Can I benefit from Buteyko?
Currently the research evidence shows that BBT can help to improve the symptoms of asthma in adults. Although people with other breathing problems such as COPD have used Buteyko there have been no research trials to look into the benefits of BBT in conditions other than asthma. It is hoped more research will be carried out in the future.
Will Buteyko cure my Asthma?
No, BBT is not a cure for asthma. Research studies have shown people using BBT often reduce their asthma medication over time however any changes to asthma medication must be done with the agreement of the prescriber, ie. your asthma nurse, respiratory consultant or GP.
Is there any evidence that Buteyko actually works?
Yes there have been many randomised controlled studies looking at BBT for asthma. The accumulation of research evidence has led to BBT being included as a useful dysfunctional breathing reduction technique in the BTS/SIGN Guideline on the Management of Asthma.
Do I have to exercise?
No, you won’t be asked to do the type of exercise where you need to run or go to the gym. The BBT exercises are not physically demanding. In fact the majority of the programme is carried out sitting comfortably in a chair. However, your teacher will suggest ways that you can increase your fitness such as regular walking and will talk to you about you how you can incorporate correct breathing into any activity.
What will I need to do?
You will learn breathing exercises and simple techniques to help you to improve the way you breathe. On average BBT exercises need to be carried out 3 times a day for four to six weeks. The exercises involve normalising breathing rate and volume, they are practised until an improved way of breathing eventually become automatic (rather like learning to ride a bike). You will learn and practise BBT with your teacher, and then you will need to continue at home on your own.
By following the BBT programme most people notice a significant improvement in their condition within a couple of weeks. BBT is easy to learn but there are often individual needs which arise when practising the techniques, so it is best learned with an experienced teacher.
What else is the BBT programme?
Most people with breathing problems recognise that stress and emotion can play a part in worsening their symptoms and so learning to relax forms an important part of learning BBT. Teachers may also give advice on healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and promote exercise.
What will my doctor think?
BBT is a breathing therapy which can be used alongside conventional drug management of of asthma . The BTS/SIGN Guideline on the Management of Asthma mentions BBT as a dysfunctional breathing reduction technique. Doctors and asthma nurses should be familiar with this guideline and it should guide their practice. There are many clinical trials supporting BBT for the treatment of adults with asthma.
Is It Safe?
BBT is included in the British Guideline on the Management of Asthma. All the evidence indicates that BBT is safe and no problems have been reported in any of the clinical trials.