I did not discover the Buteyko Breathing Method because I had asthma. I came upon it by chance on YouTube. Watching a Buteyko lecturer take only minimal, gentle, seemingly invisible breaths through his nose as he spoke was astonishing and seemed an impossible feat. It reminded me of a scientific documentary that I had watched in my youth about the high internal oxygen levels of Himalayan yogis. I had learned that they reduced their breathing to increase their life span.
Studying Dr. Konstantin Buteyko‘s discoveries and reading the many testimonials on www.breathingcenter.com convinced me that practicing the Buteyko Breathing Method of properly reducing breathing would be beneficial for my health. (I was impressed by the scientific evidence that raising the CO2 in my lungs to its proper level would enable the release of the O2 in my blood into my cells. CO2 is the regulator of the respiratory process. Through proper breathing this important level of CO2 in the lungs is maintained. Also, the scientific understanding that hyperventilation causes the blood to be very alkaline sparked my interest.)
Becoming a practitioner of Buteyko Breathing techniques has been totally transformational. Before learning the method, I suffered from a horrible rash on my foot for over 30 years. To cure this, I went to dermatologist, allergists, ate all the right foods, didn’t drink or smoke, exercised, went to one of the best naturopath doctors in the United States, did Cranio Sacral Therapy, etc. However, no matter what I did, I could not correct the condition on my foot. The tissue on my foot seemed lifeless. I realized that I had to find a way to improve the circulation to and in my foot.
Forgetting the knowledge of my youth, I did what most people do today, I practiced deep yoga breathing to increase the amount of O2 brought into my body. Bad results! Not only was there no change in the condition of my foot, but I also started to develop food allergies and sinus allergies. I started having panic attacks (This made no sense to me since my life was good and I was very absorbed in self-realization and religious practices). I had pain in my breast. Also, after 10 years of trying, I still did not have the correct pH (acid/ alkaline level) of urine or saliva. I was trying harder than any one I knew to do everything right, and yet I was falling apart fast.
Then I discovered the Buteyko Breathing Method. The Buteyko Breathing Center seemed to present the most complete, organized and authorized way for learning the Buteyko Method. I decided to study the method with Thomas Fredricksen. Being in his association and learning the method was infectiously and epidemically healing to all parts of me. Immediately my panic attacks stopped, my sinus allergies disappear and the pH of my urine and saliva corrected. Within 3 months the nasty rash on my foot disappeared. (I can finally walk around barefoot again!) I have no pain in my breast and I have less and less sensitivity to my food allergies.
Other profound benefits occurred. I always had learning disabilities. I could not focus or concentrate for any long period. I also was unable to speak with a logical, clear, organized progression of thought. Now that I breathe properly as I speak, my speaking abilities are improving dramatically. I do not forget what I am going to say, I do not get tense, and I seem to know logically what to say next. It is simple, when one no longer hyperventilates; more oxygen is delivered to the brain. To sit and study had been very hard for me because as I sat I began to feel lousy and uneasy. I now know that this was because my over breathing caused a shortage of O2 in my cells. I had to be physically active all day to raise my CO2 levels in my lungs so that my body could get oxygenated. Now, I can sit and concentrate comfortably all day.
The Buteyko Breathing Method encourages us to just breathe through our nose. Last winter I shockingly realized that I had been a mouth breather my whole life when I breathed in cold air through my nose for the first time that I could ever remember. It took me awhile to adjust to that. Even while eating I used to breathe through my mouth! I remember one evening trying to change that by breathing gently through my nose as I ate. By the end of my meal I experienced a sense of peace that I never knew existed. Buteyko Breathing reduces stress levels by calming the nervous system. My new sense of relaxation makes it easier for me to think and communicate. And it continues to grow! And Buteyko Breathing improves metabolism. My food cravings are less. I remember the surprise of feeling too calm and too satisfied to have to buy that small piece of chocolate in the checkout line at the grocery store. Because now I am less stressed, I eat less.
As a child I had been a competitive swimmer. This further exacerbated my tendencies for over breathing and mouth breathing. I’m glad I developed a huge lung capacity but when I was not active, I breathed in way too much air causing a decrease in O2 in my tissue. Proper healthy cell function does not occur without oxygen. It still amazes me how much I have reduced my breathing gently and gradually and how much better I am feeling by carefully following this method properly. I sang in choirs but I could not stand up while singing because I would begin to feel faint and lightheaded. Hyperventilation or over breathing causes lightheadedness. (I thought it was because I was tall.) Now, if I follow Dr. Buteyko’s principles while singing, I do not have that problem.
I will always be ‘in the method’ because nothing has ever benefitted me so much on so many different levels. We can only live for minutes without breathing. For me proper breathing is a life source. As Dr. Buteyko said, It is like atomic energy. It must be done properly!
Therefore, I am glad I chose to have one-on-one supervision from a Buteyko specialist during my learning process. My improvements have been quick, steady, and thorough and they continue to manifest. As Thomas Frederickson says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.
I look forward to teaching others the Buteyko Breathing method. I hope to see you ‘in the method’!