vessels which amount to approximately 100,000 miles in the human body, it is necessary to soften your breath, to slow it down so that you take less air into your lungs for a period of time. In short, this is the complete opposite to the common instruction of taking a deep breath.
With Buteyko breathing, the aim is to restore nasal breathing and normal functional breathing patterns. While practicing the Buteyko breathing exercises, the aim is to take less air into the body so that a feeling of air hunger is created. As the gas carbon dioxide is the primary stimulus to breathe, the feeling of air hunger signifies that carbon dioxide has increased in the blood. With the increase to carbon dioxide in the blood, circulation improves and the red blood cells release oxygen more readily to the tissues and organs.
Fundamentally, Buteyko breathing is about:
- Relieving stuffiness of the nose so that you can breathe through it easier
- Opening the airways in the lungs so that you stop coughing and wheezing
- Improving blood circulation for better oxygen transportation throughout the body
- Improving delivery of oxygen to the tissues
- Achieving better sleep and an increased state of calm
Nose breathing vs mouth breathing
Why breathe through your nose?
The normal mode of breathing for human beings is in and out through the nose. A gas called nitric oxide is produced both inside the nasal cavity and the paranasal sinuses. As each breath is drawn through the nose, nitric oxide is carried into the lungs. There it performs a number of very important roles including the sterilization of incoming air; the opening of the airways; and improved gas exchange from the lungs to the blood known as ‘ventilation-perfusion’.
Also, in order to activate the diaphragm, it is necessary to breathe only through the nose. Mouth breathing causes greater activation of the accessory muscles including the scalene and sternocleidomastoid. Mouth breathing is an inefficient way to breathe and reduces oxygen uptake in the blood, activates the stress response due to faster breathing, disturbs sleep and reduces oxygen delivery to the cells.
How mouth breathing affects children
Approximately 50% of studied children persistently breathe through their mouth. A myriad of evidence exists which shows that children who habitually mouth breathe experience reduced quality of life, reduced quality of sleep, increased risk of learning and speech difficulties, as well as the poor growth of jaws and face. A growing child should have their lips together with their tongue resting in the roof of the mouth. With the tongue in the correct resting posture, the jaws develop into a wide u shape helping to ensure a wider facial structure, straight teeth, and good airways. If the child is breathing through his or her mouth, the tongue rests midway or on the floor of the mouth resulting in reduced development of the face, airways and sometimes results in crooked teeth.
Stress, anxiety and panic attacks
Chronic hyperventilation is often a contributory factor with panic attacks, agoraphobia, and anxiety. Irregular breathing, breathing through the mouth and breathing too much air contributes to the agitation of the mind as well as reduced oxygen delivery to the brain. Traditionally, persons having a panic attack were instructed to breathe in and out of a brown paper bag. The purpose of this, while not entirely safe was to help normalize carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It is efficacious for persons prone to panic attack and anxiety to learn how to reverse hyperventilation.
The exercises from the Buteyko breathing technique are specifically developed to reverse chronic hyperventilation syndrome. Furthermore, the exercises can be tailored to help persons who have difficulty focusing on their breathing or have a strong fear of a feeling of suffocation – symptoms that are readily observed in panic disorders.
BECOME A CERTIFIED Instructor
Train as a Buteyko instructor with Buteyko Clinic International, and provide your clients with a simple and scientific technique to take control of their health. No career prerequisites, no annual license fee, just a commitment to support your personal and professional growth at every point of your Buteyko career.
What People Say
Mary B. Geidel
Mr. Mckeown, I started this technique about 2 months ago. I got your book “Anxiety Free” and it has really really helped me . I am stronger, less anxious,more at ease, I sleep better. Thank you for all of this. I look forward to my excersises every morning. I started with a control pause of 8 to ten and now I am up to between 17 and 20. I am a former smoker, 54 years old. I want to share this wonderful method with all my friends. Thank you again. This is life changing.
I read Patrick’s book in 2010 after being hospitalised with asthma for 4 days. It was an amazing discovery for me as within six months I was able to stop using all my medications. Most of the time I have my asthma completely under control and last Saturday I climbed Snowdon! Thanks again for helping me change my life!
Patrick Holford, Author & Nutritionist
Thousands of people have found that breathing training has helped them to control, and even overcome their asthma. If you want to teach yourself this valuable technique I thoroughly recommend you read Asthma Free Naturally by Patrick McKeown
Brenda McKinnon Lamont
I Skyped with Patrick many times and he watched me breathe and helped me to follow his recommendations in his books. I did his exercises every day for 6 months. My difficulty to breath problems are gone and no allergies this season. A pure miracle!
