Buteyko breathing is sometimes referred to as Eucapnic breathing. Eucapnia is defined as a normal, healthy carbon dioxide level in the blood.

The Buteyko Breathing Method - BBM - is a system of breathing awareness and remediation which helps people achieve good health through optimal breathing by using breath control, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and postural awareness.


Professor Buteyko observed in 1952 that a majority of people actually over-breathe. Since most people are unaware of this he called it “hidden hyperventilation”, and he discovered that most physiological (and many psychological) problems occur by breathing too much.


A long term effect of chronic (hidden) hyperventilation syndrome - CHVS -is excess elimination of carbon dioxide - CO2 - either through rapid, irregular, upper chest or mouth breathing. This leads to chronic low levels of CO2 in the body and decreased CO2 pressure in the circulatory system; when CO2 levels are low, more oxygen - O2 -is retained by hemoglobin in the red blood cells and less O2 is released into the body. This was first discovered by Danish scientist Christian Bohr in 1904, and is known as the Bohr effect.


Loss of CO2 from overbreathing leads to loss of bicarbonate stores and carbonic acid, which are primarily made from CO2. These, along with other minerals, are important buffers which assist the body to maintain a healthy pH balance. The result of short-term overbreathing is respiratory alkalosis and in the long-term metabolic acidosis. These reactions increase allergic symptoms and cause further hyperventilation. This further weakens the immune system so that colds and flus are more prevalent and have a stronger impact on the body.




The BBM focuses on increasing quality of breathing and decreasing quantity. A popular belief in this fast paced 21st century world is that “more is better”, when in fact the opposite is true. Chronic illness has become a huge burden on our lives and world economy, and it is estimated that over 300 symptoms of “dis-ease” are directly related to incorrect breathing. When breathing is corrected the entire metabolic balance is restored.


Breathing less creates temporary states of low oxygen - hypoxia - in the respiratory system, which then increases the release of CO2 into the circulatory system. Sustained hypoxia will result in hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide), which helps the body to access its natural means of reducing bronchospasm, vasospasm and inflammation throughout the body. In the long term this method can reduce these symptoms until they cease to occur.


According to Dr. Andrey Novozhilov (son of Dr. Buteyko) you can expect to reverse emphysema over about ten years, if you get your breathing right.  At the clinic in Russia, they consider emphysema very responsive to their therapy.


Excellent results can be achieved when the BBM is practiced regularly, correctly, and consistently. Optimal health is the end result.


The Buteyko Breathing Method

References


1. Fried R., The Hyperventilation Syndrome, Research and Clinical Treatment, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 1987.

2. Buteyko K.P., Buteyko Method; Experience of Application in Medical Practice. Patriot, Moscow, 1990.

3. Fried R, The Breath Connection, Plenum Press, New York and London, 1990.

4. Bradley D. Hyperventilation Syndrome, Tandem Press, New Zealand, 1992.

5. Haldane J. S., Respiration, Yale University Press, 1922.

6. Henderson Y., Physiological Regulation of the Acid-Base Balance of the blood and some Related Functions, Physical Review 5: 131 (April) 1925.

7. Huey and Secherest, 1981, quoted by Robert Fried, The Hyperventilation Syndrome, John Hopkins University Press, 1987.

8. Herxheimer, Hyperventilation Asthma, Lancet, 6386: 83-87 1946.

9. Mc Fadden et al, Arterial Blood Gas Tension in Asthma, New England Journal of Medicine, 278:19, 1027-1032 1968.

10. Sterling, The Mechanism of Bronchoconstriction due to Hypocapnia in Man, Clinical Science, 34: 277-285 1968.

11. van den Elshout, Effects of Hypercapnia and Hypocapnia on Respiratory Resistance in Normal and Asthmatic Subjects; Thorax, 46: 28-32 1991.

12. P.S. Clark, Asthma, hyperventilation and emotion, Australian Family Physician, 9, 715-719 1980.

13. L.C Lum, The syndrome of chronic habitual Hyperventilation In: Hill OW, ed. Modern Trends in Psychosomatic Medicine, 3, London , Butterworth, 196-230 1976.

14. Nixon PGF, Effort Syndrome, hyperventilation and reduction of anaerobic threshold. Biofeedback and Self Regulation 19: 155-69 1994.

15. Nixon PGF. Hyperventilation and chronic fatigue syndrome. QJ Med 88: 73-4 1995.

16. Timmons B. A Brief History of the Annual International Symposium on Respiratory Psychophysiology and Summary of the 1993 Workshop, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, Vol. 19, No.2, 1994.

17. Popov V., Hypoxia as Essential Healing Factor in Clinical Medicine in Russia, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, August/September; 87-91 1996.

18. Ivanov, S.D., Nunn, J.F., Influence of duration of hyperventilation on rise time of PCO2 after step reduction in ventilation. Resp. Physiol. 4, 243 1968.

19. Bowler S., Green A, Mitchell C, Buteyko Breathing Techniques in Asthma, a blinded randomised controlled trial; MJA, Vol. 169, p575-578 1998.

Buteyko basics from Peter Kolb’s website

Buteyko Guide for Doctors.pdf

Russian Children's Trial 1982

Buteyko breathing is modeled on the research and physiological findings of Ukrainian medical Dr. K.P.Buteyko who developed a system of breathing retraining in the late 1950s that has been used successfully in Russia and internationally (Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Asia, the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa) to treat thousands of individuals afflicted with chronic respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular, and immunological illnesses.