Now  is the  time  to  sound  a note  of  caution.  Before  the Buteyko Clinic Method is commenced this section should be read  carefully. While Buteyko Breathing  is a perfectly safe therapy,  it can  involve an  element  of risk for people  with particular illnesses or susceptibilities.

Please note the following in particular:

✦   If you experience an exacerbation of your symptoms, then you are not doing the exercises correctly and you should stop until you establish that you can do them correctly.

Do not commence breath  retraining  if you have any of the  following conditions:  sickle cell anaemia;  arterial aneurysm;  very high  uncontrolled blood  pressure;  any heart  problems  in  the  past three  months;  uncontrolled hyperthyroidism;    a   known   brain   tumour    or   kidney disease.

✦   If you suffer from any of the following, then  you should only undertake  breath retraining  under  the direct supervision of an experienced  qualified Buteyko Clinic instructor:   diabetes;   (a  reversal   of   hyperventilation  will reduce  blood  sugar  levels which may in turn  lead to a coma, exercises must be performed  only with an experienced Buteyko instructor  in conjunction  with an endocrinologist) severe asthma; emphysema; epilepsy; schizophrenia;   unsatisfactory   blood  pressure   levels  or chest pains or pain in the heart region.

✦   If you have any of the above conditions, or if you experience any distress, or are in any way unsure, please refrain from   doing   exercises   involving   holding   the   breath beyond  the  first  feeling  of a need  for air. Exercises involving holding the breath include nose unblocking, maximum   pause,  breath-hold  during   physical  exercise and Steps. If you are in any doubt  as to whether  breath retraining  may be suitable for you, please contact Asthma Care.

Roughly two thirds of those who apply breath retraining  will experience  a cleansing  reaction  within  the  first two weeks and  each time  the control  pause increases  by ten  seconds. Reduced  breathing   leads  to  an  increased  blood  flow  and better  oxygenation of all internal organs especially eliminatory organs. Cleansing reactions are indicative of the powerful physiological change which the body undergoes.

For people with asthma,  the most  common  reaction  is excess mucus from the nose and airways. For a few days and weeks, the  nose  may  be  runny,  especially during  physical activity with nasal breathing.  It is also possible to experience an increased  amount  of mucus  moving  up from the  lower airways. Mucus that was previously trapped  is released  by a dilation of the airways and is brushed upwards to the throat. If it is green  or yellow, spit it out. Most importantly,  do not force the  mucus  to the  throat.  If necessary a gentle  throat clearing   will  suffice.  Let the   mucus   come   up  naturally because forcing mucus up without addressing  hyperventilation will only lead to the creation of more mucus.

In addition,  you may experience  other  symptoms  such as a slight headache,  diarrhoea,  nausea,  excessive tiredness with increased yawning, mild depression, general flu like symptoms,  insomnia,  a bad  taste  from  the  mouth,  foamy saliva, coloured urine, a greatly reduced appetite or a general feeling  of being  unwell. People who have been  on a large course of steroids may be able to smell the tablets/medicine through their skin.

Do not  be alarmed  if you do experience  some  symptoms. This is simply your body readjusting  to a healthier way of life. Symptoms are, in general, not disruptive and will pass in  two or  three  days. Like any detoxifying  process  of the body, there  is a short  adjustment phase. Many people look forward to the reaction  because it is direct feedback as their body cleanses itself after all those years of bad breathing.


Do the following to help reduce the intensity and duration of cleansing reactions:

✦   Drink warm water regularly throughout the day.

✦   Continue with reduced breathing  by relaxation.

✦   Take pain relievers, such as a headache tablet, if necessary.


Most importantly, do not stop doing the exercises when you experience a cleansing  reaction. The symptoms  are a direct result  of  overbreathing  and  the  control  pause  (explained later) will increase when the cleansing reaction has passed.

On  a positive  note,  everyone  will experience  signs  of health  improvement  including:  fewer  asthma   symptoms; less  coughing,  wheezing  and  congestion  especially in  the mornings;   increased   calmness   and  concentration; better sleep and  more  energy, and  reduced  appetite  and  cravings for coffee, chocolate and other foodstuffs. The next few blog entries will deal with the exercises we use to combat asthma!

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