This book and CD is really helpful for people suffering with breathing problems. Very easy to follow and understand useful tips for people with COPD
Professor John Fenton, ENT Consultant, Limerick Regional Hospital
In our association during the past 3-4 years on a purely anecdotal basis, I can say that the vast majority of all of my patients have received great benefit from their nasal symptoms following instruction at Patrick McKeown’s workshops
Colin, Amazon Customer Review for Close Your Mouth: Self Help Buteyko Manual
Close Your Mouth is a great book for me because it taught me a way to breathe that was different than anything I had been taught or had practiced before. The reduced breathing techniques gave me a sense of relaxation and ease that was great. It actually felt like I was breathing correctly for the first time in a long time. Like breathing actually filled me up with oxygen to optimum levels. The tape on the mouth at night was great. After a day of using the practices I put the tape on at night and the next morning woke up and popped out of bed full of energy and feeling totally refreshed. It was amazing really. I don’t recommend putting the tape on without doing the exercises during the day first, because your body won’t know what it is doing and it will just be really uncomfortable.
Julian Barry -Working with Financial and Business Leaders delivering Pan-European business transformation and integration projects. UK
Patrick has delivered exceptional results for me on a personal basis, through a high level of diligence, knowledge and patience. I thoroughly recommend Patrick and his Buteyko programmes for anyone wishing to improve their sports performance or asthma without prescription medicine.
Eileen Bennett – Founder and CEO at Horses Connect http://www.horsesconnect.com/
Patrick McKeown is a consummate professional. He is passionate about helping people learn to overcome asthma and is living proof that the Buteyko method works
I have been engaged in exercise since high school. I started playing racquetball at age 25 and played into my mid-fifties. I have always enjoyed jogging and have participated in 10k’s, 5k,s and some half-marathons throughout my life. Five years ago while running at a challenging pace, my breathing totally slowed down and I could not catch my breath. After resting for a month and starting back up, the same result.For the next four years I looked for the answer. I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma. Every time I would start back up jogging, my airways would tighten and it would last up to a month. I tried everything, e.g. maintenance inhalant, rescue inhalant, a breathing nebulizer, Himalayan rock salt inhaler. Nothing worked for over four years.Finally I came upon a book describing The Buteyko method discovered by Professor Konstantin Buteyko. Professor Buteyko suggests that we are overbreathing through our mouths and that we have to retrain on how to slow down our breathing through our noses. I read the book and understand the theory but because it takes some discipline I went to the Buteyko Web Site and found a Practitioner in the Cincinnati area. His name is Greg Rittenhouse. There was a fee for the initial visit but Greg is so dedicated and sincere in wanting to see a positive outcome that he has been available continuously to answer any questions that I may have. It has been six months and my Controlled Pause has increased demonstrably and my jogging has returned in grand style. Miracles do happen.
Patrick is my hero! He is helping millions to live normally.
Mark Cucuzzella MD FAAFP, Professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine
“The Oxygen Advantage truly changed how I treat patients, and how I work with athletes who are having issues with their breathing. It has also been a powerful influence on my own life and health.
Patrick’s new, greatly expanded book will allow me to apply his clinical experience and science better in the world of chronic disease, which I deal with every day. I am grateful for this encyclopedic work, which is loaded with very simple and practical techniques that anyone can learn to improve their health and performance.”
Australia’s leading naturopath and breathing coach calls The Breathing Cure: “THE definitive book on breathing.”
I didn’t realise the detrimental effect of breathing through the mouth during rest and the importance of nasal breathing. Implementing the exercises resulted in improved health and in turn better sports performance.
Jen Li Sheng
This is one of the best courses I have attended, and offered so much more beyond the book in terms of information and practical application. Patrick breaks down the physiology of breathing, and how it affects performance, health, and physical well being.
Professor John Fenton
I can say that the vast majority of all of my patients have received great benefit with their nasal symptoms following instruction at the workshops.
The Oxygen Advantage has helped my Olympians become more aware of their breathing. We practice nasal breathing during foam rolling, warm ups, cool downs and during certain prescribed exercise.
Before, I missed football, parties and swimming. Now I am able to do everything I couldn’t do.
Your approach made a significant difference to my breathing during sports performance and throughout my daily life. It is simple, makes sense and should be taught to all.
Hi Patrick, I did the Buteyko course with you in Kilkenny and Dublin at least 10 years ago and want to let you know how it changed everything! No more bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, colds. Brilliant! I took a look at the Feldenkrais summit. ..I’ve been using both Feldenkrais, Alexander technique and Buteyko in all my vocal and saxophone teaching for a while now.
Anyway just want to let you know how well it went for me and how grateful I am.
Best wishes, Carole Nelson www.carolenelsonmusic.com
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