What is Buteyko Breathing Technique?
The Buteyko (pronounced bew-TAY-ko) Breathing Technique was developed by Russian-born researcher Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko.It consists of shallow-breathing exercises designed to help people with asthma breathe easier.The Buteyko Breathing Technique is based on the premise that raising blood levels of carbon dioxide through shallow breathing can treat asthma. Carbon dioxide is believed to dilate the smooth muscles of the airways.
A study involving 60 people with asthma compared the effects of the Buteyko Breathing Technique, a device that mimics pranayama (a yoga breathing technique), and a placebo. Researchers found people using the Buteyko Breathing Technique had a reduction in asthma symptoms. Symptoms didn’t change in the pranayama and the placebo groups.The use of inhalers was reduced in the Buteyko group by two puffs a day at six months, but there was no change in the other two groups.There have been several other promising clinical trials evaluating this technique.
Treatments for Asthma:
Omega Fatty Acids
The primary inflammation-causing fat in our diets is called arachidonic acid. A German study examined data from 524 children and found that asthma was more prevalent in children with high levels of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is found in food, particularly egg yolks, shellfish, and meat. Eating less of these foods may decrease inflammation and asthma symptoms.
Arachidonic acid can also be produced in our bodies. Another strategy to reduce levels of arachidonic acid is to increase intake of beneficial fats such as EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) from fish oil, and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from borage or evening primrose oil.
Fruits and Vegetables
• A study examining food diaries of 68,535 women found that women who had a greater intake of tomatoes, carrots, and leafy vegetables had a lower prevalence of asthma.
• High consumption of apples may protect against asthma.
• Daily intake of fruits and vegetables in childhood decreased the risk of asthma.
• A University of Cambridge study found that asthma symptoms in adults are associated with a low dietary intake of fruit, vitamin C, and manganese.
Butterbur is a perennial shrub that grows in Europe, Asia and North America. The active constituents are petasin and isopetasin, which are believed to reduce smooth muscle spasm and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Researchers at the University of Dundee, Scotland, evaluated the effects of the herb butterbur in people with allergic asthma who were also using inhalers. They found that butterbur added to the anti-inflammatory effect of the inhalers.
Another study examined the use of butterbur root extract in 80 people with asthma for four months. The number, duration, and severity of asthma attacks decreased and symptoms improved after using butterbur. More than 40 percent of people using asthma medication at the start of the study reduced their intake of medication by the end of the study.
The butterbur plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause liver damage. Only extracts in which the pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been removed should be used.
Bromelain is an extract from pineapples that is believed to be a natural anti-inflammatory. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that bromelain reduced airway inflammation in animals with allergic airway disease. Side effects may include allergic reactions in some people.
The herb boswellia, known in Indian Ayurvedic medicine as Salai guggal, has been found to inhibit the formation of compounds called leukotrienes. Leukotrienes released in the lungs cause narrowing of airways.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of forty patients, 40 people with asthma were treated with a boswellia extract three times a day for six weeks. At the end of this time, 70 percent of people had improved.
Benefits of Buteyko Breathing Technique:
• Improvement in symptoms like difficulty in breathing, and reduction in number of asthma attacks.
• Weight Loss
Facts to Consider:
• Numerous studies have found that obesity is a risk factor for asthma.
• Biofeedback has long been recommended as a natural therapy for asthma.