What is buteyko breathing?
Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT) is breathing retraining method that is designed to restore the individual’s normal breathing rate and depth. When the breathing is back to normal, then the individual has better oxygenation of tissues and organs, including the brain. It was developed by medical scientist Konstantin Buteyko in the 1950s which aims to resolve a number of bodily dysfunctions by normalizing breathing.
It is said that excessive breathing can result to a wide range of chronic illnesses which include:
- Anxiety or panic disorders
- Asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Dental and other orthodontic problems
- Eczema and other skin problems
- Digestive disorders
- High blood pressure
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Sleep apnoea
- Excessive tiredness
How to do the buteyko breathing technique
To correctly perform the exercises, you will need a comfortable chair and a quiet room. As much as possible, there should be few distractions, and the temperature in the room should neither be too hot or too cold.
BBT is best performed either at least two hours after eating or before eating. The exercise can be broken down into the following steps:
- Start all BBT exercises by checking and recording the pulse and control pause time. The control pause time is the length of time when the person is holding their breath.
- Sit in a straight-backed chair to allow the feet rest comfortably on the floor. By sitting tall in the chair, it allows the head, shoulders, and hips to be perfectly aligned.
- Close the eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel the air that moves in and out of the nostrils. If your mind starts to wander, return the focus on the nostrils and refocus on that sensation.
- Then, relax the shoulders and any tension that may be holding in your body, such as your face and hands.
- Place an index finger under your nose to check the volume of air that is flowing through the nostrils
- Take shallow breaths first, use your finger to gauge your respiration rate. Start to breathe again the moment you feel the air hitting your finger. This will reduce the volume of air that is flowing into the lungs while increasing the number of breaths taken. Try to maintain this for at least three to five minutes.
- If you are gasping, this is because you have reduced your volume of air too quickly. Slow down a little, and you will find your rhythm eventually to ease into shallower breathing.
- Re-check your pulse and control pause time after three to five minutes.
- Take a few minutes before starting the exercise again. It is ideal to spend at least 20 minutes per day on this, and repeat the breath exercises four times.
Buteyko breathing benefits
The following are some benefits that can be gained from BBT:
- May help alleviate symptoms of asthma
- Correct hyperventilation
- Improve quality of life
- Helps control over-breathing
- Normalizes the level or carbon dioxide in the lungs
- Non-invasive form of physical therapy
- It is not expensive and helps save money
- Improves your feelings
- Contributes to the improvement of overall health