Apart from asthma, there were Soviet medical approbations or
trials on heart disease, cancer, liver cirrhosis and hepatitis B,
radiation disease, and HIV-AIDS. The Soviet health care system, for
political and social reasons, had always been more centralized than
Western ones. Innovations in medicine were usually introduced by the
Soviet authorities and health care bureaucracy. New ideas and drugs
were often tested in hospitals and research Institutes, which provided
higher authorities with reports about the results. In the West, as we
know, results of scientific studies or trials are usually published in
journals. While the Soviet approach was different, the reliability of
their information was comparable. Directors, managers and project
leaders of corresponding organizations and departments put their
signatures to official reports about such Soviet trials and their
approbations. These people were personally responsible for the
trustworthiness of the results and their names and copies of the
relevant documents, related to the Buteyko trials as well, are still
archived in Russia and Ukraine.
1968, Institute of Pulmonology, Leningrad, USSR (bronchial
asthma, hypertension and angina pectoris)
50 patients with severe bronchial asthma, hypertension and
angina pectoris, all of them with many years of heavy medication, most
with steroid deficiencies and organic complications; success rate 95%
Khoroscho A, Interview with Buteyko [in
Russian] 1982, in Buteyko method. Its application in medical
practice, ed. by K.P. Buteyko, 2nd ed., 1991, Titul, Odessa,
52 children (34 in-patients and 18 out-patients; 3-15 years
old) with regular asthma attacks (once per day or more); 41 of them had
pneumonia, 27 rhinitis, 36 chronic tonsillitis. All had problems with
breathing through the nose, palpitations, and were bronchodilator
users. In 1-5 days the patients were able to stop the attacks, cough,
blocked nose, and wheezing, using the method. Observations in 1-3
months showed considerable improvements (cessation of heavy attacks or
a total disappearance of the symptoms) in 83%, some improvement (less
heavy attacks and considerable reduction in medication) in remaining
17%. Their average CP increased from 4 to 30 s, aCO2 from 25 to 36 mm
Hg. Higher blood concentrations of IgA, IgM, IgG, and IgE were found,
according to laboratory reports. Blood pressure normalised, forced
expiratory volume raised over 5 times. Significant increases in lung
volume, expiratory speed, and other parameters were found. Average
breath holding time (CP) increased from about 3-6 s to over 30 s. For
more information on this trial, visit http://www.buteyko.com/research/trials/index_trials.html.
Reports from two conferences in Moscow and Krasnojarsk in
1988 (large variety of health problems)
In addition to these trials, there were about 30 published
reports (Buteyko method, 1992) of about 40 Russian medical doctors and
health professionals, who met during two conferences in Moscow and
Krasnojarsk in 1988 in order to share their practical experience of
application of the Buteyko method in over 20 medical hospitals and
clinics in Russia. The total reported number of treated people,
according to the published conference proceedings (Buteyko, 1991), was
over 3,000. Although most of them had respiratory (asthma, bronchitis,
rhinitis, etc.) and cardiovascular (hypertension, angina pectoris,
ischemia, etc.) problems, hundreds were treated or relieved from
arthritis, osteoporosis, epilepsy, ulcers, gastritis, kidney stone
problems, hepatitis, different infertility conditions, skin diseases
(e.g., dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema), etc. Typical reported results
were either some or essential improvement for over 90% patients, while
remaining patients were not able to normalise their breathing
parameters due to absence of desire or motivation and quitting the
method during its initial stages. Thus, those patients who achieved
large CPs significantly improved their health state. Normalization of
breathing always leads to dissapperance of symptoms and no need for
Buteyko method. Its application in medical practice,
ed. by K.P. Buteyko, 1991, 2nd edition, Titul, Odessa.
50 patients with radiation sickness due to Chernobyl's nuclear
plant disaster. 82% patients had considerable improvement in blood
analysis, cardiovascular parameters (blood pressure, pulse, etc.), work
of the digestive system, and reduction in medication. No cases of side
effects or complications due to the breathing exercises were reported
(Bebeshko et al, 1990; p.221, Zimchenko & Romanenko, 1991).
