The Buteyko Method: How This Simple Breathing Technique Can Radically Transform Health

Written by on December 22, 2015 in Healing & Natural Remedies, Health with 6 Comments


By Carolanne Wright | Wake Up World

Most of us who care about health generally pay close attention to the food we eat and the water we drink — settling for nothing less than the cleanest and most nutritious choices whenever possible. We exercise, get enough sleep and try our best to keep stress levels down. Even so, we can somehow feel less than vibrant. Whether coping with a serious disease or simply experiencing a sense of chronic fatigue, depression or anxiety, we may wonder what we’re doing wrong. It may surprise you then that many of our health complaints are actually linked with over-breathing — in other words, taking in too much oxygen.

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We readily accept that limiting caloric intake is associated with longevity. After all, over consuming food has been proven time and again to create metabolic damage. Why wouldn’t the same be true for the “nutrient” of oxygen? Especially when we consider that free radicals are created during the normal metabolism of oxygen. These are the same molecules that are exceptionally destructive to cell membranes, proteins and DNA. Contrary to popular thought, taking in an abundance of oxygen is extremely unhealthy. Instead, we should be focusing on creating more efficient utilization of the oxygen already present within the system. This is where the genius of the Buteyko Method comes in.

“… If you were to look at the basic premise of breathing, we should not hear our breathing during rest. We should see very little movement from the chest and tummy. Ideally, most of our breathing is diaphragmatic, but we shouldn’t see it. The mouth should be closed, breathing should be regular, and breathing should be effortless.” ~ Dr. Patrick McKeown

It’s well known among elite athletes that training in a high altitude environment improves overall physical performance. The reason for this is that they take in less oxygen, which forces the blood to increase its capacity and utilization, thereby contributing to the VO2 max — the volume of oxygen the athlete can use.

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The Buteyko Method was created to mimic this same limited oxygen environment — without having to live in high altitude regions. After recognizing the important role carbon dioxide (CO2) plays in releasing oxygen from the blood to the cells and tissues — otherwise known as the Bohr effect — Dr. Konstantin Buteyko invented a breathing method that increased CO2 concentration in the body. He then took the idea further by associating a range of modern medical conditions with a lack of CO2 — from asthma to high blood pressure and ADHD. Several ways we take in too much oxygen — and generate too little CO2 — is through mouth breathing, sighing, upper chest breathing and taking a large breath before talking or laughing.

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Since stress increases our breathing rate, it’s easy to fall into a state of chronic hyperventilation without realizing it. Excessive talking and overeating both lead to dysfunctional breathing patterns as well. Processed foods, high protein and grain meals also have an adverse effect on breathing because they tend to acidify the blood. The body reacts by attempting to harmonize pH levels, which makes you breathe heavier. Raw fruits and vegetables exert the least influence over the breath, followed by cooked vegetables.


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6 Reader Comments

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  1.' Dave Fletcher says:

    I hope so, it’s gotten me this far !

  2.' Rita Jolley says:

    Janellia studied Buteko when she was younger, this technique did work for her. Gerald Speller

  3.' Lisa-Marie James says:

    Jen Tiller

  4.' Jen Tiller says:

    Buteyko transformed my life (went from life-threatening asthma to wheeze and medication free in weeks and maintained it for about 15 years now!) I’ve been teaching it for a long time, and combine it with practical relaxation and mindfulness techniques. If anyone wants a practical video with the basics, please message me.

  5.' Anh Nguyen says:

    very useful for me, I also have breathing problem

  6.' Yogesh Anand says:

    It helps. …

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