I came across Buteyko breathing about 5 years ago and Im not exaggerating when I say that it has genuinely and drastically improved my life. For this reason alone I want to share with the world. I’ve seen a few bashings of this breathing technique but I want you to give it a fair hearing. It may transform your life too. Mouth Breathers, snorers, those with asthma and other respiratory problems and sleep apnoea sufferers in particular should read on.
Its about a 5 minute read, here’s a brief outline.
- What Is Buteyko Breathing?
- How Can It Help Me/Why You should try it.
- The Benefits of Nose Breathing.
- The Many Problems of Mouth Breathing.
- How to Do It?
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What is Buteyko Breathing
Buyteko breathing is a way of breathing developed by Russian medical scientist Prof. Konstantin Buteyko. He believed there was a strong link between our breathing patterns and our general health.
He believed breathing well = being well.
Beginning in the 1960’s he conducted research and published results that proved changes in breathing patterns could hugely improve conditions like asthma, hypertension and associated conditions. This non-medicinal approach was and in some cases still is shunned by many. (the drugs companies😌) Click here to read a full history of the beginnings of Buteyko breathing.
How Can It Help Us?
The main lesson to be learned is this:-
‘The nose was made for breathing, the mouth was made for eating.’
The Advantages of Nose Breathing
- The sinus contains nitric oxide which is essential for good heart health and so much more. It makes it easier for our body to transport oxygen where it needs to go and is also antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and antibacterial. It is therefore great for avoiding infection. They put this stuff in heart disease medicine. Click here to read more
- The nose filters out bacteria and warms breath before reaching the lungs.
- Mouth breathing can alter our physical appearance.
- Mouth breathing causes dry mouth, Nose breathing retains the saliva which washes bacteria away thereby guarding against tooth decay, gum disease, throat and ear infection etc
- Dry Mouth and resulting bacteria will also cause bad breath.
- Nose breathing delivers exactly the correct amount of oxygen we need. We take far too much in through the mouth causing us to hyperventilate.
The Many Problems of Mouth Breathing
Firstly, I want to talk about how Buteyko has helped me personally.
I was a mouth breather. I’ve always known this but what I didn’t understand and what Buteyko has taught me, was the number of health issues this has caused me over the years. I’m also now aware that further down the line it could have, if I hadn’t discovered Buteyko, caused me to develop things like sleep apnoea and heart problems.
When I was a child I had or developed many of the chronic conditions Buteyko believes to be caused by over breathing or breathing through the mouth: I DID NOT have asthma but I did have the following:-
- Chronic and very bad colds
- Chronic sinus problems
- Chronic sore ears (as a child, as a teenager they became less common but were replaced with chronic throat infections)
- Chronic throat infections.
- Snoring from a very young age
I haven’t had a cold, sinus, sore ear, throat infection since I started Buteyko, although I have to say that I contribute equal weighting for this to my very healthy diet. I also no longer snore or at least not very often and if I do it’s very lightly.
Buteyko also believes that the constant open jaw position of a mouth breather causes maldevelopment of the jaw resulting in a certain look, a dental overbite and often a crooked nose. Click here to read more about this.
Where I don’t see myself as a severe case of these I can certainly recognise myself in it and it did make me cry the first time I read about it. Everything just clicked in a sort of Ah moment…It still makes me sad that I didn’t learn about this sooner…
We’ll look at how to do Buyteko breathing further down but suffice to say here that Buteyko is ALL ABOUT BREATHING LIGHTLY AND SLOWLY THROUGH THE NOSE.
Buteyko UK state that correcting your breathing to Buteyko breathing can help with the following:
- Snoring/Sleep Apnoea
- Allergic Rhinitis
- Anxiety/stress conditions
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder
- Hypertension (High Blood Presssure)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME
- Chronic HyperVentilation Syndrome (CHVS)
- Panic Attacks
It’s primary use, at least in the beginning, is for the cure of asthma for which it has undeniable positive results. If you have asthma or you have a child with asthma, I would urge you to look into this further.
Buteyko breathing is now accepted as a valid and valuable cure for asthma by the British Medical Community:- Below is from the website of Buteyko Uk:-
Buteyko is now recognised by the BRITISH THORACIC SOCIETY as a valid intervention for Asthma, category B.
This means Consultants, GPs and nurses can refer patients to take the Buteyko course with us. No other complementary therapy has this category relating to Dysfunctional Breathing. The Buteyko Method involves taking no additional medication and can be safely used by people over the age of 3 years and well into their eighties.
I’m aware that there is so much more to say on Buteyko but alas I would have to write a book and I’m no expert on the subject. I’m including many links to experts, websites and resources I’ve personally used to help you out should you want that.
How To Do It
There are several techniques to be learned from Buteyko. The main one is just continually try to go back to breathing very lightly through the nose throughout the day.
I also use 2 other Buteyko techniques:-
Breathe like a little mouse. I learned this exercise for breathing from a Russian expert of Buteyko from a Youtube Video. She is still out there, I will provide a link below.
How To do it – Basically, breathing solely through your nose, imagine you are a little mouse hiding from a cat. You don’t want it to see your breathing or hear your breathing. You take small, slow, silent little breaths through the nose.
Why Do I do this? To calm myself and destress or to get to sleep fast. This turns on your para sympathetic system calming you down fast or sending you to sleep, whichever you are after.
Night Time Mouth Taping. I’ve seen ridiculous articles about this online where they have pictures of someone with their whole mouths taped horizontally and the article suggesting that they may suffocate themselves or their children.
This is absolute nonsense. The tape is there to gently encourage your mouth to stay shut. It is still possible for you to mouth breathe, it’s just less likely to happen especially if not sleeping on your back.
How to do it:- Get yourself some micropore tape (its medical tape) , you can buy it from chemists or online for around £1. Take a small piece and gently place it over the middle of your mouth vertically.(as demonstrated by me above in the lead photo of this post) That’s it until morning. Be prepared to wake up fully refreshed, with a nice moist mouth.
Why do I do this? To stop me from mouth breathing and snoring. Both of which will negatively affect my sleep and help me avoid numerous health problems, some of which have already been described. Apart from that I just wake up feeling awesome…
Links and Further Reading
I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions in the comments section below.
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