Podcast #62 - Buteyko breathing technique and asthma - Ariana Rabinovitch Yoga and Movement Education Google+



Podcast #62 – Buteyko breathing technique and asthma

Research shows 6-30% of asthma sufferers use breathing methods to alleviate their asthma symptoms in the UK. How can Buteyko breathing help with asthma? Catherine and I discuss a paper from the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal about Buteyko breathing and asthma.

Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) is a method that is used in some practices to help with hyperventilation, and asthma. BBT trains people to slow their breath rate, eliminate mouth breathing (using a small strip of tape on the mouth), and use controlled breath pauses to increase CO2 levels. Russian physiologist, Konstantin Buteyko, created it in the 1950’s after experimenting with a slower breathing rate on himself and his patients. He postulated that hyperventilation and mouth breathing create hypocapnia (low CO2), which causes hundreds of ailments, including bronchospasm. 

Catherine Cowey is a personal trainer and lecturer in San Francisco. 


  • Some yoga therapists and movement professionals use BBT with their students to improve breathing.
  • There are many variations of BBT depending on the practitioner and location.
  • The studies showed subjects were able to reduce medication, they felt better and their symptomology went down. 
  • The studies did not confirm Dr. Buteyko’s hypothesis about hypocapnia.
  • Cold, dry air bothers asthmatics. Therefore nasal breathing could be great for them because it warms, filters and humidifies the air.
  • A person with anxiety may not be a good candidate for this method.


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