What is the Buteyko Method?

The Buteyko Method is a breathing technique developed in the 1950s by the Russian physician Konstantin Buteyko, known for his extensive work on breathing to cure many respiratory ailments. It is based on the assumption that many psychological and respiratory disorders are caused by hyperventilation or breathing more frequently and deeply than necessary. The Buteyko Method is based on three basic principles: nasal breathing, breath reduction and relaxation.

The Buteyko Method incorporates shallow breathing and breath retention exercises to create air hunger, which gradually reduces the need to take deep and frequent breaths. This technique is basically comprised of inhaling through the nose, holding, exhaling, and repeating these steps. It is currently used in complementary medicine practices to heal or alleviate many conditions such as sleep apnea, nasal congestion, asthma, snoring, allergic rhinitis, depression and stress.

The Buteyko Method begins with a test called Control Pause (CP), which aims to measure the patient's breath capacity. The patient is asked to hold his breath, and the duration of a comfortable breath-hold is timed. This is not the maximum period that you can hold your breath. If you feel the need to take a very deep breath after the breath-hold, that means you have held your breath for too long. A CP level of 10 seconds is considered poor, and the goal is to reach a comfortable breath-hold of 40 seconds. It’s observed that many symptoms disappear at this level.