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Buteyko Breathing Techniques is a complementary therapy taught to help adults and children with breathing problems like asthma.
This is achieved by retraining breathing, improving breathing control with specific exercises and giving advice on the management of breathing problems.
Most people, unless their condition is very severe, should make progress in 2-3 weeks.


Buteyko was developed by a Russian Doctor, Konstantin Buteyko in the 1950s. He extensively studied the way patients breathed and concluded that a lot of their problems arose from breathing too much.
He developed Buteyko Breathing Techniques to overcome this. He studied Yoga and other disciplines but the whole Buteyko package is unique.
Initially his ideas met with a lot of resistance but now Buteyko is the treatment of choice for asthma in Russian Hospitals.

How is it taught?

The main principles of Buteyko are:
• Breathing less and more efficiently
• Nose breathing

This is usually taught 1:1 for a minimum course of 4 weeks. Breathing exercises are taught in weekly sessions with the emphasis on relaxation. Also advice is given on the management of the condition and optional mouth taping may be used.
The exercises need to be practiced in between sessions, 3 times a day for 15-20 minutes each to retrain the breathing and achieve results.

What happens during a Buteyko session?

A full medical history is taken on the first visit to make sure the patient is suitable. The breathing exercises are taught and in following sessions previous exercises are recapped to check they are being done properly, any problems discussed, new exercises learnt and advice given on management of symptoms like diet, exercise and allergies.

Conditions treated

There have been successful clinical trials of Buteyko Breathing Techniques on asthma sufferers leading to Buteyko being recommended by the BTS/SIGN guidelines for the control of asthma symptons. BTS/SIGN write The British Guidelines for the management of Asthma. www.sign.ac.uk/guidelines, as used by the NHS. Buteyko is the first and only complementary therapy to have gained this distinction.

As it is a complementary therapy Buteyko Teachers do NOT alter patients’ medications, this is under the control of their GP or Consultant. However, the BTS/SIGN guidelines state that asthma sufferers should be taking the minimum dose of medication to control their symptoms and this is where Buteyko can help.

Other conditions helped:
• Hey fever and rhinitis 
• Hyperventilation
• Panic attacks
• Persistent Cough
• Bronchitis
• Emphysema 
• Snoring
• Sinusitis

If there are any restrictions in the mobility of the rib cage Osteopathy can help to release them and improve the respiratory mechanics to help with the exercises.


Who is suitable for Buteyko?

Buteyko is suitable for all ages, as the exercises are modified for children. 
However, a pre-existing medical condition may be a contraindication to Buteyko Breathing Techniques, so it is best to enquire first.
A commitment is required to practice the breathing exercises and therefore, Buteyko is only suitable for people who are motivated to try and empower themselves to control their breathing better and improve their quality of life.

Patrick has qualified as a Buteyko Teacher, having gained a diploma from the Buteyko Breathing Association (BBA) which maintains a register of members: www.buteykobreathing.org