Zimchenko VN & Romanenko NF, Conclusions on practical
trial of Buteyko method, conducted in Department of Radiation Pathology
of Central Republican Hospital of Shevchenko region (Ukraine) during
06.03.1990-07.04.1990 [in Russian], in Buteyko method. Its application
in medical practice, ed. by K.P. Buteyko, 2nd ed., 1991, Titul,
This trial involved 7 young patients with AIDS, two of them
had HIV-infection in the lympho-adenopathic stage (Frolov et al,
1991a). Progression of this disease is usually accompanied by a variety
of symptoms and complaints in the digestive, immune, cardiovascular,
respiratory, hormonal and other systems. The official documents of the
Institute provided information about improvements in clinical symptoms
and the patients quality of life such as emotional stability,
irritability, panic attacks, chronic fatigue, insomnia, digestive
complaints and some other factors. All symptoms were relieved with no
side effects due to breathing retraining. More about this
30 patients, mostly 20-40 years old, diagnosed with acute (6
patients) and chronic (18 patients) hepatitis and cirrhosis of the
liver (6 patients) applied the Buteyko method, while continuing to use
traditional medication (Frolov et al, 1991b). 28 patients had
remissions of their symptoms while 25 showed improvements in their
blood test results. The official documents report 93% success rate.
Frolov AF, Buteyko KP, Vovk AD, Novoseltsev VA, Degtyareva
RM, Report about approbation of the VEDB (voluntary elimination of deep
breathing) method or the Buteyko method in the Clinic of the KSRIEID
(Kiev Scientific and Research Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious
Diseases) on patients with acute and chronic hepatitis, and liver
cirrhosis during 10 January-30 April 1991, Kiev, 1991b.
20 patients with a long history of asthma and significant
medication. In 3 months, they decreased use of relievers
(bronchodilators) by 96%, preventers (inhaled steroids) by 49%. Minute
volume decreased from 14 l/min to 9.6 l/min. The symptoms' score was
improved by 71% (Bowler et al, 1998).
A study by Shellie Gaskin, as a partial fulfillment for a
Diploma of Naturopathy, was conducted on 15 people diagnosed with CFS.
There were following improvements: fatigue 87%, night sweats 75%,
depression 70%, allergies 66%, anxiety 66%, muscular aches 60%,
difficulty sleeping 54%, and headaches 50%. After 10-12 weeks all those
who continued their breathing exercise regimes reported a 100%
reduction in fatigue.
18 patients with mild to moderate asthma were taught the
Buteyko method by a video and compared with 18 control subjects (Opat
et al, 2000). The study found a significant improvement in quality of
life and significant reduction in inhaled steroid use.
In this blinded randomized controlled trial conducted in 38
people with asthma Buteyko Breathing Technique group was compared with
control (McHugh et al, 2003). The Buteyko group was taught by a Buteyko
practirtioner Russell Stark. As in the previous western trials, the
Buteyko group reduced inhaled steroid use by 50% and ο¬2-agonist use by
85% at six months from baseline. In the conclusions, the medical
professionals wrote that the method is "efficacious asthma
management technique". The instructions for the Buteyko
group were provided by Russell Stark.
90 patients with asthma taking an inhaled corticosteroid
participated in a randomized controlled trial. The groups were followed
in 3 and 6 month periods (Cooper et al, 2003). Asthma symptoms remained
unchanged in the PCLE and placebo groups, but were diminished in
the Buteyko group. It was concluded that the Buteyko breathing technique is able to reduce asthma symptoms and decrease the use of bronchodilator medication.
According to the recent press release (4 December, 2003) of
the British Thoracic Society (the UKs professional
body of respiratory specialists), nurse, Jill McGowan, organized the worlds largest clinical trial
on the Buteyko method for asthma with over 360 people who completed the study in Glasgow.
The control group was able:
- to reduce asthma symptoms by 98%;
- to reduce use of reliever inhalers by 98%;
- to reduce use of preventor inhalers by 92%.
These results were found after 6 months (McGowan, 2003). This
self-funded trial was possible due to heroic and sacrificial, in
financial terms, efforts of the Buteyko practitioner Jill McGowan.
McGowan J, Health
Education: Does the Buteyko Institute Method
make a difference? Thorax, 58, Suppl. III, p. 28 December 2003.
64 patients, all of whom were using inhaled corticosteroids, after 6
months improved their asthma control from 41% to 75% (Proceedings,
2006). Decrease in inhaled corticosteroids was found in 39% patients,
elimination of steroids in 21%.
Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society, 2006; 3: A530.
8 children, from 8 to 14 years old, in 12 weeks reduced their average
b2-agonist use (salbutamol) by 66%. Inhaled steroid (fluticasone) use
reduced by 41% McHugh et al, 2006). While 11 courses of prednisone were
given 3 months before the trial, only 1 course of prednisone was given
three months after the trial.