Buteyko Technique: Origins, Science, Trials, Reviews, ...

Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, MD, PhDThe Buteyko method was clinically applied during best ever known clinical trials on cancer and asthma.

This breath technique was created by Doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, MD, PhD, a leading Soviet physiologist. In the early 1960's, he became the Manager of the Respiratory Laboratory created for classified scientific research for Soviet Cosmos and first outer space missions (including the 1964 flight of Yury Gagarin, the first man in space).

The Buteyko breathing technique (also known as the Buteyko method or Buteyko breathing method) is a system of activities that include:
- reduced breathing exercises (similar to meditation in tidal volume, and to pranayama in relation to CO2 increase)
- lifestyle changes.

The goal of the Buteyko technique is to normalize one's automatic breathing pattern (learning how to breathe in accordance with medical norms 24/7) so as to increase body and brain oxygenation. Trials and clinical experience suggest that the method is effective for many other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, bronchitis, sleep apnea, and so forth.

Buteyko breath technique and chronic diseases

Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)

Condition Minute
Number of
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min - Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 22 Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (+-2) L/min 11 Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (+-3) L/min 132 Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 55 Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (+-4) L/min 15 Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (+-4) L/min 88 Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease  14 (+-2) L/min 30 Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (+-6) L/min 20 Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertension 12 (+-2) L/min 11 D'Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (+-2) L/min 40 Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 L/min 26 Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (+-2) L/min 45 Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (+-2) L/min 8 Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 L/min 28 Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (+-2) L/min 20 Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (+-2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (+-6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (+-4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden, Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (+-2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (+-2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Sleep apnea 15 (+-3) L/min 20 Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 L/min 24 Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (+-1) L/min 42 Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (+-2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 L/min 12 Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (+-2) L/min 134 Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (+-5) L/min 12 Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (+-2) L/min 16 MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (+-4) L/min 12 Clague et al, 1994

Note that advanced stages of asthma can lead to lung destruction, ventilation-perfusion mismatch,
and arterial hypercapnia causing further reduction in body oxygen levels.

Dr. Konstantin Buteyko suggested and confirmed using thousands of his patients that:
- People with chronic health conditions suffer from alveolar hypocapnia (a lack of CO2 in the lungs) due to chronic hyperventilation syndrome
- If these people normalize their unconscious breathing, their symptoms and diseases are going to disappear.

Key features of the Buteyko breath technique:

Medical people smiling - The Buteyko method is approved by the Russian Ministry of Health
- Used by over 180 Soviet and Russian medical doctors personally trained by Dr. Buteyko
- Applied by medical doctors on more than 100,000 asthmatics, over 30,000 people with cardiovascular problems and thousands of patients with other conditions (bronchitis, sleep apnea, diabetes, cancer, HIV, liver cirrhosis, and so forth)
- Tested by clinical trials both in the USSR and in the West, including 6 Western randomized controlled trials of the Buteyko technique on asthma (with over 90% reduction in medication) and Soviet trials on HIV-AIDS, radiation disease, heart disease (cardiovascular disease), liver cirrhosis, hepatitis B, and metastatic cancer (with 6 times reduction in 3-year mortality).

The method was chiefly brought to the Western world by Alexander Stalmatski.

The technique leads to a better quality of life especially for people with active lifestyles such as athletes or recruits.

For more information about history, testimonials of Western physicians, clinical effects in relation to specific health conditions, clinical trials, persecutions by Siberian KGB (Soviet secret service), and other Buteyko-related topics, please use the menu of the left side.

The major modules that describe Buteyko breathing exercises and its crucial lifestyle changes are located in the Learning section: Buteyko exercises.

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