The Buteyko Breathing Technique — developed by Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko — is a Breathwork modality used as a treatment for stress, anxiety, sleep apnea, and a broad range of respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and chronic hyperventilation.
Additionally, it’s thought that the Buteyko Method can also help in treating other chronic health issues, such as allergies, eczema, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, dizziness, restless legs, abdominal bloating and excessive gas, belching, nasal and sinus problems, depression, and panic attacks.
One of the core premises of Buteyko is that chronic hyperventilation and the subsequent low Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood stream are the primary cause of many respiratory diseases, and a lack of overall health and well-being.
As such, the Buteyko Technique is primarily aimed at retraining or reeducating a person’s breathing pattern in order to correct chronic hyperventilation, thereby alleviating or curing the health conditions mentioned in the previous paragraphs.
The main goal then of the Buteyko approach is to normalize breathing patterns by using three principle techniques: Nasal Breathing, Reduced Breathing, and Relaxation.
If you want to learn more about the advantages and effects of Nasal Breathing you may read our previous post Breathing Through the Nose versus Mouth.
Reduced Breathing focusses on breath control to consciously reduce breathing speed (i.e. breathing rate) and/or breathing volume to prevent low CO2 levels in the blood. One of the techniques used is to implement a pause during one’s breathing pattern, that is, to deliberately take a pause after exhaling before again starting to inhale.
Finally, the Buteyko Method also emphasizes a range of Relaxation Exercises, such as exercises to relax the diaphragm, in order to control hyperventilation and to master slow breathing.