Breathing sounds like something you cannot possibly get wrong, right? After all, we breathe to live and inhaling and exhaling cant be too complicated! Well, what if youve been breathing incorrectly for all these years? The good news is that you can learn to breathe correctly using the Buteyko breathing method.
Buteyko isnt just for asthmatics. Its also useful for people who suffer from allergy-related breathing problems, obstructive sleep apnoea and other respiratory illnesses. Brigitte Bennett is a Buteyko practitioner.
“The Buteyko breathing method is a drug-free way of managing and improving a number of respiratory illnesses. It does this through precise breathing exercises which recondition the way we breathe and works best if practised over a period of time.”
So what causes poor breathing and why does Buteyko help?
Well, some people lose too much carbon dioxide through habitual over-breathing or hyperventilation. This may have been brought on by an infection, allergy, prolonged exercising or habitual mouth breathing.
“When we lose too much carbon dioxide, certain chemical changes take place in our body, which are perceived as negative changes, and the bodys defence mechanisms are then trying to stop further loss of carbon dioxide by, for instance, narrowing the airways, producing mucus or pausing your breathing every so often as you sleep.
“If you correct a persons poor breathing habits and give additional advice about diet, posture, exercise and the use of certain medicines, then you can normalise the levels of carbon dioxide and stop those symptoms from happening.”
So what is a good breathing technique? Its pretty much as simple as, the less breaths you take per minute, the better. The current consensus is that you shouldnt take more than twelve breaths a minute while at rest.
Need some tips on how to breathe better? Remember to always keep your mouth shut when breathing, never sleep on your back, and try to breathe less where possible.
“Keeping your mouth shut and breathing through your nose means that you have smaller pipes to breathe in and out of. Sleeping on your back causes deeper breathing than sleeping on your side, as does over-eating and over-sleeping.
“Also, if you do exercise any kind of exercise and find that you are mouth breathing, stop and get your breathing under control so that you can resume nose breathing.
“A lot of people, youll find, go for a walk with their girlfriend or boyfriend and theyre going, yabba yabba yabba BREATH yabba yabba yabba, and thats actually not what they should be doing. You should be going for your walk, nose breathing, and youll actually find that the better you get, the further you can go.
“If you are an asthmatic and you start off and youve got a little hill, you might find that you really have to slow down. If youre getting quite breathless you might have to stop, getting your breathing under control and then go on again. Its kind of a gradual way of getting better. Its like building up muscle youre just building up the competency of your lungs to support your lifestyle.”
The best part about Buteyko is that its suitable for just about anyone. Once youve been correctly taught the techniques, you can even continue on with the treatment yourself and you can always go back to your teacher if you need any help or revision.
Buteyko is great for your health even if you dont have any respiratory problems. After all, the ultimate benefit is better oxygenation of your whole body and thats got to be a good thing!