The Buteyko Method:
We used this primarily to treat my son’s asthma after reading an article that was in the NY Times health section. We decided to go ahead in November 2009 and give it a try as my son was having such a hard time with his allergies and asthma and although the medication helped he developed an allergy to his albuterol as well as making his heart race.
We called the Buteyko Center USA and via the power of Skype had several video sessions to learn the method of breathing. It basically consists of learning a series of breathing pauses and implementing it each day. The ultimate goal is to not hyperventilate. We kept it up every day for about 3 months all together (a long time considering it was supposed to take about 30 minutes twice a day, and we actually only did maybe 10-15 minutes once a day) and my son’s asthma did actually improve. Around the same time though we also started giving him oral glutathione and B12 shots which I can also attribute to an improvement in his asthma and allergy symptoms.
I am not sure whether it was one thing or a combination of all three but his asthma has definitely improved. This week after a bout of flu he did go back to his nebulizer but only for a week and he hasn’t had to use it for about 7 or 8 months prior to that, even during a particularly bad spring allergy season this year. The doctors attribute his better lung stability on his age, so I am not sure what to think. I do know that from learning this method to help my son, I still use it to help myself sometimes to get through a headache or a stressful situation. I breath and hold for a count of between 10 and 20 depending on what I feel is right, then let it out, pause and repeat. I will do this for up to 20 minutes at a time, it really helps me focus and actually does help relieve my headache. To be effective it needs to be every day but as there is no equipment or items to use you can basically do it in your car.
“The official description is as follows: It is series of lectures related to breathing which enables people to understand a concept of ‘normal breathing’ or breathing according to physiological norms. It contains simple breathing techniques and logical instructions to follow. It also gives the means of controlling breathing parameters without any technical appliances. Buteyko method brings the physiological parameters of the body to the norm. It can be easily incorporated into the daily life of any contemporary person. It does not require you to interrupt your everyday activities to perform any sophisticated procedures similar to yogi’s ‘asana’. You can use the concept of the method at any time in any situation.”
It was quite expensive and time-consuming, but it did seem to relieve some of our dependence on the asthma medications which was our main motivation – so for us, it was a therapy that in the end we were glad we tried. It was a little tedious to keep him on track especially as he couldn’t talk during our session so consequently we didn’t do the program as well as we should, and while his asthma isn’t cured it did seem to do something to help manage it without us having to rely so heavily on the medications. This is something that we ultimately might try to do again if his breathing relapses.