What is Buteyko Breathing?
There are few things in life that are simultaneously important and almost never thought about. Breathing is an act that keeps all of us alive, but an act that we rarely consider. As it turns out, honing in on how we breathe can drastically improve our lives. In the late 1950’s, Ukrainian-born doctor Konstantin Buteyko was working with terminally-ill patients. In his practice, he noticed that acute hyperventilation was worsening the outcomes of the patients in his care.
Dr. Buteyko was fighting his own battles, too. Diagnosed with malignant hypertension, he was given 12 months to live before he succumbed to his condition. Through a stroke of genius, Buteyko realized that by correcting his breathing, he might begin to heal himself. He started controlling his breathing patterns and manner, and eventually was able to recover completely.
The ability to exhale completely is the key of functional breathing; Without it, it is almost impossible to inhale properly. Hyperventilation causes poor oxygenation of tissues and generates myofascial trigger points. In simple terms, unconscious, erratic breathing leads to worsening outcomes in many parts of your body.
As the name suggests, Buteyko breathing re-education is a health education course with home exercises, daily practice and daily records of progress. My job as a re-educator of your breathing is to teach you to be mindful about your breathing, to customize exercises, check on progress and provide you with support while you build the habit of intentional breathing.
Practicing the Buteyko method of breathing will normalize your breathing patterns, ease the stress and teach you to control anxiety. Buteyko breathing can also help with sleep (disordered breathing patterns wake us up), allergies, asthma and athletic performance. It is a safe, simple and natural approach to overbreathing.
Dysfunctional breathing is very common in the general public. Traits of dysfunctional breathing:
- Oral breathing
- Fast breathing
- Upper chest movement while breathing
- Frequent sighing, yawning, sneezing, sniffling and coughing
- Noticeable inhale prior to talking
- Generally visible and audible breathing
- Paradoxical breathing (breathing movements are in reverse of normal movements).
Reasons for dysfunctional breathing:
- Hormonal changes
- Diet consisting of processed foods
- Lack of physical activities
- Excessive talking
- Anxiety, stress, trauma
- Genetic predisposition/familial traits