ASTHMA AND THE BUTEYKO BREATHING METHOD

Mary Birch
Australian Nursing Journal, Vol.8, No.8, March 2001, p.35.

Asthma is on the increase in Australia, particularly among children. Over 25% of school children and over 10% of adults in Australia currently suffer from asthma.

The Buteyko breathing method is a complementary therapy, which allows individuals to prevent and control asthma symptoms and to reduce or eliminate medication.

The Buteyko breathing method involves training people to control their breathing, and was developed by a Russian doctor - Professor Konstantin Buteyko - after he observed that hyperventilation caused asthma and other conditions.

Individuals who do the Buteyko breathing method continue to use their medication as prescribed while learning the technique. Within a few days, they find that they need to use significantly less symptomatic reliever medication such as Salbutamol.

Those who are on preventer medication such as inhaled steroids continue to take these, but in time, these can also be reduced or eliminated with their doctor's approval.

The Buteyko method has been taught in Australia since the early 1990s. An independent clinical trial of the method at the Brisbane Mater Hospital in 1994 showed an average 96% reduction in reliever medication and an average 49% reduction in preventer medication within a three month period.1

A further trial of the Buteyko method, led by Dr Patrick McHugh, was recently conducted in Gisborne, New Zealand. Results will be available shortly.

For more information, phone (03) 9533 1452.

- Mary Birch, RN, BA, M.Bioe., Grad Dip.Soc., MRCNA

1 Bowler, S.D. et al. Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomized controlled trial, Medical Journal of Australia, December, 1998, 169, pp. 575-578.

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