About the Buteyko method (goals, levels, facts
and popularity of the method in different countries)
The goal of the Buteyko method is to bring about breathing in accordance with internationally accepted medical and physiological norms and standards. Practically, the method is intended to eliminate chronic alveolar hyperventilation (or breathing too much) and to restore normal balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the lungs, blood and all cells.
In my view, there are 3 levels of learning the Buteyko breathing method:
* Level 1 "Survival". The student is able to eliminate the main symptoms of own health problems (e.g., asthma, heart disease, epilepsy, sinusitis, eczema, insomnia, constipation, etc.) using the Emergency Procedure so that the Emergency Procedure can substitute the use of medication or significantly reduce the dosage (e.g., twice). Such students have low CP s (usually about 5-15 s), while elimination or reduction in medication is their main practical result. Only about 10% learners or less are satisfied with this level. It takes about 1-2 days to learn.
* Level 2 "Existence". The student partly normalized own breathing until about 25-35 s CP, so that he has no need for medication and does not experience the symptoms of his main health problem, e.g., asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, epilepsy, sinusitis, eczema, etc. However, such learner can still suffer from airways inflammation, allergies, GI problems, hormonal problems, and musculo-skeletal problems. Various medical drugs can be required to control symptoms of these “high-CP” diseases, This is the level achieved by most people on the west. It takes about 1- 3 months to learn.
* Level 3 "Normal health". The student has no less than 60 s at any moment of the day. Such CPs provide the guarantee about absence of pathologies and symptoms related to many degenerative health conditions (over 150 so called “diseases of civilization”). Achievement of this level requires will power, self-discipline, determination and excellent knowledge of the Buteyko method. There are many students world-wide (and thousands in Russia) who got there and none has regrets about the time and energy spent. The final goal of the method for Level 3 is normalization of breathing. Among parameters of normal breathing, according to Doctor Buteyko, are: 60 s CP (breath holding time at rest, after quiet expiration, with no stress at the end of test); 4 l/min ventilation rate (for a 70-kg man); and 6.5% CO2 (about 46 mm Hg CO2 at sea level) in alveoli and arterial blood. As we can see here, his parameters are more rigorous than typical medical and physiological norms: 40 s CP; 6 l/min; 40 mm Hg at sea level (or about 5.3%). Most people can achieve this level, while following the ideal specially tailored program, within 2-5 months, but for severely sick people it often takes 0.5-2 years to get there.
The Buteyko method is officially approved by the Russian Health Ministry. Hundreds of medical professionals practice it there. More than 200,000 asthmatics and over 50,000 people with various respiratory, cardiovascular (mainly angina pectoris and hypertension), endocrine, mental and other common problems have been successfully treated in Russia during the last 40 years.
There are only a few experienced teachers in Canada and the USA (and tens of new ones), but hundreds in the UK or Australia. Why? Because it was introduced in Australia about 15 years ago, in the UK about 10 years ago, and about 5 years ago in the USA and Canada. The method, after several successful clinical trials, is currently integrated into health care systems of the UK, New Zealand and Cuba.
The Buteyko method usually includes 2 parts: breathing exercises to be practiced by the patient (about 1 hour per day at least) and common sense activities that reverse chronic hyperventilation (e.g., breathing only through the nose, prevention of over-eating, prevention of sleeping on the back, etc. )
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