Hi i’m going to ask you a few questions.
How does asthma affect your life?
Do you watch from the sidelines as your friends play sport?
Do you always have your asthma inhaler in your pocket? And a spare in your bag? Your car? Your desk at work?
Is the first thing you do in the morning to reach for your inhaler?
Do you spend a fortune on drugs and worry about the long term side effects?
Do you refrain from going to certain friends or family because of your allergy to there pets?
Do you look at a flight of steps and think s*** i bet this makes my chest tight?
Do you look on helplessly as your child struggles to breath?
If you answered yes to any or all off the above then maybe Buteyko is for you.
Buteyko Breathing Method
So what is Buteyko? Well its a series of breathing excercises devised by the Russian respiratory physiologist Konstatine Buteyko. The quote that follows is from the excellant book asthma-free naturally by Patrick McKeown
“There are three ways of controlling asthma. The first and most important is learning to breath through the lungs natural defence – the nose – combined with correct breathing. The second is living a life balanced by proper nutrition, regular excercise and relaxation. The third avenue is using preventative and relieving asthma medication.”
The theory behind the breathing method is that most people with respiratory illness overbreath and inhale to much air this lowers the percentage of carbon dioxide in the body.
Why is carbon dioxide important?
If the carbon dioxide is not at the required level then oxygen is just carried round the bloodstream and is not released to tissues and organs in the body. These low levels stimulate an increase in breathing and further loss of carbon dioxide, a classic vicious circle.
Secondly carbon dioxide dilates the smooth muscle around airways, arteries and capillaries, reduced levels cause these muscles to constrict. If these arteries narrow this can cause higher heart rate, higher blood pressure and a higher breathing rate.
It also helps to maintain the bodys PH balance which is important in maintaining a healthy immune system.
More adequate production of cortisol, the bodys natural steriod which is necessary to control inflamation.
Helps reduce the production of mucas resulting in less restricted airways.
The buteyko method is an excercise routine for your breathing, it is designed to lower the volume of air inhalled, to retrain your body to accept a higher level of carbon dioxide. The sequence consists of a check of your pulse before and after the excercise routine, a check of what is called the control pause (more on this in a moment) and the actual breathing excercise’s.
A control pause is a measure of carbon dioxide in the alveoli based on a comfortable breath hold. but its not measure after taking a big breath of air, its taken after the air is expelled from the lungs during a normal breath. The lower the the time before you have to take breath the lower the bodys level of carbon dioxide. The desired percentage of co2 is 5.5 which means a control pause of approximetly 40 seconds, a control pause of 10 seconds reflects a co2 level of 4.0 percent. The control pause is used to measure your progress as you implment buteyko.