Biography of Dr. Konstantin Buteyko (Buteyko Clinic in Voronezsh)
(from the website of the Buteyko Clinic in Voronezsh - www.buteyko.ru)
Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko was born in 1923 in sun-lit, fertile Ukraine. His father
was a carpenter, mum a tailor. His big brother Volodya took care of younger
Kostya. By the then standards, their life was fine, nobody starved and they
always had bread to eat. In 1929 (without Volodya, who suddenly died of acute
pneumonia) they moved to Popovka near Konotop, where Kostya was supposed to go
to school. Since his early years, Kostya had a passion for mechanics. After
finishing high school (in Konotop) he was dreaming of building an amazing
machine that would dig, swim and fly to other planets. To do that, in 1939 he
went to the Department of Road Transport in Kiev Polytechnic.
In just two years World War II began. Bombs dropped on his dear Kiev. Kostya
and his classmates rushed to the military commissariat, from where his friends
were appointed to the tank school, and he became just a mechanic in a Ministry
of Health motorcade (too young!). Drugs to the frontline, the wounded back v
that-s what his life was until the end of War, which found him in Berlin. That-s
where he drove several trophy trucks for the Ministry of Health in Moscow from.
And Moscow was where he chose to stay for good- And decided to carry on with
education. Not on the Department of Road Transport, though, but in the 1st
Moscow Medical Institute named after I. M. Sechenov. Having seen so much blood
and death at War, Kostya decided to study Man. At that time he already felt
something was wrong about contemporary medicine. Even as a child he noticed that
what cured diseases were granny-s herbs. Her ointments and tinctures helped
enormously, but should his mum turn to doctors, only drugs and injections, often
totally useless, were prescribed.
During the war years, Konstantin Buteyko became so good at mechanics that he could
identify disorders by the tiniest differences in how the engine ticked. That was
the level of perfection he wanted to achieve as a Human Organism specialist.
Fast and precise diagnostics was the acme of medical mastery for him. In late
summer of 1946, Buteyko enrolled at the Department of Therapy, 1st Moscow
Medical Institute, but his utter disappointment in therapy manuals made him move
to the Department of Sanitary Hygiene.
Konstantin Pavlovich never let things slide in all his life, but he was
particularly vigorous in studying medicine. A straight A student and the class
monitor: these titles speak for themselves. The institute library didn't
suffice, and the central medical library was only open for qualified doctors.
However, they made an exception and he literally plunged into the boundless sea
of books. Miracles happen. By
the end of the course, he was diagnosed high blood pressure disease. He, a
wonderful sportsman who-d spend long hours exercising! He, who was so good at
boxing, could not beat the approaching disaster. Neither the Diploma with Honors
in summer 1952, nor the post-graduate course at the Department headed by his
teacher, Academician Tareyev, could make him happy. What was it all for, if he
only had one or two more years to live? Blood pressure would often exceed 220.
His head swelled from terrible, sometimes unbearable pain. And the heart shrank
in a totally non-sportive manner. Buteyko was at the biggest national
theoretical and practical center, but nothing could have saved him. Even the
sinister cancer was out shadowed by malignant high blood pressure disease. The
early stages of cancer were possible to fight with, sometimes even successfully.
The killing ailment could be muffled or interrupted (often, for long). However,
malignant high blood pressure disease gave him no chance! A year or two, and you
die out, even if you-re the strongest person in the world. Buteyko knew it. He
had the rarest medications at his disposal, including imported ones, he had the
biggest Soviet authority in blood pressure, Academician Tareyev, by his side,
and yet Konstantin Pavlovich (the qualified doctor was now called by full name)
was doomed! Drugs were ineffective, and he was afraid to say all to Tareyev.
They could simply expel him from the course (given his blood pressure values!).
Nonetheless the teacher could judge by hints and primarily by appearances and
looked at him sympathetically, the way you look at the one who goes for good.
Academician had plans for Buteyko (which he often delicately drew at); he
thought he was one of his most talented graduates.
Suddenly a miracle happened in October 1952. Buteyko, who had been heading
to the gates of the graveyard, first slowed down, and then walked, no, simply
rushed away from them. His cheeks were red again, his grey eyes, almost dimmed,
sparkled anew. The miracle happened on October 7, 1952. That day, or more
precisely, night, Buteyko remembered till his last days. In the night of October
7, 1952 Konstantin Pavlovich made a discovery...Erroneous diagnosis leads to
discovery On October 7, 1952 a young Soviet researcher Konstantin Pavlovich
Buteyko made such a discovery. Everything was simple and ordinary. The young
resident was on duty in the 1st Moscow Clinic near Petrovskie Vorota. While
explaining the basics of diagnostics to the other students on duty, he made a
diagnostic mistake. The patient with all bronchial asthma symptoms had the same
ailment as Konstantin Pavlovich himself, malignant high blood pressure disease.
"No way!" thought Buteyko looking in the patient-s back as he was slowly
walking down the hallway. Just no way. Cautious pace. Severe breathlessness.
Steadily open mouth: those were all symptoms of a typical asthma! And yet, that
was malignant high blood pressure disease. How come? Rarely did Konstantin
Pavlovich diagnose erroneously, and what a wide go! "What if?!.." it struck him
unexpectedly. What if deep breath, typical for asthmatics and so well-expressed
in this boy with malignant high blood pressure disease, is not just a vivid
symptom, but the cause of both illnesses?
A short talk with the strong, waist-belted patient gave grounds to his vague
suppositions. Yuri Kozlov, 21, had long been in weightlifting, which means
constant "overbreathing": barbell taken v exhale, barbell up v inhale deeply.
Konstantin Buteyko remembered his own sports story. Immense physical overloads,
"locomotive-type" breathing. When he noticed the signs of the grave disease,
Konstantin Pavlovich had to quit sports, but he still continued to breathe
deeply. He was able to read Kozlov-s record almost to the middle, when he felt
he had a new attack.
As usual, like a lot of hammers, blood began to pulsate in his temples,
signalizing an abrupt blood pressure jump. The killing pain possessed the back
of his head. His heart shrank, and then throbbed, the right kidney ached.
Following the reflex, Konstantin Buteyko put his hand down in the pocket to get the drug,
but- suddenly pulled it back. Why the drug? What is it good for if the cause is
still there? And the cause of malignant high blood pressure disease, as he was
inclined to think from that night on, was deep breathing. So, what was up? Who
wanted tinctures? Why not try to take the bull by the horns? Why beat around the
bush? Buteyko put the record aside and leaned against the rigid chair back. He
held breath. "Breathe as shallow as possible. Little by little. Little by
little..." the young researcher thought. He was short of air. He wanted to open
his mouth wide and swallow it in huge gulps, but Konstantin Pavlovich held
himself in hands.
One minute, another- and that was a miracle! The headache was gone; furious
blood throbs in the temples disappeared. The heart did not ache any more, the
kidney colic faded away as if from a hot compress. Bingo! His idea was being
most vividly confirmed…
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